Maybe it’s because of the smooth and consistent results, maybe the aesthetics of the unique carafe or maybe the low cost, but there’s no doubt about it, the French press method of brewing coffee has a cult following.
The French press is unique among brewing methods in that unlike the common drip brewing process, the ever-popular pour-over technique or even the Aeropress, the French press does not use a paper filter. As paper filters tend to absorb coffee oils, the lack of these filters in the French press allow the coffee’s natural oils to make it to the cup, giving the coffee its characteristic smooth and buttery quality. Also, as coffee is steeped in hot water instead of being briefly touched by water passing through it, coffee brewed via the French press tends to exhibit flavors not showcased through other brewing methods.
If you are thinking about “taking the plunge” or perhaps already have, but just need to know how to use a French press and brew that perfect cup of coffee, here is some help.
Here is a step-by-step guide on brewing coffee with a French press.
What you’ll need:
Now that you’ve got all materials you need, let’s “take the plunge” and brew us some yummy French press coffee.
A note on the coffee: We recommend buying fresh, locally roasted and whole bean coffee. This way you know the coffee is fresh, giving you the most flavor for your money. Coffee purchased at the local grocery or big box store is often months old, if not more than a year past its roast date. Coffee begins to change its flavor 10 days after roasting. Also, ground coffee begins losing its flavor three days after grinding. So if you order ground coffee, make sure to use it soon, or if you grind your coffee, only grind what you’ll need when you need it.
Okay, enough with the tips. Now on with the brewing.
Step 1: Grind and add coffee.
After determining how much coffee you want to brew, for each cup (8 fluid ounces) of coffee, put a rounded tablespoon (56 grams) of coarsely ground coffee into the carafe. Hint: When we say coarsely ground, think breadcrumbs as that’s about the consistency we want.
Step 2: Boil water and wait 1 minute.
Bring water to a boil and then let it cool for one minute. As water boils at 210 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature of the water you use should be about 205 degrees, a 1-minute wait should bring the water to a usable temperature.
Step 3: Pour, stir and pour.
Pour the hot but not boiling water into the carafe to the corresponding mark of the amount of coffee you want to brew, stopping briefly part way to stir and resuming your pour to the desired level.
Hint: When pouring for a full carafe, leave enough space in the top of the carafe to allow you to stir the mixture and set the French press’s filter and plunger on the top without causing the carafe to overflow.
Step 4: Stir.
Once you have poured the water on the coffee grounds and filled the carafe to the final level, stir the mixture, making sure all the grounds become wet and saturated. By this point, you should start noticing the coffee begin to foam if it hasn’t already during pouring. The foam is due to the coffee grounds outgassing.
Step 5: Place lid and wait 4 minutes.
Place the lid and plunger assembly on the top of the carafe — and wait at least four minutes. Just like how steeping tea helps hot water take on the flavor of the tea leaves, this wait gives the water in the the time to dissolve the coffee and to take on its flavors and aromas.
Step 6: Plunge slowly and carefully.
Once the four minutes is up, after first making sure the lid is securely fasted to the top of the carafe and the carafe is on a stable surface, slowly and carefully push the plunger down. Plunging accomplishes two things: First, it strains the coffee grounds from the water and, second, it forces the hot water through the grounds, helping the water to extract even more coffee flavor.
Note: If it becomes too difficult to plunge, maybe due to the filter clogging, remove the plunger, stir the mix, replace the cover and carefully push plunger down.
Step 7: Pour the coffee and enjoy!
Now that the grounds are trapped at the bottom, your coffee is brewed. To avoid over extraction and too much bitterness, as the grounds are still in the carafe, either pour the coffee immediately for drinking and or pour it into another carafe. Enjoy!
Hopefully, you found these instructions easy to follow and with them you find a fantastic cup of French press coffee in your near future!
Savor the flavor and enjoy!
Grounds 4 Compassion is an Oklahoma City-based company focused on providing freshly roasted quality coffee for our customers and investing back into our community. Our goal is ultimately to help improve our community and our world as we endeavor to make a good cup of coffee.
Click here to learn more about or to shop Grounds 4 Compassion.