Learn How to Make Coffee with a French Press

It’s no secret that I am partial when it comes to compare coffee making methods. Cafetière is the excellent way to prepare your morning coffee, and there is nothing like it, if you ask me. Instead of taking a detour to your local coffee shop, in your way to work, grab a bag of ideal Arabica whole bean coffee and brew a delicious cup of pressed coffee at home. You can even brew it at work, for a mid-day caffeine dose.

There is some dispute on which device steeps the fantastic coffee, and a lot of are rising an eyebrow to the modest Press pot coffee maker”. Nevertheless, if you understand how to use a French press coffee maker, and you understand how to adjust the brew and troubleshoot it, you will be repaid with a great cup of joe.

We’ve put together this comprehensive guide of Press pot coffee making, to guide you through your home barista journey.

Placing the lid on a Cafetière before the steeping

Press pot Brewing – Art or Science?

The Cafetière, also called a press pot, is a 19th century French invention that makes an awesome “cup of joe. It covers the gap between the practicality of a drip coffee maker and the robust aromas of espresso. Although the French press coffee maker tastes are bolder than filter coffee, and it “gives ample body, compared to drip, it is not as concentrated as espresso. This “brews it very appealing for coffee enthusiasts that value a bold coffee, but as bold as the espresso coffee.

Brewing coffee is a technique that straddles the line between scientific research and art. Manual brewing techniques such as French press, more so. Whether you are a coffee aficionado or a casual consumer, you can tell the difference between a bad cup and an skillfully made one. There is no magic involved, you simply need to follow the procedure, and the modify it to your taste. Preparing a wonderful coffee boils down to the: having the right device, utilizing the right technique, and understanding how every coffee preparation factor will change your cup.

French press coffee maker Brewing – Tool and Ingredients

In a fantastic world, where you take coffee preparing really seriously, this is the equipment and ingredients you will need:

  • French press
  • Grinder
  • Thermometer
  • Timer
  • Scale and measuring cup
  • Kettle
  • Fantastic coffee beans
  • Water

If you are worried about the investment, you could probably do without a few of the items in the list. French press coffee maker is one of the the majority of economical coffee makers. But we’ll get to that in a bit bit.

Let’s learn why it is better to have all the device on the list first, and how that improves your final cup.

Cafetière

Of course, a French coffee press is the first “device you’ll need to purchase. A Cafetière is a beaker with a plunger, a lid, and filter to press the coffee grounds. If you have the means and you are willing to invest in a more expensive French press coffee maker you can buy a metallic insulated one, or a ceramic one. The advantage is that they don’t lose the temperature as fast as the glass ones.

Coffee grinder

A grinder is essential equipment for anyone who brews coffee at home. Coffee freshness is needed for a wonderful cup. Coffee loses its aroma exponentially, after grinding, due to the reality that there is more surface exposure to the air. So in a ideal world, you buy coffee beans and grind it minutes before brewing it.

If you can’t invest in a grinder at the moment, just ask your coffee roaster to grind it really coarsely for you. And you need to buy small quantities, due to the truth that once ground, it will go stale faster.

I advise a burr coffee grinder rather than a blade one. Burr grinders can produce a uniform grind size while a blade grinder will give you boulders and dust. All of that dust will pass through the screen filter into your coffee.

Scale and Measuring Cup

Measuring out the correct Cafetière coffee ratio is important for a consistent taste from brew to brew. If you approximate, and you put too little, or too much grounds for the amount of water used, you’ll end up with a disappointing cup. I’ll show you later on. in this guide, how coffee flavor is affected by the amount of grounds used.

Ideally, you’ll need a scale to weigh the coffee grounds, and a measuring cup to measure the amount of water. If you don’t have a scale, you could still utilize a spoon to measure the coffee grounds, but it’s a bit trickier, due to the truth that beans have different density, depending of the roast degree, and origin. Darker beans expand more during the roasting technique, so you will have less coffee than a light roast, if you measure by volume.

Timer

A timer is good o have however non-essential. You will read online about over-extraction, and how that ruins your coffee. With Cafetière, over-extraction is less of a problem, “because we enjoy the strong aromas of pressed coffee.  There is likewise a technical reason why Press pot coffee doesn’t “actually over-extract, if you work with the right temperature. We’ll get to that during the technical details. You can use your smart phone’s timer for this, no need for fancy equipment.

Kettle and Thermometer

So a kettle is a nice kitchen appliance that should be in anyone’s kitchen. But, if you are a on a tight budget, any pan on the stovetop must perform it. However remember, boiling water in a pan on an electric stove is not efficient and it will cost you more in the long run.

If you conduct decide to invest in a kettle, an electric variable temperature kettle is the perfect. It allows you to control the brewing temperature, so you don’t over-extract your coffee. I know I said French press coffee maker coffee doesn’t over-extract, nevertheless it does, if you insist. It likewise depends on your taste; some people enjoy a little more bite on their cup.

If you get a variable temperature kettle, you don’t need a thermometer.

Ingredients – Water and Coffee Beans

Always work with freshly roasted, quality whole coffee beans. Beans can be stored in the pantry, in an airtight jar for 2-3 weeks. Buy coffee so it lasts you that long.

Water is as important as the coffee beans. There are only two ingredients that go into a coffee cup, so it’s important to pay attention to both. Use quality water. I am lucky enough to live in a place with fantastic tap water. Nevertheless I have lived in places where tap water was in fact” bad. If that’s your case, utilize bottled water or use a filter to “troubleshoot your tap water.

How to Utilize a French Press: Step-by-Step

Boil the Water

Bring enough water to fill the French press coffee maker to a boil. For a 17-oz press, you’ll need about 12 ounces of water, (1 and a half cups).

For the perfect taste, use fresh water that “gives not been boiled before. Water has dissolved gases that make the water taste better. Boiling removes the gases and the water will taste “flat“.

Dosage your Coffee Beans

I recommend beginning with a 1:15 coffee-to-water ratio, and modify it up or down to your choice. This comes to 35 grams of coffee grounds for 500 ml of water. Coffee people utilize metric measurements, so to translate that for you, it will be 35 grams of coffee grounds and 16 oz. of water.

The 35 grams of coffee can be approximated to about 8 leveled tablespoons, if you don’t have a scale.

Light roasted coffee beans are denser, so you will need less tablespoons for the same amount. Dark roasted beans had more time to expand during roasting. There will be less coffee for the same volume than light roasts.

So, if you measure beans, approximate to 7 tablespoons for extremely lighter roasts, 10 for extremely darker roasted beans. If you measure ground coffee is trickier because the differences tend to even out.

Grind Your Coffee

While the kettle is on the stovetop, grind your coffee. Cafetière coffee calls for a coarse, even grind for a clear cup. My personal preference for a stronger and flavorful cup, is medium-coarse. Lots of times I work with a medium grind, same size as drip.

Let it Bloom

Place the 50 grams of coffee in the beaker, and then carefully pour some of the water over the grounds. Give it a stir to make sure all the grounds are immersed in the water. This ensures the grounds will saturate with water and will enhance the extraction. Allow the coffee to bloom for about 30 seconds. Utilize a wooden stick, to avoid touching the glass with a metal spoon.

Wooden stick stirring in coffee during blooming in a Cafetière beaker

Infusion Time

Pour the rest of the water and gently push the plunger in, basically so it touches the water. Don’t plunge entirely actually yet. Screw the lid on carefully. Let the coffee steep for four minutes.

You can get a slightly stronger brew, by steeping longer. At the other end of the range, there are people who use the no steep time process. But the trick with the no steep “recipe, is to use a medium grind.

Placing the filter at the water extent before steeping

Filtration

Place the coffee press on the counter and carefully and equally press the filter down.

The perfect pressure is about 15-20 pounds. If you don’t know how pressing 15 pounds feels like? Press your plunger on your bathroom scale. More than 20 pounds is not necessarily bad, but beyond this point you don’t have control over the plunging, and grounds could easily spill up in the collector chamber.

Press The Plunger Down
  • If it’s hard to press, that indicates the coffee grind was too fine;
  • If the plunger goes down to the bottom of the beaker, it suggests your grind is too coarse.

Keep the plunger perfectly vertical. If you accidentally angle it, coffee grounds will slip through the sides of the screen-filter. Push the plunger down slowly using the weight of your hand and arm for pressure. This way you minimize stirring up the coffee dust.

Now that coffee grounds are separated from your beverage, you can pour it in cups and serve it. Ideally, you conduct” not want to let it sit. Coffee gets cold very fast in a glass Press pot.

Troubleshooting and Tweaking Press pot Coffee

Let me put it this way: Cafetière brewing is really forgiving. Unlike espresso coffee, or pour-over, the expectations are to get a thick, concentrated coffee. If you are creating a “no-steep” Press pot, then that is a little bit more complex, however for a full immersion full time steeping process”, all is relatively “humble.

So if you don’t love the coffee you simply brewed, you may have still done everything right. You actually need to tweak it to your own taste. As I said, French press is pretty versatile, as such you can get various “effects just by tweaking the brewing factors.

Nevertheless, before you start tweaking, it is important to get the basics correct. Follow the steps below in sequence. If the water quality is poor, there is no pint troubleshooting the grind size.

Water Quality

This is covered widely on all coffee brewing guides. Can you consume the water? If the water aromas” good you can make coffee with it. If you need to buy bottled water for sipping, then you needs to utilize bottled water for generating” coffee.

Coffee Freshness

Coffee is perishable. Coffee doesn’t spoil, and you can still beverage it months from the roasting date, however that is not coffee anymore, it’s just a way to get caffeinated.

As it ages, coffee loses its flavor. Dark roast coffee beans maintain their flavor up to 10 days to 2 weeks. Lighter roasted beans are still good 3 to 4 weeks after roast. Ground coffee loses its flavor way faster than whole coffee beans.

To sum up: the darker the coffee is roasted, the shorter the window of freshness is.

Coffee at the grocery store doesn’t have a roasted date, they have instead an expiration date. Typically, this isn’t a problem, because the big roasting houses have special packaging like nitrogen flushing, or vacuum packing.

I suggest buying from a reputable local roaster, “because you can have perfectly fresh coffee, and you will have the option of buying a single origin.

Grind Size

The Cafetière brewing process” uses a coarse grind size, coarser than filter coffee. If the grind is too fine, coffee grounds might slip through the filter into your cup. Your coffee will be too concentrated, and you might have problems plunging in. If the grind is too coarse the coffee could taste weak and sour.

Grind it when you buy it, utilizing the commercial-grade coffee grinder in the store, or ask your local roaster to grind it for you, if you don’t have a good grinding machine. (The blade coffee grinder it’s not good). Ideally, you ought to own a burr coffee mill” so you can grind it yourself simply before brewing.

You might have read the majority of” Cafetière brewing guides recommending grinding really coarse. If you have a decent grinding machine, there in fact” is no need to grind that coarse. If coffee “flavors too bold, just add less grounds. The main reason for grinding coarsely, is that coffee bits don’t get through. A decent grinder gives you an even grind size.

The biggest problem with bad grinders is that they produce dust and boulders. Historically, in order to avoid this, home baristas adjusted their grind to coarse, in order to avoid the dust. With an even grind, you can go as low as drip coffee grind size. The coffee grounds will expand when soaked in water, and they won’t pass through the screen.

Sure, my advice to grind finer than you would goes against the advice of perfect coffee houses. All I am asking is give it a try. If you “love it, please come back and comment about it. If you hate it, come back and complain about it.

Brewing Temperature

The brewing temperature for Press pot is just off a boil. If you need to measure that with a thermometer, is 195-205 F, (90-96 C).

If you utilize a lighter roast aim for a brewing temperature close to 205 F. Dark roasted beans are more soluble than lighter ones, so 195 F is more appropriate.

Here is the thing with the brewing temperature, it’s not that critical with a glass French press coffee maker. Over-extraction it’s a thing, I am not denying it. However you get over-extraction when you combine two or more brewing factors wrong. If only the temperature is high, in a glass Cafetière won’t matter that much due to the truth that glass loses the temperature fast. This implies it will only brew at a high temperature for a short time.

Brewing Time

As I said, Press pot is versatile. Brew longer and you get very “concentrated coffee, what is generally expected from a French press coffee maker. Brew shorter, and you have a brighter cup, with less body. Closer to a drip coffee if you want.

If you want a brighter cup, again, not your “normal Cafetière, steep between 2 and 3 minutes.

If you want the traditional Cafetière coffee, steep around 4 minutes. This is the most popular brew time one of French press baristas.

If you want a bomb, steep for 6 minutes.

The problem with long infusion times is that the body overwhelms the flavor. So, delicate origin tastes will be masked by the boldness.

Let’s not forget the no-steeping procedure. That produces the closest brew to a drip. The major differences are that Cafetière uses full immersion, whereas drip just washes the grounds. Although drip coffee can utilize a screen filter, many often we associate drip with a paper filter. The paper filter eliminates all of the oils from the coffee.

Dose

Getting the dosage correct is the last step. The reason it is the last step is that the other steps tend to have more fixed rules. “though there is a recommended dose,

The dosage is a question of personal option and as I said, it is dependent on all other brewing parameters. If your grind is extremely fine, you want to lower the grounds quantity per cup. If your water is too hot for too long, (you are utilizing an insulated coffee press), you will also need to lower your dose.

One thing to remember is that a lot of recipes on the Internet assume you want a rich coffee. As such, they are created to fulfil that expectation. If you are new to Cafetière, you might find coffee from a fundamental technique too strong. Try to lower the dosage and see how you enjoy” it that way.

One think to remember is that although coffee is so concentrated coming out from a Cafetière, the caffeine content is not too much higher. We may extract slightly more caffeine with a press pot but not by much.

As a reminder, I recommend my 25 grams of coffee for two cups of water. As a comparison, Bodum, the famous coffee maker manufacturer recommends 1 rounded tablespoon for every 4 oz. This a 1:20 ratio, whereas my recipe is a 1:15 ratio. Truly to avoid any confusion, I advise 2 extent tablespoons for 4 oz. and Bodum recommends 1 rounded tablespoon for the same 4 oz.

We thought this post was worth mentioning, all the credit goes to Cafetière Coffee, a website that takes Cafetière brewing seriously.