The Complete Guide to French Press Coffee Makers

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Many people desire a perfect cup of coffee before starting their day. What better way for getting your fix than a French Press coffee

Coffee made using French Press is always going to be rich in flavors. This is due to minimal contact with any material that will reduce the coffee flavor. You also get a strong coffee as most of the coffee oils are retained during the brewing process.

French Press 101

French Press is a type of immersion brewer where coffee is completely submerged in water during the brewing process. Due to all the coffee being immersed in the water there is equal contact time among all the coffee and a very little chance is there of going wrong in comparison to drip methods in which water passes through ground coffee.

Making coffee using the French Press

French Press coffee makers make the brewing process extremely easy. If you get a few variables right then there is nothing stopping you from drinking that perfect cup of coffee. Let’s start with the various factors that will directly affect how your coffee is going to taste. 

Coffee Beans

For a good cup of coffee, good coffee beans are necessary. Once ground, coffee starts losing its freshness and flavors after just 30 minutes. That’s why it is best to buy whole beans and grind them immediately before the brewing.

The freshness of a roasted coffee bean starts to decline in 2-3 weeks. For using coffee beans that are at their peak freshness you can buy them from roasters who roast in small batches or on the spot instead of buying from stores where the coffee might be sitting for months.

Grinding

When it comes to grinding the ground coffee needs to have consistency in size and shape. Coarser grinds are best suited for the French Press coffee makers. Using a finely-ground coffee can lead to over-extraction. The ground-coffee should look like kosher salt in the end.

Using burr grinders is also important as they cut in uniform sizes and coffee ground using it has consistency. They also don’t overheat the coffee beans which prevents any loss of freshness.

Coffee to water ratio

You should always aim for a good coffee to water ratio of 1:15. Increasing the water quantity will lead to an over-extracted weak coffee which will also be bitter. Whereas decreasing the water quantity will lead to an under-extracted coffee which will be too acidic. For finding how much coffee you should use, divide the water that will be used by 15 and it should give you the quantity of coffee you should be using.

Brewing Temperature and Water

The best temperature to brew your coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit for the most extraction. Brewing the coffee too low will lead to under-extracted coffee whereas too hot water will lead to low-quality coffee.

Using tap water should be avoided if you want a purer coffee, as it can contain minerals that can alter the taste of your coffee. Using filtered water is best for brewing purposes.

Steeping Time

A steeping time of 4-6 minutes is ideal when using a French Press. It is important to steep for at least 4 minutes to prevent the under-extraction of the coffee. Too little steeping time can also lead to weak coffee. Also the longer you steep the stronger the coffee is going to be. Although too long and your coffee is going to be too bitter. Once the coffee has steeped, you should transfer it immediately to a carafe or drink it.

Step by step guide for making French Press coffee

  1. Take 1L of filtered water and heat it at 200 degrees.
  2. Now take 60g of fresh and whole coffee beans.
  3. These coffee beans need to be ground coarsely for optimal extraction.
  4. Transfer the coffee grounds to the French Press.
  5. Now the blooming process is important. Pour 100g of water over the grounds and equally wet them all. Stir the grounds and wait for 30 seconds.
  6. Now pour the remaining water over the grounds and close the lid.
  7. Now comes the steeping part. Allow the coffee to steep in between 4 to 6 minutes depending on how strong you want your coffee.
  8. Once the steeping time is completed, transfer the coffee to a cup to drink immediately or to a carafe for keeping the coffee hot.

Cleaning your French Press

Cleaning a French Press coffee maker is easy. You can start by pressing the plunger to the bottom. Discard any remaining coffee. Remove and rinse the plunger now. Now put water in the carafe and give it a shake and dispose of it. Using a brush remove any fines over the filter screen and springs.

Cold-brew coffee using the French Press

If you are a fan of cold-brew coffee then a French Press can be used for making it. To make the cold-brew transfer the grounds to the base of your French Press and pour cold water over it. The plunger shouldn’t be pressed right now. Put the French Press in the refrigerator for 12-15 hours depending on how you want your coffee. Once done, push the plunger down and pour the cold-brew over ice and add any milk or flavors according to your taste. 

It is best to use coarsely ground coffee for this. Also if the coffee is too strong then you can dilute it with more ice, water or milk

Bottom Line

While the name has Press in it, no pressure is used to extract the flavors from the coffee. If you like your coffee to be rich in flavor then you should definitely get yourself a French Press. This method also doesn’t leave many variables open for mistakes to be made.

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