How to Make a French Press Coffee

french pressThe French Press is the ultimate in gourmet coffee brewing. Brewing a great cup of coffee with a French Press isn’t hard. It just requires the right equipment and a little effort.
The major benefit of a French Press is the total immersion of the grounds. If you do it right, all of the coffee grounds are totally surrounded by water. Compare that to the standard Mr. Coffee style brewer where the water flows into the filter leaving some grounds dry and some over-extracted. Total immersion and four minute steeping allow all of the flavors of the coffee to emerge. The press produces a full-bodied coffee with a good balance of acidity and sweetness. The aroma and flavor are more intense than other brewing methods.
Here are the steps for brewing in a French Press.
  1. 1. Measure the Press. THe first time you use a FrenchPpress pour tap water into the press up to the bottom of the metal ring. Pour that water into a measuring cup to determine how much water you will be using when you brew. Divide that number by six. If you remember that number you will not have to do this again.

2. Great Coffee. Use the best whole bean coffee you can afford. Make sure it is current crop and fresh roasted. The only reason to use a French Press is extract the best flavors in the coffee. If the coffee is old or badly processed, it won’t have any flavor and you may as well use a Mr. Coffee style machine.

3. Good Grind Use a conical burr coffee grinder so that the grounds are as uniform as possible. If the grounds are different sizes they will extract at different rates.The flavors from big pieces and little pieces do not average out to the flavors from medium pieces.

The size of the grind depends on the size of the filter on the press.. Look at the filter on the press. Old style press filters had very large pores and needed a rough grind. However, newer presses have smaller pores and presses with gold filters can take fine grinds. If you are not sure, try a drip grind and then adjust the next time.

4. Good Water Use bottled or filtered water. Do not use tap water, the chlorine will oxidize the flavors. Do not use distilled or purified waters. Coffee extracts when attracted by metallic ions in the brew water, distilled water and purified water do not have metallic ions.
5. Add Grounds to Press The Specialty Coffee Association of America recommends two tablespoons of coffee to 6 ounces of water as a starting point. So add two tablespoons of ground coffee to the press times the number you calculated in #1. If you want to be more precise use 11 grams of ground coffee for every 6 fluid ounces of water or 11 grams of coffee to 177 grams of water. Remember this is just a starting point you should adjust to your taste. Once you get there, write down the amount and the next time it will be easier. There is no precise, correct measure. You should adjust the amount of coffee after the first press based on whether you want your coffee stronger or weaker.
6. Add 200 degree water All coffee brewing should occur at 200 degrees plus or minus 5 degrees. You can use a teapot, when the water boils let it cool for a few seconds and you can use it. Fill the press to the same mark that you used in #1.
7. Stir Mix the coffee/water slurry by stirring it.
8. Steep Put the top of the filter back on and let the slurry steep for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes push the plunger down slowly (if you push fast you will be sorry).
9. Serve Pour out the coffee. Do not leave coffee in the press and try to serve it later. The coffee will continue to brew and will be bitter. If you want to save the coffee, pour it into a carafe as soon as it is brewed.
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