Looking to expand your coffee horizons and reap even more benefits? Or are you simply sick of brewing coffee in a pot and want to try something different? Why not get out the best coffee beans you have and use them in a French press coffee machine for a little fun?
A French press coffee maker, when used correctly, produces the perfect cup of joe – unless you’re using bad coffee beans, in which case nothing will save you. When handled incorrectly, though, it may easily damage the brew, whirling coffee grounds into the liquid and ruining your beverage, mood, and day. Given the device’s dangerous reputation, many coffee enthusiasts have never even tried their hand at the French press. (If you need more proof, just go to YouTube and type in “French Press Fails” – there are a lot more than you may imagine.)
What Is a French Press and How Do I Use It?
To begin, make sure you have the correct water-to-coffee ratio (we’ll discuss the best coffee for French press brewing later). One ounce of ground coffee to 16 fluid ounces of water (about two generous tablespoons of coffee) is our recommendation. Ensure that the water is at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a good food thermometer, you should get one (meat thermometers work great for this), Bring the water to a low boil, then set it aside for two or three minutes. However, we strongly advise you to get a thermometer.
Scoop the coffee into the bottom of the press, then carefully pour in the 200-degree water and cover with the top of the device, the plunger fully lifted. Now it’s time to wait.
Four minutes is the best brew time for good French press coffee in my opinion, but you can pour a cup out after only two minutes and still get decent extraction, especially if the coffee-to-water ratio is higher. Don’t try to make an extra-strong cup by steeping the grounds longer; after about a dozen minutes, your brew will start to turn bitter. Add extra grinds if you want a stronger coffee (or make espresso with these excellent espresso makers).
Finally, when those four minutes have passed, carefully and steadily lower the plunger. If you jostle the plunger’s handle when pouring out your coffee, grounds may get through the screen and into your coffee; it would be a shame to destroy the brew barely seconds before you enjoy it!
Step-by-Step Instructions for Making French Press Coffee
So you’re pressed for time, huh? Then you should have probably read this section first. Here’s how to use a Bodum French press quickly and easily:
- 2 tablespoons coarsely ground coffee at the bottom of the French press.
- Place the lid on the unit and slowly pour 16 ounces of hot (200 degrees F) water into the press.
- Allow 4 minutes for the mixture to steep.
- Slowly and carefully lower the plunger, making sure it is completely straight.
- Pour your two cups of coffee and sit back to relax.
What’s the Best Coffee for a French Press?
The best French press coffee is anything you like in your mug, whether it’s Colombian, Egyptian, or whatever. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try the world’s strongest coffee or one of the world’s five most costly coffees.
Variety is less important than the type of coffee grind. For two reasons, coarse grinds work best in French press coffee makers. The first is self-evident: finely ground coffee is more likely to pass through the filter of the press and into your cup. Who would want that?
The way the hot water absorbs these larger parts of the bean throughout the extended period the grounds and water spend together, which is different from drip coffee, is another reason coarse grinds are preferred for French press brewing. Larger grounds absorb more water and release more flavor than smaller bits, but they do not result in the over-extraction that occurs with finer grinds, so the final coffee is full-flavored without being sour or astringent. (A quick-brewing espresso, on the other hand, necessitates an extra-fine grind, and some bitterness is expected and welcomed.)
In terms of flavor, I suggest a medium roast coffee. Lighter roasts are better for the long extraction period because darker roasts have a more acidic profile. Additionally, medium and lighter roasts typically include more caffeine, which provides an added benefit.
And there you have it: you now have all the knowledge you need to make the best dang cup of French press ever pressed. It’s now time to wake up and smell the coffee! You might want to pick up a carafe to put your coffee in.