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French press coffee is considered by many to be the best way to make a cup of coffee in the world. A word-class cup of coffee is only a couple of minutes away, so keep reading to learn how to make a french press and you swill be rewarded with sweet caffeine.
Time: 6 min.
Also check out How To Make Iced Coffee to see how to turn an awesome homemade french press into an awesome iced coffee.
French Press Brewing Gear
You can probably guess what you need to make french press coffee, but just in case…
- French press (French Presses on Amazon)
- Coffee grinder (Grinders at the same)
- Some good coffee (how to roast coffee)
- Carafe for coffee storage (Hario Insulated carafe)
- And something to drink out of, say for instance…a mug
Ok, let’s make some joe.
Grinding Coffee for French Press
Don’t grind it yet! Ok now that I’ve saved you from that mistake here’s the scoop. you don’t want to grind your coffee until just before you are ready to add in the water. Grounds are always at their best if you wait to grind your beans just before brewing.
When making french press coffee you want to do a coarse grind. A coarse grind is perfectly suited for french press because the larger size of the grounds allows for a longer brewing process.
Grinding your coffee beans too fine will also result in a much greater amount of sediment to pass though the filter in the press and into your cup, not tasty.
It is best to grind you coffee with a burr grinder or coffee mill as these will result in a more consistent size in your grounds. This isn’t to say you can’t use a blade grinder, I’m not that snooty.
However, blade grinders do result in inconsistent ground size and because of that flavor will vary as different grind sizes brew at their own rates.
French Press Brewing Ratio
Personally, I have a heavy hand, I add in a little bit more coffee to satisfy my caffeine addiction. Just do it to taste after you’ve made it a couple of times.
Adding Water to Your French Press
Boil up some good ol’ fashion H2O. Water is the perfect temperature for making French press when it has just reached a boil.
Using hotter water won’t making your coffee any better or stronger. You want to get your grounds thoroughly wet, so don’t be afraid to pour the water into the press vigorously.
Only fill the french press half way with water to start. If you have really nice freshly roasted coffee beans for your french press then you should get what is called bloom.
Bloom is a foaming that occurs when the water hits the freshly ground coffee beans and they release CO2 Bloom can sometimes be several inches, so be careful, and don’t fill the entire french press right away or you might have a big puddle of coffee foam all over your counter. (I’ve been there, it burns, lol.)
Stirred not Shaken
Stir your French press with a wooden spoon to break up any little coffee clumps that may exist. Remember we’re trying to go for an even and consistent soaking of the beans. This will result in the most complete and robust coffee brew.
Top Up Your Press
After the foam has settled, top off the french press nearly to the top with water. You want to leave a little room at the top of the press for the press-top and plunger.
You don’t want your press over flowing when you put the lid on it as it may overflow onto your counter, hands, floor, etc.
I have been there…it burns. ;)
French Press Brewing Time
The optimal brewing time for making french press coffee is four minutes from when the water hits the grounds. That being said, in my experience, brewing a little longer isn’t going to ruin your coffee.
Some people say that you shouldn’t let you coffee sit in the french press if you are going to pour it all out and drink it immediately. Leaving the coffee in the french press will eventually lead to bitterness and unpleasant flavor, but don’t worry too much if you’re going to drink the whole thing in a relatively short amount of time, say five to ten minutes.
If you aren’t going to drink it for a longer amount of time, or you want to keep the flavor perfect you can either get a bigger cup or, pour it into an insulated container until you’re ready top drink the rest. I recommend the Hario Insulated Carafe. I love pretty much everything Hario makes. Their products are beautiful and I haven’t had a single thing from them break yet!
Pressing the Coffee
After those four agonizing minutes of waiting, as caffeine withdrawals have hit their peak, you can final press your coffee. Push down evenly on the plunger.
Don’t force it, or you might crack the glass. If you do feel resistance just lift the plunger back up a little and try again and it should work fine.
Enjoy Your French Press Coffee
Pour yourself a steaming mug of french press coffee, kick back, and enjoy a fantastic cup of coffee you made yourself all without the coffee shop price tag!
Final Note: The Beans matter
Using high quality beans really does make a huge difference when your brewing coffee. You get what you pay for. But, also, you like what you like. So try a bunch of different kinds of beans, try different roasters, and try different roast and when you find something you like stop looking.
I personally like to use my own homemade roasted coffee beans as much as I can. I also like Stumptown coffee beans.