Rich, smooth, and indulgent…French Press coffee is class apart! You cannot understand the difference between a regular coffee and a French Press until you try one. Coffee connoisseurs believe that a cup of freshly brewed French Java has the power to transport you to Paradis’.
Believe it or not, but the French Press like this on Amaozn is one of the best-kept secrets in the coffee industry. It is a perfect example that says coffee does not have to be expensive to taste great! This affordable method of coffee making requires precision to achieve that perfect aroma and taste.
Here is our step-by-step guide on how to make a French Press coffee at home:
• Heat water in a kettle to the right temperature (preferably 202-205 °F)
• Grind fresh coffee beans using a burr grinder (coarse consistency)
• Pour water slowly and let coffee grounds bloom for 30 seconds
• Add remaining water and let the grounds steep for 3.5 to 4 minutes
• Now start pressing the plunger slowly with both hands
• Serve your coffee immediately and pour out any leftover coffee in a thermos
Step 1: Heat water in a kettle to the right temperature
Take a kettle with a long snout as makes pouring easier. Now fill up the kettle with enough water as required for your French press (depending on whether you are brewing for one person or more). Water usually comes to boil at about 211 °F, so you must stop before the bubbling starts at 202-205 °F.
The water temperature is an essential aspect of coffee making. If the water is boiling hot, it will scald the coffee grounds and the brew will taste bitter. On the other hand, if the water is not hot enough, this will result in an under extracted brew. If you are a beginner, consider buying a thermometer to take the guesswork out of hitting the right water temperature.
Step 2: Grind fresh coffee beans (coarse) for best-tasting coffee
To make the best tasting French Press coffee or any style of coffee, always use the freshest coffee beans that have been recently roasted. You can get the most authentic flavors if you grind beans just before brewing your coffee.
If you wish to be a pro at coffee making, consider buying a hand grinder like the JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder. To step up your game, you may invest in an Electric Burr Grinder that will grind your coffee beans to the perfect consistency in no time.
A special tip – If you want to enhance the taste of your French Press coffee, sprinkle a little kosher salt. It works as a flavor enhancer and puts that extra ’ to your coffee-y. However, make sure you do not overdo, as a pinch is enough.
Step 3: Pour water slowly over the coffee grounds
Now that you have hot water and freshly ground coffee beans ready, start by pouring water into your French Press. This is where a kettle with long spout comes handy in pouring water consistently to wet all grounds.
Pour one-third of the water, stir it up using a chopstick or bamboo spoon (anything non-metal) to foster the extraction process. Using a metal spoon may damage a glass French press and cause cracks if you hit too hard.
Stir for some time and let the coffee grounds bloom for about 30 seconds. Put the lid on top of the brewer to ensure that the heat does not escape. Take some time to smell the fresh aroma and wait. Your patience will be ultimately rewarded.
Step 4: Add remaining water and let coffee grounds steep
Now pour the remaining water until the French Press is full or as much as you want. Stir it again using a chopstick and let the ground steep for at least 4 minutes. You may increase or decrease the time spent on steeping grounds depending on how strong you want your coffee to be.
Some people prefer to steep for 3 1/2 minutes only because coffee continues to steep and extract oils as long as it sits in the French press.
Step 5: Now press the plunger and bring it on!
It’s now time to press your French Press and you need to do this slowly and steadily. Some people suggest counting to 30 as you press. This process is supposed to extract the coffee oils and infuse them with water. If you hastily press it down, the flavor will not be distributed evenly and some sips may be more bitter.
Make sure you do not apply a lot of pressure. The normal weight of your hand should be enough. So, go slow and be patient as you press the plunger down to enjoy a perfectly even taste.
Step 6: Serve your coffee and don’t let it sit in the French Press
Once you are done pressing, make sure you pour out the coffee immediately to drink it. If there is any excess coffee left, pour it out in a big carafe or store it in a thermos. Leaving the coffee in the French press will turn the brew bitter because slow extraction of grounds continues even after you have pressed the plunger down.
A Sneak Peek Into The History Of French Press
Although the exact year of invention is not known, people believe the French Press was invented at least a century ago in France, hence the word rench’ in its name. As the coffee making device became popular in other parts of the world, the name got several variations such as coffee press, coffee plunger, press pot, or cafetiere.
The French Press suddenly became a popular brewing device when an Italian designer Attilio Callimani patented the design in 1929. This device basically comprises two parts – a vessel that contains water and coffee grounds, and a rod with a filter attachment at the bottom.
The initial design of the French Press was slightly different from the modern design we have today. The modern-day French Presses are much more stylish and efficient. We also have more variations such as the insulated press to keep coffee warm for long.
Six Different Variations Of French Press Coffee Makers
The fresh press coffee makers come in different varieties and each type has its influence over the quality of the brew. If you are thinking of buying a cafetiere, you will find different varieties online. Here are a few advantages and disadvantages that will help you in making your choice. As French Press makers are inexpensive, some people prefer to have a few varieties to meet their diverse needs.
1. Plastic French Press
The biggest advantage of a plastic version is that the coffee maker becomes highly durable and shatterproof. It costs significantly less and plastic makes the device lightweight and highly portable. On the downside, plastic is not good at keeping water hot and your coffee will cool faster.
2. Ceramic French Press
The ones made from the ceramic material is undoubtedly more durable and they can also contain the heat within the device, but you can’t see your coffee brewing. For some coffee fanatics, watching the magic take place is half the fun so ceramics may not be the right option for them.
3. Stainless Steel French Press
The stainless steel version of the French press is easy to clean and good at trapping the heat inside so that the coffee stays warm for longer. It also does not impart any odor to your coffee. However, you must be careful and not let the coffee grounds brew more than needed or else it will turn bitter in taste.
4. Glass French Press
The glass-steel coffee maker seems to be the most popular mainly due to the glass carafe that lets you see the action happening inside. It comes with a plunger and steel casing for protection. This innovative design lets you see inside and feels more durable than the plastic models.
5. Automatic French Press
This one is for the busy bees as the device takes care of every step without you having to do anything manually. Although this is a new concept that can add a lot of convenience to your life, the conventional French Press lovers may not like it.
6. Travel Mugs
If your mornings don’t start until you sip your favorite French Press coffee, you may want to buy a travel mug that you can carry with you on the go. These devices have all the parts of a standard French Press coffee maker so you can enjoy your favorite cup of Joe anytime!
Six Reasons Why Coffee Aficionados Love French Press
The coffee aficionados have a special place in their heart for French Press coffee makers and it’s not for nothing. There are numerous benefits to this device when compared to other brewers like slow-drip coffee maker or home espresso machines. Here are the 6 reasons that make French Press so popular among those who are serious about their coffee:
1. Efficient and Affordable
An average American spends close to $1,000 every year on coffee from Starbucks and the likes. With a French Press coffee maker, you can save a lot of money and enjoy café style brew right at home. The device is not only cheap to buy also efficient as the brewing method uses all coffee grounds without wasting any.
2. Easy to Use
It does not take a professional or barista to make a French Press at home. You just need to develop some precision and have some patience to be able to brew the best quality French Press coffee. The steps in the process are extremely simple and cleaning the device is also easy. Your coffee will be ready in minutes.
3. Rich Flavor
The meticulous process of preparing a French Press coffee imparts a unique taste to the brew. As the coffee is not filtered, it adds a strong flavor and aroma to your Java. It is capable of capturing the most authentic flavors.
4. A healthier Brew
The process of pressing out your coffee beans ensures that all the wholesome goodness is extracted into the brew. Hence, the coffee you get from a French Press is high in good antioxidants useful for your body to stay healthier.
5. Easy to Customize
You may fully customize your French Press brew to meet your diverse needs. Whether you want a single cup or four cups of coffee, strong or weak brew, a French Press has you covered. You may also add cream, milk or soy milk to enhance the taste and texture of the brew.
7. A portable brewer
The French Press coffee maker is perhaps the only brewing device that you can carry in a bag, so you are never away from your favorite cup of mud. Whether you use a regular carafe or a travel mug style, the French Press can be carried with you anywhere to work, holidays, or while visiting friends.
Top 3 Choice Of French Press Coffee Makers
Think French Press, you get an iconic odum Chambord’ design in your mind. This is undoubtedly the most classic of all French Press models and my top choice too. This brewer sports a stainless steel chassis that is heat resilient and a plastic handle that is BPA-free. The borosilicate glass retains heat and prevents breakage.
The three-piece mesh filter does its job perfectly and helps in extracting every bit of the flavor. It allows very little or no coffee grounds through the filter. Overall, I feel this French Press is beautifully designed and works great for everyday use. If you are a beginner, looking for a French Press, you can’t go wrong with a Bodum Chambord!
• Looks great
• Simple design yet sturdy
• Durable for years
• Heat resilient body
• Available in multiple sizes
• The glass may crack easily
• Not so easy to clean
• Fine grounds escape the mesh filter
Looking for an affordable metal French Press that can brew for two in the morning? I would suggest the SterlingPro Double Wall that is made from durable stainless steel metal. The double wall construction provides enhanced insulation and durability. There is also a dual filter screen to ensure the finer coffee grounds do not pass through.
The SterlingPro is available in three different sizes – 1L, 1.5L, and 2L. All models are easy to disassemble for quick cleaning and they are dishwasher safe. The stainless finish makes the brewer look like new for a long time. At this price, you get great value for money!
• Durable metal design
• Looks great on the counter
• Cleaning is easy
• Makes great coffee
• The filter keeps fine grounds out of coffee
• Retains heat well and keeps your coffee warm
• 1L is too small even for single users who like to enjoy a second cup
• Some users find it difficult to press down
If you travel often and need a French Press to carry with you on the go, check out the JavaPress by GSI Outdoors. This compact brewer is specially built for outdoor enthusiasts. It is lightweight and wrapped conveniently in a neoprene sleeve. With JavaPress, GSI Outdoors addresses the issues faced by travelers who wish to make great coffee while camping or traveling.
The JavaPress is shatter-resistant so you do not have to worry about dropping it or tossing it with your camping gear. The exterior design is impressive but it slightly falls short when it comes to coffee quality. While the filter manages to keep most of the grounds out of the brew, it gets a little muddy at the end.
• Lightweight and highly portable
• Well-built body and durable
• Can make multiple cups of coffee
• Neoprene insulator retains heats to keep coffee warm
• Comes with an easy collapsible handle
• The piston gets stuck at times
• Not easy to clean without running water
• Plastic carafe falls short in extracting the full flavor
Tips To Make Great French Press At Home
French Press is the best example of traditional brewing method used in contemporary devices to deliver a highly aromatic drink. However, little things can bring about big differences in the taste so here a few tips to help you brew like an expert!
1. Knowing the right grind size
The French press brew is comparatively easier than the other styles but it is still important for you to get the right grind size. As this is an immersion method, coarse grind works best as all the coffee grounds will ultimately come in contact with hot water.
Do not grind the beans too fine as this will turn your brew into a muddy mix instead of a thick and rich texture. Fine grounds will also lead to over extraction and turn the brew bitter in taste.
The ideal texture is to aim for the breadcrumbs or kosher salt range. You should also be consistent with your grounds so that there are no chunky pieces amidst fine grounds.
2. Maintaining the accurate water temperature
This is an extremely important tip because deviation from the right water temperature can spoil the impact of your brew. Similar to other methods, you need boiling water but it should not be bubbling hot.
In this method, the coffee grounds will be in contact with water for longer than the running or dripping methods. You should be careful about not letting the water become too hot.
The ideal temperature is to keep it between 200 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. For best results, bring your water to boil and then let it cool for some time while you measure and grind coffee beans.
Letting it cool for 30 seconds will bring the temperature down and avoid scalding the grounds. Use a thermometer to check the temperature when in doubt.
3. Using the perfect coffee to water ratio
The immersion method requires more coffee grounds than the other methods and the standard ratio is 1:15 for water to coffee. You may adjust the ratio depending on whether you like your coffee stronger or weaker. However, I would recommend not to go lower than 1:12.
After you experiment with a few variations, you will be able to discover the weet spot’ that gives out perfect flavors for your taste buds. Remember that there’s only a limited space for grounds at the bottom of the plunger.
4. Pay attention to the brew time
French Press is a simple and straightforward style of brewing with just a few steps so you need to pay attention to them, and brew time is an important aspect. The brew time for a French press can actually be divided into three different phases.
First is the bloom time when you pour little water and let the coffee grounds bloom for about 30 seconds with the lid closed.
The second phase is when you break the upper crust after the first-minute mark. This will ensure all coffee grounds are properly immersed in water. If you skip this step, some grounds on the top will remain under-extracted.
The third and final phase is after you fill the vessel will water and let the coffee grounds steep in for about 3-4 more minutes. The beauty of French Press is that you can play around slightly with the brewing time to get a stronger or milder brew.
If you want a shorter brew time, choose a French Press that uses paper filters and works well with finer grounds.
How To Keep Your French Press Clean
Whether you use a French Press or drip coffee maker for brewing, a dirty device will give you a filthy brew. Even if you use high-quality coffee beans and an expensive brewer, nothing can compensate for not cleaning well after use.
Unlike a drip machine, the device does not get tainted with limescale or mildew but it can still impact the flavor if you don’t clean your French Press properly. Most of the brewing devices can be easily disassembled for cleaning. You will need a mesh strainer to quickly and easily clean your French Press.
You just need to follow these steps:
• First, you need to remove the plunger or piston from the French press
• Fill up the vessel with hot water and swish the water to loosen up any coffee chunks that may be stuck at the bottom
• Now hold the mesh strainer on the kitchen sink and slowly pour the hot water from your French press into the strainer
• Dump the strainer containing used coffee grounds in the garbage or you may use them in making green compost.
• Add some warm water and a few drops of liquid dishwasher soap. Now put the plunger back into the French Press
• Pump several times to remove the coffee stains and oils that may turn acidic
• Now use a bottlebrush along with some baking soda to get rid of any residue
• Hold the brewer under clean running water and rinse well
• Dry it with a soft cloth and your coffee brewer is ready to use again
If you are short on time and need to clean your French press quickly, you may put it in the dishwasher, as most stainless steel models are dishwasher safe. However, you may risk breaking the glass chamber so don’t rely on this method every time. It may be used occasionally for deep cleaning quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions On French Press Brewing
Q1. Why does my French press brew feel muddy?
A. If you have tasted French press coffee with high expectations but it turned out feeling like sludge, it is due to improper brewing. Muddy French press is usually a result of coffee beans ground too fine. Avoid grinding beans in a blade grinder at all cost.
Always use a good quality burr grinder to get the right consistency for a perfect brew. French press coffee can be more robust but it should not be sludgy by any means.
Q2. Should I preheat the coffee maker?
A. Not really needed. However, this is more of a personal preference than a rule. Pre-heating the coffee maker will result in better extraction of the coffee beans.
Q3. Do I need a paper filter?
A. In a few models, you may require a paper filter. Most French presses work fine with just the metal mesh, and it is enough to keep the brewer clean. Some models also come with a double-mesh setup. If the manufacturer recommends you to use a paper filter with the brewer, you should definitely get one.
Q4. Does French Press require a specific pouring technique?
A. Not really. You need a perfect pouring technique when brewing drip over coffee. When making French Press, it really does not matter which grounds get wet first. You just need to ensure that all grounds are properly saturated by soaking for three minutes or so.
Q5. Is it necessary to stir?
A. Yes. Absolutely! You must wait for one minute after pouring some water to let the coffee grounds bloom and then stir. Then add remaining water and stir again. Use a chopstick or a non-metal spoon to stir the mixture to get the most delicious brew without the fear of under extraction. Remember to break the crust, which is another fun aspect of making great French Press coffee.
Q6. How often do I need to clean my French press?
A. I would recommend that you clean your French press after every use and it’s not that difficult. You just need to throw away the spent coffee grounds in the trash and rinse the filter, cylinder, and plunger.
Some of the modern stainless steel French presses are dishwasher safe, however, you don’t need to thoroughly clean it every time. If you are a regular French press user, once a week deep cleaning may be enough to make your brewer last for long.
Q7. Why am I unable to push down the plunger easily?
A. It should not require a lot of pressure to press the plunger down. If it does, you probably have a very fine grind. Brewing in a French Press with very fine grind results in clogging the filter as the liquid cannot pass quickly. Applying too much force can break the seal between the cylinder and filer.
If the seal breaks, the finer grounds will escape the filter and get into the brew. When you drink your coffee, you can feel a muddy grittiness due to the fine grounds.
To get the best results, press the plunger slowly and be patient. Pay attention to the grind and always use a coarse mix to filter them out of your drink easily.
The Final Words
French Press has long been the best-kept secret of coffee connoisseurs around the world. However, its simple learning curve and ease of use have propelled it into the realm of home brewing. You may ask – why French Press when there are automatic drip brewers and sophisticated coffee pods in the market. I would say it’s the experience that makes it so sought after.
There’s a soul healing effect in watching the action take place as water pours into the carafe and smelling the fresh aroma of coffee beans as they bloom and steep in a French Press. It is an experience similar to taking a break to smell the roses and feel the cool breeze on your hair!
If you are a beginner, I would suggest that you start with the basics and then experiment with different adjustments to find that perfect flavor! More than anything else…it’s the joy of savoring rich coffee that is very very French!