Although it’s not as convenient as an espresso machine that grinds and pours at the press of a button, a French Press is relatively fast, easy to use, and produces a tasty cup of coffee! By varying the amount / type of beans you use, the coarseness of the grind, the temperature of the water, and the soak time, you can maticulassly fine-tune your French Press brewing method for an end product that delivers on all fronts. Some folks use their French Presses to make cold brews, while others use nothing but fresh dark roasts for an outstanding tannin, oil, and resin content that offers a rich / nutty flavor. No matter how you take your coffee, a French Press can make it. Here are our thoughts on the best French Press methods, recipes, and raios!
Ideally, you want to use freshly-roasted whole beans with a French Press. Some say that French Presses over-extract the coffee, but with precision and a bit of care, you can avoid over extraction. As far as Wander beans go, the Wilder and Teruko blends are both excellent choices, and so too are single origins.
The Best Grind For A French Press
A coarse grind works best for the French Press, as it prevents the siltyness that occurs when fine grounds slip past the filter. Grind size can also help to prevent over-extraction, which helps to reduce bitterness.
A finer grind doesn’t necessarily give you a stronger coffee, and not all grinds are created equally. Instead of “chopping” your beans into little pieces like a standard blade grinder does, burr grinders use abrasive surfaces to produce a more consistent and uniform grind.
Coffee-To-Water Ratio For A French Press
The “Golden Ratio” of coffee to water for a French Press is 1:16. That being said, however, a ratio of 1:14 might be preferred by those who don’t like their coffee as strong.
Optimal Brew Time For A French Press
The standard brew time for a French Press is around 4 minutes. This can be adjusted, however, depending on the roast level of your beans. A brew time of 3.5 minutes works well with darker roasts, while a brew time of 4.5 minutes is great for lighter roasts.
Water Temperature For A French Press
When using a French Press, it is best to let your boiled water stand for a few seconds before pouring, as boiling water tends to over-extract the grounds and leaves you with a bitter-tasting coffee. If you pour from a gooseneck kettle immediately “off boil”, the water temperature will drop significantly by the time it makes it through the spout. Alternatively, there are a variety of long-spout electric pots that are thermostatically controlled and can be set for the ideal temperature for any given pour over method, including a French Press. Not only do these work with coffee, but they’re also great for tea as well! For the French Press, you should be aiming for around 200 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 degrees Celsius.
1. Place the French Press pot on a dry, flat surface. Hold the handle firmly, then remove the plunger.
2. Pre-heat / wash the pot with boiling water
3. Add freshly-ground beans at a ratio of 1:16 coffee to water. So for 1 cup of coffee, 20 grams of ground beans and 300-320 grams of water works swimmingly
4. Pour 40 grams of hot water— between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit —into the pot, and gently stir
5. Let bloom for 30 seconds
6. Pour in more hot water until you hit the final 300-320 grams
7. Carefully reinsert the plunger into the pot, stopping just below the surface of the water so that the grounds are completely submerged (do not plunge yet), and let stand for 4 minutes
8. Press the plunger down slowly, exerting steady pressure, and then pour the coffee into a cup / mug to enjoy.
*After each use, wash the pot with water and mild detergent, ensuring to dry thoroughly
If you want a coffee maker that’ll double as decoration, the Bodum Chambord is a pretty slick unit. And if you want to make larger batches for several people, larger French Presses exist for just that purpose.
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all brewing methodology for the French Press, it’s easy to start with the standard recipe and alter it as needed. Some people break the crust and scrape off the floating bits at the four-minute mark, then steep for another six minutes or so. Other people never push the filter down, simply leaving it on top to act as a strainer. Adjusting the water-to-coffee ratio will alter the strength, so it’s easy to add more grounds or less water for varying levels of flavor / aroma. And if cold coffee is what you’re after, it’s super easy to make a strong batch with a French Press that then becomes diluted to the perfect level after being poured on ice!