What is the first beverage you think about when you wake up in the morning? Coffee, isn’t it?
Nothing beats the refreshing aroma and taste of a fresh cup of coffee in the morning as it not only makes you feel alert, but it also helps you start the day on a positive note. And when it comes to making some nice cup of coffee a French press is one of the best brewing methods.
So what makes the French press so exceptional?
Well, it is a simple coffee brewing method that has been in use for close to a century now. But there is still way much more to it than this. Read on to find out what it is all about and how to get the best coffee from your French press.
What is French Press?
If you love coffee and take it every other day, the chances are that you have at least heard of a French press or you already have one.
But what is a French press?
In its most basic definition, it is just a cylindrical plastic or metal pot with a plunger and a built-in metal mesh filter.
This simple device presses water through some ground coffee beans to create a perfect cup of coffee. And since you immerse the coffee in the water this method is immersion brewing which is different from the drip brewing that other brewers use.
Using this method to steep your coffee ensure that it preserves all the flavors. And it also makes it easy to choose the strength of your coffee by altering the coffee grind to water ratio.
How to Use a French Press
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What Type of Coffee Should I Use for My French Press?
Now that you have that new French press, what type of coffee should you use with it?
If you have been using one but do not like the taste of your coffee, the problem might be in the choice of beans. The first and most important thing to note is that a French press will require a special grind to provide the remarkable coffee. This grind is coarser than what you use on regular coffeepots. And so you should not buy the pre-ground beans for your French press.
Since the flavor extraction will depend on getting a maximum surface area for the water to interact with the coffee, a coarse grind is the best coffee for French press. Buying a simple grinder for grinding the coffee beans just before brewing your cup is the best way to ensure you get the grind right. Yes, it is an extra cost, but it is a small price to pay to get some tasty brew every morning.
Although you can use the French press with any coffee beans type, some particular types produce the best flavors. Dark-roasted and medium beans work the best for French press. And this is because most of their oils are intact and this means that you will get a brew with subtle flavors.
So what should you use for your French press?
When it comes to the best coffee kinds for use with a French press, Colombia Jo, Indonesian and Ethiopian coffees seem to be the most popular.
How to Brew a French Press
Do you have a French press? If so, how do you make your brew? Are you satisfied with the taste or you always feel that there is still something that is not right? Owning a French press is one thing and using it to make an excellent brew is another.
Imagine this, you buy an expensive French press but you still always drink lousy coffee. Sounds annoying, doesn’t it? But you do not have to go through the horrible coffee episodes since you can make a perfect brew in 5 simple steps.
So let’s get started with the steps.
Heating water sounds obvious, doesn’t it?
It might be, but it is one of the most important steps when making French press brew since the coffee is up to 99% water. But before you get to the heating part it is important that you first distill your water.
Can’t one just use water straight from the tap? Yes, you can, but you will not get the best-tasting coffee. Regular tap water will have traces of different minerals that can affect the taste of your brew.
When it comes to heating your water, you should get it to a temperature of between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that you do not heat the water to the boiling point because this will scald the grounds and make your coffee bitter.
And you do not want to ruin your morning cup of coffee, do you?
It is always a good idea to grind your coffee just before you use it on your French press. And the amount that you use will depend on the quantity of coffee you intend to make, the capacity of your French press and most importantly the strength you want.
If you are not sure of the brew strength that you wish to have, you should always start by grinding about 3 tablespoons of coffee to make around 3 cups (300ml) of mild strength coffee.
Although this is an optional step, any coffee lover will tell you that it can have some impact on the taste of your brew. And for this, you can use some of your hot water. Also, warming up the French press can help to wash out dust if you have not used it for some time.
Fill it with hot water to about 1/4 of its capacity and then put the top back. You should then press down the plunger as you would when brewing and finish by swirling the hot water around for a few seconds.
Now to the most crucial step. Start by adding the coffee to the French press beaker. After this, you can add a small amount of water and then use a spoon to mix it with the coffee before adding the rest of the hot water. Some people will also prefer to add all the water at a go.
How do you do it or what do you prefer?
There does not seem to be a lot of difference between the two methods, and so it is all up to your preferences. The chances are that you can already smell the coffee at this point. But it is still not ready. The next step is to steep it for exactly 4 minutes. And for this, you should use a timer or your phone to track the time.
The last step and equally important is to plunge the coffee grounds. You should do this immediately after the four minutes. And to do this, you only need to push the plunger all the way down.
Lastly, pour your coffee into a separate carafe or mugs, and it is ready to drink. Easy, isn’t it?
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Secret Barista Hacks to Improve Your French Press Brew
Now that you know the best coffee for French press and how to make the perfect brew here are some barista hacks to make your brew taste even better.
- Pre-warming your French press is always a good idea because it will ensure that the water does not lose a lot of the heat during the brewing and extraction process.
- Do not cover your press as the coffee is steeping. Leaving it open ensures that the grounds release trapped gasses uniformly and this is what coffee lovers and experts will refer to as “bloom”. Doing this will, in turn, improve the flavor of your brew.
- Scraping up as much of the cake that forms at the top of the brew once you add water can improve the brewing and also prevent stray particles from ending up in your cup. You can do this with a wooden or metal spoon but make sure that you do not overdo it.
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Common Mistakes Most People Will Make When Brewing French Press Coffee
The French press is one of the most classic methods of brewing coffee and hate it or love it; this simple device can produce a great cup of coffee. But, the beauty of it is the simplicity because you can have a perfect brew in just a few minutes.
Do you want to perfect your French press brew?
If so make sure you avoid the following 3 common mistakes:
Grinding is vital when making coffee, and so you have to get it right. For French press, the most important thing is to get coarse and even grind, but many people tend to overlook this fact. If the grounds are too coarse, you will not have any resistance pushing the plunger down, and when they are too fine, you will have a hard time moving the plunger down.
The coffee to water ratio is the key to making the perfect French press brew. And so it is essential to make sure that you get the ratio right.
So what is the right coffee to water ratio?
It depends on the strength that you want, but the golden rule is to have 1 gram of coffee grind for every 10 grams of water.
Even when you push the French press plunger all the way to the bottom, it will still be brewing. And so leaving the coffee grounds in the press means you will end up with some bitter or over-extracted coffee.
Well, now you know how to make the best French press coffee, and so you should never settle for anything less. And yes, it is that simple and quick. Go ahead and make a few cups using the steps above and you will never want to skip your morning coffee again. To sum up, also remember to pick the best coffee for French press from the many kinds out there.