The French press is one of the simplest coffee-brewing methods. It is also excellent at drawing out a coffee’s oils, capturing flavors and aromas from the beans. Whether you’re a French press aficionado or considering switching to a press from a drip coffee maker, here are a few tips for getting the most out of this brew method.
1. Use a Coarse Grind
French presses fully immerse grinds in water for four minutes, providing a lot more contact between the water and grounds than other brew methods. (In comparison, espresso is usually brewed within 30 seconds.)
To compensate for the lengthy brew time and immersion, you should use a coarse grind when making coffee with a French press.
2. Weigh Your Coffee and Water
The most accurate way to measure coffee and water is by weighing it. Coffees have different densities. For instance, African coffees tend to be denser than South American coffees. Because beans’ densities vary, a volume measurement will not be as accurate as a weight measurement. The only way to ensure you always have the correct coffee-to-water ratio is by weighing out coffee each time you grind it.
The coffee-to-water ratio should be between 1:16 and 1:18. Check out this handy table for common cup sizes!
3. Wet the Grinds First
Instead of immediately filling up the French press once your water is hot, wet the grinds first
and let them stand for 30 seconds. This will allow the coffee to bloom, and give any carbon dioxide that’s in the grinds time to escape so it doesn’t sour your brewed coffee. After the grounds have been damp for 30 seconds, pour the rest of the water.
4. Stir 1 Minute In
Often, all of the grounds will rise to the top and not be fully immersed in the water.
If the grounds rise to the top of the press, give them a good stir 1 minute into the brewing process.
This will direct them back down into the water.
5. Brew for 4 Minutes
French presses should be brewed for 4 minutes. This is the total time from when water hits the coffee. You can use your phone, a kitchen timer or a coffee scale that has a timer to time out 4 minutes.
6. Plunge and Pour
Once your coffee is brewed, press down the plunger. It’s ready to be enjoyed. If you won’t be drinking all of it right away, pour the remainder into a thermal carafe to prevent over-extraction. Sip & Enjoy!
Want to improve your coffee? Check out this article about extraction, and tips to make better coffee!