“I always want to use my French Press!!! Seems complicated though, so it’s still in the box O_o Where should I start?”
- A grouping of a few questions on Twitter
and the blog
Dear Soon-to-be French Press fans, I’ll show you how easy it is.
First thing's first: Take the French Press (sometimes called a press pot) out of the box. Run it through the dishwater and put it into service!
Some people get hung up with thinking that there’s a magic formula of grind size, amount of coffee, and time, but there’s no reason to be worried. The beauty of a French Press is its simplicity. Grind some coffee, pour it in, pour some hot water on top, let it sit for 3-4 minutes, press the plunger down, serve, and enjoy.
But it sounds like you're looking for more specifics to get started.
Grind: If you use the common 32-ounce pot, use 1.75 ounces of coffee ground at “coarse.” If you’re grinding at the store, just ask someone for the coarse setting. On a Bunn (the 1 pound grinder that you still see in grocery stores) it’s called “Electric Perc." If you’re grinding at home and eyeballing the grind – you should be able to see some lighter colored flecks mixed in. That’s still coffee; it’s a part of the bean that would get ground up into smaller pieces with the more common auto grind.
Measurement: If you don’t have a scale to weigh out the grinds, go out and buy one. While scooping your coffee for the French Press won't ruin the experience, scooping is a suboptimal, volumetric way to measure coffee. Why? For example, the same volume of French Roast weighs less than the same volume of, say, Our Blend. That's where weight comes in handy.
If you don’t have a scale, and you don’t want to do some trial and error to find the right ratio, you could start with putting in about 1 ½ inches of grinds at the bottom of the pot.
1. Boil up some water on the stove or from an electric kettle. Once it’s boiling, take it off the burner and set it aside for at least 10-seconds. That will bring the temperature to about 2000 Fahrenheit, which is the optimal temperature to brew coffee.
2. Pour the water into the pot until the “foam” gets to the top of the ring. (See how easy this is?)
3. Set your timer for at least 3-minutes.
4. When it goes off, stir the coffee like this:
5. Then press the plunger down, and - this part is important- leave it in.
6. Now, you can pour your French Pressed coffee in your favorite mug. As studies show, with a nice warm beverage in hand, you’re more likely to be kinder to everyone, so a bonus for all! Keep in mind that unless you have a thermal press pot, the coffee won’t stay hot for long, so just brew enough to drink right away (Or put it in a thermal carafe).
If you think the coffee is too strong, put less coffee in next time, and/or for less time too. If you want it to be stronger, put more coffee in, and/or keep it in there longer. There are no right or wrong choices for coffee to use, though I am partial to darker roast blends. Fair Trade Organic Sumatran Reserve
is very nice in a press pot, too.
Now that you know how it easy it is, you can make a fresh pot anytime you want.