Your Guide to Making the Best French Press Coffee
Coffee is complex. You can be introduced to coffee repeatedly through instant, a coffee house chain, or the coffee pot at work and be convinced that it’s horrible. But when someone makes it right or takes you to a place that appreciates the fine craft of coffee, suddenly your opinion changes. A whole new culture is opened to you and you’re wanting to learn more.
And hopefully, it doesn’t get to you and turn you into a coffee snob.
For years I was introduced to coffee through coffee chains that made it dark and bitter for people needing a caffeine high and wasn’t impressed. Then of course someone had to take me to a real non-manufactured coffee house and introduce me to what real coffee tasted like. Which sent me off curious about how I could recreate the same experience without spending five bucks every day.
And thus I was introduced to the French Press. It wasn’t too complex or intimidating for a beginner, and it promised an amazing cup of coffee.
So with a few experimentations on the best grind and techniques to use, I was able to create my own coffee house experience and share it with others.
So here’s your guide to a great brew!
When looking for a great coffee brand, you’ll most likely find that freshly ground coffee beans are preferred to pre-ground. The taste is the most complex and fresh.
I’ve found many of Trader Joe’s coffee beans to be a great place to start (the Kenyan is one of my favorites), but if there’s not one near you, there are still plenty of great options at your local store.
You’ll want to grind them just before you use them. Now many people suggest that you need to grind them coarsely (the consistency of coarse salt) for a French press.
Now I may be wrong, but I haven’t been able to get the best flavor out of my coffee when doing this. I prefer to grind it a bit finer as to get a more bold taste, but you can try either way and see which taste you’re more partial to.
Now the size of your French press will determine how much coffee grounds you use. I have an eight cup (32 oz.) French press which actually holds 4 cups of water. For French presses, a cup is actually a half cup (strange measuring I know), hence why the eight is really four. We use Francois et Mimi; it’s a great brand and has served us well…and many cups of coffee.
For this size, I use 3-4 tablespoons of ground coffee, but if you have a smaller size, such as a 4 cup French press, you’ll use two unless you like it strong. Again, it all depends on how you prefer your brew, so experimentation is suggested.
Now comes the “blooming” process. It sounds like a fancy culinary term, but it really isn’t too complex.
You’ll boil the water in a kettle or water heater, then let it sit for 30 seconds to a minute before pouring (to make sure the coffee doesn’t turn out bitter) a small amount over the the grounds. You’ll want to get a nice mixture (stir if needed) and let it sit for a minute. This is the blooming process, let me explain.
When you let the grounds sit in a small amount of water (as opposed to pouring it all in and having the grounds float on top), it extracts more of the coffee flavor giving it a more robust quality. The thick foam that forms after a minute is why it’s called a bloom.
Once the minute is over, pour the rest of the water into the French press and let it sit for 3-4 minutes. If you like a stronger more bold flavor, you can let it sit for 5-8 minutes.
Once that time is done (you can use the timer on your phone to help you keep track), take the plunger and slowly (as to get the best flavor) press it down until you reach the bottom.
Then pour and enjoy a well-brewed cup of coffee!
Adjust the amount of grounds depending on your taste and find what suits you. French press coffee is just as much of an experience as it is a pick-me-up.
- 4 cups of water
- 3-4 tablespoons of coarsely or more finely ground coffee
- While water is boiling over the stove, grind your coffee to a desired consistency, then place at the bottom of the French Press.
- Once water comes to a boil, let it sit with the heat off for a minute, then pour a small amount over the grounds (stir if needed) and let it oxidize for one minute.
- Once the minute is done, pour the rest of the water slowly over the grounds and let it sit for another 3-4 minutes. Then take the plunger and press it slowly down until it firmly reaches the bottom.
- Pour and enjoy a great cup of coffee!
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