The French Press gives the impression of being the ‘fanciest’ method for making coffee. You know your host is a true coffee lover if they whip out the French Press in the morning. Using a French Press takes a bit of patience, and a bit of know-how, but once you’ve perfected your method, it yields a fantastic cup of coffee, with far richer flavor than you would find with a drip coffee brewer.
The reason a French Press provides stronger coffee and more depth of flavor is because the coffee is being steeped, rather than filtered. The water is in contact with the grinds longer than with a drip brewer, which provides optimum extraction. In addition, since there is no paper filter in place with a French Press, you don’t lose any of the elements of the coffee beans: oils come through, along with tiny particles. These particles and oils lend excellent depth of flavor to the final cup. A French Press can brew any kind of coffee, but if you’re aiming to impress, try one of our Organic Coffees.
Don’t be intimidated to try a French Press yourself! Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when perfecting your French Press Method:
Mistake #1: Using inconsistent measurements. Use the same measuring implements for your water and coffee grinds every time. You are welcome to play around with the ratio of water to coffee grinds as you are discovering how to make your coffee just the way you like it, but once you’re done experimenting, consistency is key to a good cup!
Mistake #2: Using Too-Hot Water. Heat your water to just boiling. Overheated water will lead to bitter coffee. More heat= more oxidation= bitter, burnt flavor.
Mistake #3: Rushing the Process. Wait the full five minutes for proper extraction. If you are precise, your coffee will taste consistent and delicious every time!
Mistake #4: Grinding your Coffee too Fine. You want the coarsest grind available for French Press in order to avoid drinking sludge. Remember, there is no paper filter, so anything too fine will over-extract and end up in your final cup. Yuck!
Mistake #5: Plunging too Hard. When plunging, press slowly and gently! Plunging too quickly can agitate your coffee grinds, leading to extraction of bitter flavors. When you reach the bottom, resist the urge to give one final strong press… you don’t need to push the last bit of flavor out of the grinds- the brewing took care of that (and you definitely don’t want to break your press!)
Follow these simple steps (remembering to avoid the 5 Big Mistakes listed above) to make coffee using your French Press:
- Heat water to just boiling
- Add about 25% of your hot water (should fill about an inch or two in the bottom of the press)
- Measure your grinds to taste- a decent ratio is 1 heaping TBS coffee to 6 oz water
- Add grinds to water in press
- Swirl gently to mix
- Pour remaining water to mix and bring to final volume
- Put lid onto French Press and allow to steep for about five minutes
- Slowly plunge and pour your cup of coffee! (if you are saving some for later, pour the remaining coffee into a different container, otherwise the grinds will continue to extract.)