The French Press: It’s as popular as it is misunderstood, and even neglected. Although the French Press has fallen out of favor as the go-to brew method amongst coffee nerds and coffee bars, it still holds a special place in our hearts (and in most kitchen’s, too).
BEFORE WE GET STARTED
We know the French Press isn’t perfect – sediment-heavy coffee, sometimes murky flavors – but it’s one of the most common brew devices on the market, and frequently wins the “coffee brewer most likely to be found in a kitchen cupboard of almost any home” award. Given the overwhelming popularity of this brewing method, it seems ridiculous to omit it from a brew guide. Honestly, we’d choose a well-made French Press cup over a poorly brewed Chemex or v60 every day of the week.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
1. Your Favorite Casa Brasil Coffee (Whole Bean)
2. French Press
3. Burr Grinder
5. Stir Stick (or anything to stir the coffee – a spoon works well)
7. Scale (optional)
8. Thermometer (optional)
Before you get started, make sure you do the following:
- Clean the French Press: Take a look at the plunger and the screen — these are common places where coffee oil residues begin to accumulate. If hot, soapy water and scrubbing doesn’t do the trick, consider buying a bottle of Cafiza; it’s formulated to break down the oils in coffee, and works wonders on dirty coffee gear.
- Buy a refillable jug of filtered water from a nearby grocery store: Unless you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that has amazing tap water (Mt. Shasta, for example), you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the noticeably better quality of your coffee when using quality water. Avoid distilled water, though; its total lack of mineral content makes it a poor choice for coffee brewing.
We’re fans of using a scale to make coffee; it allows us to consistently achieve a proper brew ratio. If you don’t have a scale, don’t stress: We’ve listed the measurements by volume, too – look at the end of this post to find measurements by weight and volume.
1. Measure coffee and grind on a “coarse” setting. The coffee should be noticeably coarser than what you’d use for drip/filter brewing.
2. If you’re using a scale, empty the ground coffee into the French Press (with the top/plunger assembly removed), set it on the scale, and tare to “0 grams.” If you’re not using a scale, measure the water by volume before heating it.
3. Wait until the water reaches 204-206º Fahrenheit. (No thermometer? This usually happens about a minute after removing it from boiling.)
4. Start your timer and add the proper weight of water to the ground coffee. Pour in a manner that saturates all of the ground coffee. If you don’t have a kitchen timer, use the timer on your smartphone. If you’re a smart phone holdout, we salute you – but you are going to need a timer.
5. At 1:00, give the coffee a stir. Notice the crust that has formed at the top of the coffee – be sure to re-submerge these with the stirring.
6. At around 3:45, use a spoon to skim the pale brown foam that has accumulated on the surface of the coffee. (Note: While this step is optional, we highly recommend it.)
7. Place the lid on the pot and press slowly. Around 4:30, complete the brew by decanting the pot. Leaving brewed coffee in the pot with ground coffee at the bottom will lead to a bitter, over-extracted cup.
Common Brew Recipes:
Here are some common ratios of water to grounds for French Press brewing. If you’re looking to fill a 1L French press, use the 30 oz (851 g) recipe.
12oz (340g) water: 4tbs (23g) ground coffee
16oz (454g) water: 5tbs (30g) ground coffee
24oz (681g) water: 7.5tbs (46g) ground coffee
30oz (851g) water: 9.5tbs (57g) ground coffee