Perhaps you’re one of those people who can’t function normally in the morning without sipping a cup of Joe first. You may be an owner of a basic drip or an Aero Press coffee maker, and you’ve been enjoying it. However, a coffee lover would sometimes want to try something new. Many people adore their coffee press and wouldn’t dream of making their coffee without it. Why not try out this method and see what the fuss is all about?
Coffee makers with a plunger, such as a French press, might seem a bit intimidating at first as it requires a little more effort. Fortunately, it’s way easier to use than you think. A coffee press also wouldn’t cost much as compared to a whole new coffee machine, so you can probably afford to get one and try it out.
Also, it’s worth the extra effort. Since you’d be using coffee grounds that are directly immersed in hot water as it brews, French press coffee makers tend to make a richer, smoother, and more flavorful cup of coffee. It also retains the natural oils of the coffee that is typically absorbed by the paper filters in most automatic coffee makers. If you love a strong cup of coffee, the French press works best.
While most folks with a busy schedule would prefer their pre-programmed machines for their morning cup, using a coffee press also allows you to enjoy the procedure. Coffee making could be an immersive, almost meditative experience when you use a coffee press.
Of course, you have to know how to use it in the right manner, so let’s get cracking. Here are some tips and tricks on how you should use a French coffee press for your morning coffee:
1. Get fresh coffee beans
It won’t matter how you brew your coffee if your coffee is of low quality. There’s nothing wrong about waking up and walking to your cupboard to reach for ground coffee you bought from the supermarket, but we know that there’s a much better coffee option out there. Fresh is always best.
When you know you deserve the best, make sure to pick freshly roasted coffee beans that look a little oily and smell aromatic. Keep them fresh by storing them in an airtight container and grind them just right before brewing. They might come a little more expensive than the pre-ground variety and require more effort. However, we promise that the resulting cup will be more than worth it!
2. Measure the coffee beans
When it comes to the coffee-to-water ratio, there’s no specific rule to follow. It all depends on how strong you want your coffee to be. Still, here’s a general guideline in terms of proportion in case you’re an absolute beginner or want to refresh your memory:
- 1 cup of water (1 serving) – 2 tablespoon coffee beans
- 2 cups of water (2 servings) – ¼ cup coffee beans
- 4 cups of water (4 servings) – ½ cup coffee beans
- 8 cups of water (8 servings) – 1 cup of coffee beans
Start from these measurements, adding more if you like it stronger or decrease the amount of coffee beans if you want milder coffee. Take note that the coffee beans are measured before grinding them up. If you’re using pre-ground coffee, you’ll have to eyeball the measurements since there would then be more coffee in one cup.
3. Grind the beans yourself
After measuring the required amount of coffee beans, use a coffee grinder to get them ready for the coffee press. There are a lot of decent coffee grinders at major retail stores, coffee shops, and online shops. A burr grinder is the best choice for uniform extraction, as it can grind the beans into fine breadcrumb-size pieces, which is the ideal size of ground coffee beans for producing the best flavor possible.
Even if you don’t have a coffee grinder on hand and don’t want to invest in one just yet, you can grind in brief, sharp pulses using a blade grinder. Make sure to stop every couple seconds to invert the grinder and give it a sharp shake, all while holding on to the lid. Be warned, this method can give you rough and coarse coffee beans, but at least they’d still be evenly-sized. After grinding, pour the grounds into the French press.
4. Heat the water to boil, and then let it cool for one minute
While grinding, you can heat water in a stovetop or electric kettle. Bring it to a boil, and then let it sit for thirty seconds. The perfect temperature would be within the 200F to 298F range. If the temperature is too high, the heat will draw unwanted elements out of the grounds, which can make your coffee bitter. If it’s too low, you won’t enjoy a hot cup of coffee.
5. Fill up the coffee press
Once the grounds are at the bottom of your French press, pour a little water so that the grounds are covered by just an inch of it. Let it sit for about 30 seconds, then add the remaining water and give it a stir using a long spoon. Make sure all the coffee grounds are fully saturated with water for a flavorful brew. After that, you can put on the lid. It’s finally time for the coffee to brew!
6. Start your timer
Get your timer and let the grounds steep for 4 minutes for a robust brew. This is the recommended brewing time for most coffee presses. If you prefer a stronger coffee, let the coffee brew for up to 6 minutes. Brew it for a shorter time if you like it milder, but it might be a good idea to experiment with different times in order to get that perfect flavor. If you keep the grounds brewing for too long, the coffee will end up bitter; if it’s too soon, then it will taste bland.
7. Plunge the press
When the time is up, gently but firmly press the plunger all the way down to the bottom. Be careful, as putting too much pressure can cause the hot coffee to spray out and onto you.
8.Pour into a cup and drink up
When using a French press, it’s best to consume your brewed coffee immediately. Don’t let it sit around in the coffee maker all morning since it will keep brewing. Eventually, you’d get an awfully bitter cup out of it. If you have any leftovers, pour them all out into another mug or thermos. Alternatively, you can brew just the needed amount of coffee next time.
Types of French Press Carafes
The main part of a French press or coffee press is the carafe. These are usually made from a certain type of glass, but they also come in several other materials now. You can pick and choose one according to your preference. Let’s take a look at what coffee presses are made of these days:
- Borosilicate Glass: This is a special kind of glass that has certain substances such as boron trioxide and silica in it. The composition here serves to make the carafe resistant to any kind of thermal shock. With normal glass, you might run the risk of it breaking due to high temperatures, especially when you pour boiling water inside. Any glass bakeware is likely made of this kind of glass. While it’s an excellent option for coffee presses, the fact remains that it’s still delicate and will probably break if dropped.
- Stainless Steel: If you’re looking for a coffee press that’s durable and portable, stainless steel is the most logical choice. Such presses usually come with a vacuum seal and a double-walled construction. Along with brewing your coffee, they’ll also keep it hot for several hours. You can choose between brushed and polished finishes, whichever suits your tastes.
- Ceramic or Stoneware: This is a more unusual choice for coffee presses, but they’re quite popular for their beautiful appearance. You can choose from a variety of colors with this option, though the price would probably be a bit higher than average. On the upside, they’re also likely to be heat-resistant and safe for the dishwasher. Unfortunately, these are also breakable, so don’t take them along while traveling!
- Plastic: This might be a surprising option, but still a safe one if the plastic is BPA-free. The usual type of plastic used for French press carafes is SAN, which can take on very high temperatures without the dangers of leaching toxins or melting.
The Best Coffee Presses Out There
If you’re convinced to try out a coffee press by now, it’s time to start looking at the various options out there. Luckily, there are several kinds of coffee presses available for purchase on Amazon right away, so you don’t even have to leave home to get that amazing coffee experience. We’ve selected some of the top options below:
If you require the standard pot of 51 ounces on a regular basis, this coffee press is probably your best bet. It has that classic glass and steel construction, while the plastic handle is both BPA-free and heat-safe. What’s more, the carafe is made of borosilicate glass which is resistant to breaking due to high heat. This means that you can have your coffee as hot as you like it without worrying about damaging anything.
The mesh filter is in three parts here, which means you get all of the flavors without any grainy ground. Fortunately, the carafe and frame are both dishwasher safe, which makes cleanup quite easy. You can also choose the color that goes best with your kitchen.
However, you should consider the amount of experimentation it takes to get the perfect ratio for your cup. It’s best to clean the whole thing after each brew in order to maintain a fresh flavor. Even a tiny difference in your ratios could make a huge difference in the resulting cup, so be careful!
Le Creuset is a well-known company for all types of kitchenware, so you might want to invest here for the same quality. This French press has the same beautiful enameled construction and bold colors that the brand is famous for. If you have a lot of Le Creuset pieces in your kitchen already, this one will fit right in!
Fortunately, the enamel here is not easy to crack or chip, so this stoneware option is quite an impressive one. It’s different from the usual standard of stainless steel and glass for French presses and costs a fair bit more as well. However, it’s still much cheaper than an automatic coffee maker and is also dishwasher-safe.
This coffee maker is of German make, which should tell us a lot about the high quality and solid construction. It has a shock-resistant glass carafe, a stainless steel frame, and several accessories to make your experience easier. These include a long stainless steel spoon, a recipe book, and a coffee scoop.
You can brew around 8 cups of coffee in one go with this classic option, while there are no less than four filters installed here. This will help to keep the ground out of your cup without absorbing any of the flavor from the coffee beans. You might have to wing it in order to get the perfect amount of water, but that seems to be the main hurdle.
Choosing the best coffee press shouldn’t be too hard, but learning how to make the perfect cup might be a bit challenging. There are several benefits and advantages to using French presses, so read up on them to mutate yourself. Here’s hoping you enjoy that rich, velvety cup very soon!