The French Press
The French Press is a traditional method of brewing coffee, creating a rich and full bodied cup with big flavours. This is an easy and consistent way of making great coffee.
It is a full immersion method where the coffee steeps in water for a time. This means it is liable to over extraction if left too long. For this reason, it is important to time your brew to record and ensure your optimum enjoyment.
Brew time | 4-20 minutes
Brew Ratio | 1:10 - 1:17
Water Temp | 90-96C
Remember these are guidelines, experimentation is encouraged.
Boil your water & grind your Coffee
Whilst boiling the water (TDS 80-150ppm), grind your coffee coarse so that it's slightly larger than coarsely ground pepper, or sesame seeds (see picture below). A blade grinder is no good here, it’s important to have the consistency that burrs can provide. We don’t want a fine grind as the filter mesh will let grounds through.
I like to use 10g of coffee for each 100ml of water.
Prepare the 'Bloom'
We now want to prepare the coffee for an even extraction. Drop your coffee into the French Press and tare your scales. Pour double the water to coffee and watch it expand. The hot water activates the grounds to release carbon dioxide, preparing the coffee for a deeper extraction. This is the bloom.
As the water hits the grounds, start the timer.
Give it a stir
Gently stir the coffee ground to ensure there are no dry pockets of coffee. Allow the coffee to wait 30 seconds before the next step.
Fill your press with water
Quickly pour the rest of the water slightly off centre to create a vortex. This ensures all the coffee is re-soaked. Place the lid onto the jug but don’t plunge. Wait till at least 4 minutes.
Stir, Sweep and Press
Remove the lid after the steeping time and give the brew a gentle stir. Most of the grounds will drop here but for those that don’t, scrape them off with a spoon. Place the lid back on and press the plunger about half way to secure it in the press.
Pour and Enjoy
Pour your coffee as and when you want to. You may prefer a shorter immersion time or a longer one depending on how you like your coffee to taste and at what temperature. Bare in mind that if you brew up to 20 minutes, you might want to use less coffee. Decant all coffee if you want to end extraction.
To further experiment with your own preferences, you can keep the timer running and pour a small amount to taste at different intervals. Look out for how the bright (good) acidity becomes muted or sour, how the perception of sweetness changes and if the bitterness becomes more obvious. When the coffee gives you a dry or spiky mouthfeel, it is over extracted.
The French Press has been preheated with hot water and grounds have been added.
Pour the water slightly off centre. This makes a vortex for more even soaking of grounds. Place the lid on top to retain heat but do not plunge.
Remove the lid just before 4 minutes and stir for some last agitation. Some of the floating grounds will sink.
Now scoop off the crema if not wanted. It typically has a bitter/sour taste - try it.
Now press the coffee down at a steady pace. Pour the coffee right away to avoid over extraction.