Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Brewing Basics: The French Press

A press pot, also known as the French Press, is a coffee brewing method technique that allows the coffee grounds to steep in hot water and then the grounds are “pressed” to the bottom of the French Press. There are many ways to make a press pot, but The I make my press pots with a technique that I believe best showcases the coffee.

You will need:
1.       50 g Coffee beans
2.       A scale
3.       A grinder
4.       Hot water
5.       A French Press

1.  Shine the French Press with a paper towel.

2.  Zero out the scale with a silver cup on top and set to grams. This means to put the cup on the scale, turn it on, and wait for the reading to be zero before adding any beans. If the scale is set on ounces, press the on button a second time before it reads zero to change it to grams.

3.  Weigh out 50 grams of coffee. 

4.  Grind the beans in the ­Bunn grinder on the course setting. Catch the grinds in the press pot without the lid on.

5.  Steep the grinds in hot water (just below boiling) and fill up to the top silver line. I usually let the water kettle whistle at me or get to boiling, and then take the kettle off the stove for 30 seconds to let it cool down.

6.  Start timer and let the grinds bloom. “Bloom” means to let the grinds saturate in the hot water. The picture to the right illustrates what it should look like at this stage.

7.  At one minute, stir the grinds so that they are all wet.

8.  At three minutes, start scraping the top grinds off using  spoons, as pictured below. 

9.  At four minutes, put on the lid and slowly press down.

10. Enjoy.

I took all of the pictures of my co-worker David in action.
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  1. Thank you for sharing this! I love French pressed coffee! I usually let it brew for seven minutes though... :-)

    What are some good coffees to use in the French Press?

  2. @Louise: Thanks so much! Personally, I love PT's Coffee, specifically El Salvador Los Planes, but any Central American coffee would taste great on a French Press. Central American coffees are usually not too strong so they can handle the stout brewing process of a French Press.

    Hope that helps!

  3. What temperature should the water be? Just under boiling?

  4. @Matt, first of all, Hey, cousin. :)Second, yes, thanks for catching that. You want the water to be just under boiling. I usually let my kettle whistle at me and then take it off the stove for about 30 seconds to let it cool.

  5. Why are you taking off the grinds off the top at 3 minutes? I have never heard of this before?

  6. @Anonymous: Taking the grinds off at the top is not a widely practiced step. However, it gives the coffee a cleaner finish. One of the complaints of French presses is the grimy mouth feel. This step reduces that greatly and gives the coffee just an overall better mouth feel and taste.

    But it is just one way to do it, and it is not vital step, just a preference to put icing on the cake so to speak.

    Hope that helps! :)