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Blog: Say Oui! to the French Press

Blog: Say Oui! to the French Press

Although some coffee lovers find the French press a bit intimidating, the iconic coffee brewer isn't actually tricky to master at all. The glass-and-chrome pot is low-tech, classy and feels artisanal in its simplicity. Best of all, it brews rich, flavorful coffee in just a few minutes with easy cleanup. If you've been scared away by previous attempts that turned out oily or bitter, we can help.

First, a bit of history
A Frenchman is believed to have invented the first press pot for coffee—which used a screen attached to a rod to force coffee grounds down in the pot—although the first patent was granted to an Italian designer in the early 1930s. The brewing method gained popularity throughout the second half of the 20th century.

    What You Need
  • French press – The most common design is a glass carafe in a chrome holder. The capacity listed can be a bit misleading. For example, a French press marked "8-cup" holds about 34 oz and yields approximately 4 typical size mugs of coffee.
  • Water
  • Heat source for boiling water
  • Coffee – Use 1/2 cup of beans (measure before grinding) for every 4 cups of water
  • Long-handled spoon for stirring

8 Easy Steps to Tasty French Press Coffee
If you're new to using a French press, start with these basics. Once you feel comfortable, try experimenting with different coffee roast types, brew lengths and other variables to perfect your cup.

  1. Measure coffee beans: Use about 1/2 cup of beans per 4 cups of water.
  2. Grind beans on coarse: Aim for big, evenly sized grains of coffee that resemble breadcrumbs. A burr grinder is ideal for this, versus a blade grinder. Either way, use the coarsest setting available. If the grounds are too fine, they'll sneak through the filter, leaving sediment in your cup and a bitter taste in your mouth.
  3. Pour the grounds into the French press.
  4. Heat the water (4 cups for a 32 oz. French press) to boiling, then remove from heat for about 1 minute. Pour into the French press.
  5. Stir to mix the grounds and water.
  6. Steep for about 4 minutes.
  7. Press the plunger down gently. If it starts to "stick", raise it back up a little and try again.
  8. Pour a cup and enjoy!

Use a Carafe: If you're not going to drink the coffee immediately, don't leave it in the French press, because it will continue to sit on the grounds and get bitter. Pour coffee into a thermal carafe to keep it hot.

Afterward, simply wash the glass carafe and plunger. You don't need to take the plunger completely apart each time you wash it, but do disassemble it periodically to ensure thorough cleaning.

TIP! Chill out with cold brew from your French press
You can also use a French Press to make cold brew coffee concentrate. Simply use cold water instead of hot, and let it sit about 12 hours rather than a few minutes. This will create a cold coffee "concentrate" that can be used to make cold coffee drinks or diluted with hot water to make a regular cup of coffee.

Looking to purchase a French Press? Check out our Accessories Page to see what we have available.


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