There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways to make coffee. You can make coffee in a percolator, Moka pot, a drip coffee maker, espresso machine, or in an Aeropress. All of these different methods have their pros and cons, but our favorite way of brewing coffee is to use a French press.
For those of you who may not be familiar with French presses, it’s a device that uses a tube of some sort and a coffee plunger that’s used to extract the essences out of coffee grounds. It’s a way of making coffee that gives the user the exact control over the brewing process that they need to make the best cup of coffee. That’s why we’re such big fans of them.
Making coffee in a French press does require the coffee aficionado to not only have the right tools to get the job done, but also the right skills. To help all of our readers determine whether or not using a French press is right for them, we’re going to cover how to make French press coffee that you’ll love. So without further ado, let’s begin our little tutorial, shall we?
Making The Best French Press Coffee
We thought carefully about how we should organize this article, but we think the best way is to start by advising our readers of the tools they will need to brew French press coffee and then move on to the actual technique. Using the following techniques and tools, the consumer can expect it to take approximately 7-10 minutes to brew a cup of morning coffee.
Step One: Gather The Necessary Accessories
The first step is to have the right tools available before you begin the brewing process. Below are some of the things that you’re going to need.
- A Measuring Cup
- A Measuring Spoon
- 6-Tablespoons or 3-Ounces Of Ground Coffee
- 3.5-Cups Of Filtered Water
- A Hot Water Kettle
- A Thermometer
- A French Press
- A Timer
- A Burr Coffee Grinder (Optional)
Step Two: Grind And Dose Out The Coffee
The first step to making great coffee with a French press is to grind your coffee beans using a coffee grinder. When grinding coffee for this brewing method, it’s important to use a medium or dark roast coffee and to use a coarse grind. A coarse grind prevents the coffee from becoming bitter through the brewing process. If you prefer not grinding your coffee beans, then feel free to choose a French press coffee—meaning, a coffee that’s either specifically made to be used in French presses, or one that’s medium or dark roasted.
Step Three: Heat Your Water
In your favorite hot water or tea kettle, begin heating 3.5-cups of either filtered or distilled water. You will want to avoid using tap water because tap water can contain impurities and chlorine that can alter the taste of the coffee negatively. When the water has reached a temperature of 190-195 degrees Fahrenheit, then it’s ready to be used.
Step Four: Add The Coffee Grounds & Pre-Wet Them
The next step is to add your 6-Tablespoons of ground coffee to your French Press and then add 1.5-cups of hot water to it. Make sure that you wet all of the grounds with that amount of water. Set your timer for 60-seconds as the coffee begins to bloom. After the minute has elapsed, give the grounds a good stir with your measuring or coffee spoon.
Step Five: Add More Water & Steep
After the coffee has bloomed and been stirred, it’s now time to add the rest of the hot water that’s left. If you measured it out correctly, that should be another 2.5-cups of hot water. Make sure to give the water and grounds another good stir. Once it’s stirred, place the lid on the French press but don’t push down on the plunger just yet. No, now’s the time to brew, so set your timer for 6-minutes and then wait.
Step Six: Press The Coffee Grounds
Now it’s time to put the press into French Press. Slowly press down the plunger until it has reached the bottom of the French press. Make sure to use a smooth, slow motion to ensure that all of that coffee goodness is extracted from the coffee grounds. Once that’s been done, be sure to immediately serve the coffee. You can serve it in individual cups or decant it if you wish.
Tips For Making Better French Press Coffee
Since we’ve covered the basics of making this type of coffee, we would like to now offer our readers some advice that may help them make a better cup of French press coffee. Although all of the following recommendations are just that, recommendations, we do believe that if you take them under advisement, then you’ll end up with a better-tasting cup of coffee.
Tip One: Buy A Scale
One of the biggest tips we can give our readers is to invest in an accurate scale. Although you can use Tablespoons as your way of measurement, we feel that weighing out the equivalent ounces makes for better consistency. Just remember that 2-Tablespoons equals 1 dry-ounce and you can covert just about any French press method more accurately.
Tip Two: Grind Your Own Coffee Beans
This tip is really two tips in one. Not only do we recommend that you grind your coffee beans to achieve the best and freshest tasting coffee, but we also recommend that you invest in a quality coffee grinder. We recommend a high-quality burr grinder that can be set to one of several different coarseness levels, so you can find the coarseness level that’s best for your coffee.
Tip Three: Use The Best Quality Possible
We know that we covered this briefly while we were explaining the process of brewing French press coffee, but we can’t emphasize just how important it is to start with quality water. Filtered or distilled water will always produce the best results when brewing not only French press coffee but any coffee. Chlorine, metals, and impurities that can be found in tap water can make the coffee taste really bad. Now we’re not saying that you have to put in an expensive filtration system to achieve better quality water. No, in most cases, you can just use a filtered carafe or pitcher, or even one of those filters that screw on the tap. Either one will greatly improve the water’s taste.
Tip Four: Don’t Use Boiling Water
Since we’re talking about water, we should also mention that the water temperature also affects how the French press coffee turns out. If the water is boiling (212-degrees Fahrenheit) it will produce a terrible tasting coffee. The best water temperature for French press brewing is approximately 190 to 195-degrees Fahrenheit. You can even go up in temperature to the 200-degree Fahrenheit range, but we don’t recommend exceeding that level. For the best coffee, 190 to 195-degrees is perfect.
Tip Five: Warm-Up The French Press & Coffee Cups
This step is some next-level coffee brewing, but it does make a difference when you’re brewing coffee. Make sure that you “prime” your French press, as well as your coffee cups, so they’re warm when you begin brewing coffee. You can prime them by placing boiling water in them for about 30-seconds and then dumping this water out before brewing.
Priming will ensure that the French press and the cups are warm when the brewing process begins. This may seem strange, but it does help prevent the coffee from losing temperature too quickly during the brewing process. It’s not a necessary step, but it does make for better coffee.
Tip Six: Use The Right Amount Of Coffee
We can’t emphasize just how important it is to use the right amount of coffee grounds for French press brewing. If you don’t use enough, then the coffee is going to be too weak, and if you use too much, then it’s going to be too strong. Be sure to keep the water to coffee grounds ratio within a reasonable range to ensure a proper brew strength.
Tip Seven: Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
There’s one last tip that we’d like to give all of our readers before concluding this article. This piece of advice is that you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment a little bit with your French press. Make the French press coffee your own and decide what suits your tastes the best. Try out different types of coffee, play around with the water temperature or brew time a little bit. You should even feel free to experiment with the coffee ground dosage. No French press recipe is written in stone, so feel free to experiment. Remember, this is your coffee, so feel free to make it the way you like it.