Making the Perfect Cup of French Press Coffee at Home
French press coffee is well loved around the world, and with one sip you’ll know why.
It’s rich, boldly flavored, satisfying, and free of the bitterness that often accompanies automatic brewing methods.
The French press itself is a relatively inexpensive coffee maker, but for some reason many think it’s difficult to make good coffee with one at home.
Here’s a guide to making the perfect French press coffee for your palate.
Coffee to Water Ratio
How much water and coffee you use when brewing with a French press will drastically affect your results.
Too much coffee and it will turn out much too strong tasting, while not enough grounds will make a weak cup of java.
If you want to get technical, weigh your coffee in grams and go for a coffee to water mass ratio of 1:15.
This means you’ll need about 65 grams of coffee for each liter of water used.
If you don’t want to weigh out your coffee and water, simply experiment. Grab a tablespoon measure or a coffee scoop.
If using a coffee scoop, keep in mind that it holds two tablespoons of grounds. Add two tablespoons of coffee — or one scoop — for every six ounces of water.
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For instance, if your French press has a 24 ounce capacity and you decide to make a full pot, you’ll need to use four scoops of coffee or eight tablespoons.
After trying out this French press coffee ratio, adjust as needed.
For a more subtle tasting cup, take away a tablespoon of coffee grounds or brew for a shorter time period.
If you’d like a stronger brew, add in a tablespoon more grounds and see if that’s strong enough — if not, add a minute or so to your brewing time as opposed to adding a ton of coffee to your French press.
There’s much debate about grind size among French press lovers. Some feel that you must use coarsely ground coffee, preferably freshly ground with a burr grinder just seconds before use.
The truth is that you can use coarse ground coffee or that made for automatic drip coffee makers — in other words, go ahead and use your favorite off the shelf coffee from the store.
Freshly ground usually equals more flavor, but buy what you can afford. As long as you have a decent quality French press, you won’t end up with a gritty brew.
To avoid a sludgy result, it’s best to avoid espresso size or finely ground coffee. If using coarsely ground coffee, brew between six and eight minutes.
French press coffee made with regular/automatic drip size grounds should brew between three and four minutes.
The smaller the grind size, the less time needed to extract flavor from the coffee.
Because you’ll need to heat water before adding it to your press pot, it’s important that you ensure it’s at the optimal temperature for extracting flavor.
Those who feel that their French press brew is consistently weak in flavor are usually making the mistake of using water that’s not hot enough.
The best temperature to aim for is 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since most people don’t want to bother with hanging a thermometer in a pot to make coffee, bring your water to a boil and then take it off the heat.
After it has sat for 30 seconds, it should be at the right temperature and you can start brewing.