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How To Use a French Press

How To Use a French Press

On Camano, at CICR’s roasting building or by phone, we are frequently asked questions about proper preparation techniques for coffee. One of the most popular brewing methods is using a french press pot. Read on to learn how to use a french press.

An Introduction

The french press is considered by many to be the best way to enjoy the true flavor of the coffee. If there was a college course on coffee, How to use a french press would be in Coffee 101! The preparation of the drink allows more sediment to be included in the beverage, making it a strong, rich, cup of coffee. After brewing, the ground coffee beans remain in contact with the brewed coffee causing the flavor to grow stronger and at some point, turn bitter. It’s generally considered to be “expired” or “old” after 20 minutes or more of contact with the water. One interesting thing about our coffee is that you’ll find the flavor will last well past that 20 minute point due to the extreme smoothness of our high quality, shade-grown, and ethical coffee beans. We still recommend consuming it prior to 20 minutes but if you don’t, don’t throw it out! You may still really enjoy it!

On to the brewing…

Great! Let’s get started. French Press is painless and easy but to cut back any confusion (in case you’ve pulled out that french press in the back of your cupboard and are following along), I’m going to do a numbered list to help guide you through the preparation steps.

How to Use a French Press in 12 Steps

  1. Start a pot of water boiling.
  2. While the water is boiling, it’s time to get your other items accumulated and ready. You’ll need a grinder, a scoop or some utensil for measuring your coffee into the french press, a french press, and a mug or two for the finished product.
  3. Once the water is at a boiling temperature, it’s time to start the process.
  4. Turn off the burner and remove the pot so the water can cool slightly. By the time we are done, it should be very close to the exact temperature we are aiming for.
  5. Grind your coffee beans on your grinder’s coarsest setting.
  6. After grinding, immediately scoop the desire amount of coffee into your french press. (A good starting point is about 8.5 grams of coffee per 4 ounces of water – then adjust to taste).
  7. By this point, your water should be perfect temperature.
  8. Fill the pot up towards the top moving the stream around to saturate all the ground coffee beans. (Make sure and save some space for the plunger mechanism)
  9. Add the top and plunge down slightly to completely submerse all the grounds in the water.
  10. Wait. 2-3 minutes for smaller, personal french presses is a great time and 4 minutes for larger ones. (I personally will err on the side of waiting too long rather than not long enough to make sure I get a good extraction)
  11. It’s time! Slowly and steadily press the plunger down while trying not to let the rod bend or bow.
  12. Serve and enjoy! ~ That’s how to use a french press!

Note: I’m writing this assuming you use a good burr grinder (either flat burr or conical burr). If your coffee comes pre ground coffee beans or you use a small hand grinder, I HIGHLY recommend that you looking into purchasing a burr grinder (for the sake of a good, consistent, fresh grind) and promise you’ll love your coffee all that much more!
It’s really easy! After you do it one or two times, you’ll become a pro and be making it often in the future. While french pressed coffee is very popular, coffee is a wonderful product in that there are so many ways to enjoy it. Each individual finds their own way of enjoying every last drop. Keep your eyes peeled for more “Coffee Making” posts and you’ll be able to brew the perfect cup of coffee no matter what you’re presented with.
Until next time, Press Away!

Dan – CICR

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