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Specialty Coffee Blog by Volcanica Coffee

How to Brew in a French Press (Impress in a French Press)

by Maurice Contreras 26 Jan 2021 0 Comments

As one of the most widely used methods of brewing coffee, the French press can produce a beautiful cup with strong notes that highlight your coffee’s character and origin. Only requiring a French press, filtered water, and your coffee of choice, the brewing process takes less than five minutes and can be done at home, in the office, or while traveling to any destination. 

First, you’re going to need to warm up your water. It will need to be hot, but not boiling, between 195°F-200°F(90°C-93°C). While the water is heating up, you can go ahead and grind your coffee using a burr grinder on a coarse setting, though skip this step if your coffee has already been ground. The burr grinder will produce a more even, consistent grind, and thus provide a more uniform flavor. Make sure whether you grind your own coffee or purchase it already ground, that the grind is coarse, like kosher salt, otherwise the coffee is liable to ruin the filter on your French press if too fine, as well as produce a bitter, filmy cup that will leave a thick sludge at the bottom of your cup that is undrinkable.

Once the water is ready, you’re going to want to prime your press before brewing by pouring about two inches into the bottom of your French press without coffee in there, and swirl it around, disposing of the water after the bottom has been fully washed. While not entirely necessary, the priming process will help maintain the temperature of the coffee and press while brewing, allowing for a perfect cup each time.

Then you’re going to want to place your coarse coffee grounds into the French press and gently tap the press on a level counter or table to ensure the grounds are even. The ratio of coffee to water you use can be modified countless different ways to produce a different cup each time, but when starting out, it’s best to use a 1:11 ratio of coffee to water. So, in order to produce one cup of coffee in your French press, you’ll need 30grams of coffee to approximately 350grams of water, and then scale up accordingly the more coffee you’re wanting to make.

Now, it’s time to brew. It works best to use a kettle that has a longer neck so you have more control of the water while pouring. Make sure to pour in a clockwise pattern if in the Northern hemisphere, and of course a counter-clockwise pattern if brewing while in the Southern hemisphere. You’ll want to start at the center and spiral the water around the coffee until you hit the wall of the French press so that all of your coffee is fully saturated. Once the coffee begins to bloom, or expand from the carbon dioxide releasing, you’ll want to take a wooden spoon or stick of some sort and gently stir the coffee to ensure the water disperses all throughout.

Once every particle of coffee is fully saturated, you’ll pour the rest of the water into your French press and place the top of the press that has the filter attached on top, making sure not to press down, and set a timer for four minutes. When the timer is finished and four minutes is up, put the palm of your hand onto the top of the plunger and press down. You’ll feel some resistance, but as long as the coffee grounds are not too fine, then resistance should be futile, and the filter will hit the bottom, leaving you with a perfect, full-bodied cup that will showcase the very best flavor your coffee has to offer.

Now all that’s left is to enjoy!

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