People who love French press coffee really are passionate about it. You may wonder what the big deal is; after all, coffee is coffee, right?
Sort of. Coffee is coffee but how it is ground, brewed, and handled can make a big difference in the resulting flavor. Because the coffee oils are treated gently, and not trapped in the paper filter, the coffee has much more flavor and body.
In drip coffee, the filter holds the grounds. When the hot water drips over it, the coffee flavor is released into the water but the filter catches most of the oils. The oils carry the flavor, so it is like filtering out 35% of the coffee flavor.
Not only that, but oil gives foods and beverages texture. Think about the difference between the way skim milk and heavy cream feel in your mouth. The heavy cream has a richer â€œmouth feelâ€ because of the fat in it. This is why coffee made in a French press feels creamier and thicker in your mouth, even when it is black.
The press itself is a simple design, consisting of a narrow cylindrical beaker of glass. A plunger fits tightly in the beaker and it has a mesh filter. There is a top that fits over the beaker, and the plunger has a handle through the top.
The French press coffee maker is for coffee lovers. Once you get used to making coffee in press, you may never want to drink it from a drip maker again. The French press will allow you to taste the individual characteristics of the coffee beans used, giving you an endless variety of coffees to try and enjoy.
How to Make French Press Coffee
You will need to grind your coffee beans in a burr grinder if possible. The coffee will need to have a coarser grind than the grind you would normally use for drip or coffee grounds will push through the mesh and you will have them floating around in your delicious beverage. A blade grinder will grind the beans too finely to work well in a French press coffee maker.
- Place the coffee grounds in the bottom of the beaker. You will usually want to use about two tablespoons for every six ounce cup of water.
- Warm the water to just under boiling â€“ about 200F. Add the water to the press, stir, and allow the coffee to steep for three minutes.
- With even pressure, slowly push the plunger down until it is resting on the bottom with the coffee grounds under it.
- If there is any coffee left after 20 minutes, pour it out. It will be stale. Roses will love it though!
- If you find it is too strong, just brew it a shorter time period. If it is too weak, just brew a little longer.
- If there are coffee grounds in your coffee then you will need to use a coarser grind.
Hereâ€™s one thing to remember. For the very best tasting water, you need to use filtered water and freshly roasted beans. Spend the extra money on beans that are roasted locally if it is available. If not, choose beans from smaller companies rather than large corporations.
photo credit: Marye Audet