Back at it again with the French Press…

Ahh… The French Press. In an earlier post, I gave a brief backstory of the Press with the promise of a brewing guide. I have faith that when you’re finished reading this, you’ll know how to brew a French Press of coffee. Period.

The French press, also called the coffee press, is a essentially a piston with a the end of the plumber made of mesh. The mesh bottom of the plunger lets the liquid (hot water or cold water if you’re making cold brew) that lets the grounds steep. And yes, the grounds have to be ground coarse. Hang tight, I’ll tell you why.

Unlike the brewing methods for the number of various methods that exist, a French press has the flexibility to make a fantastic cup or cups of coffee easier. Trust me, a bad cup can definitely happen from a press, everyone has that Aunt that can’t boil water. Because a major variable of the French Press is hot water, Aunt Becky may yet screw up the cup, but even with her water boiling deficiency, the Press will give her confidence to boil away. Now this is the time when Darrin puts the Lab Coat on and talks coffee Brainiac up in here.boil water

Knowing is 90% of the battle.

Brewing coffee, no matter the method, a couple of events need to occur to make a halfway drinkable cup of coffee. If that doesn’t make sense, hang tight with me, shortly it will. The events are:

  • Wetting- Like it sounds, to brew coffee, first and foremost the grounds have to get wet. When the grounds are completely saturated, the Co2 trapped in the individual cells escapes and results in a visual bloom. This occurs primarily in freshly roasted coffee
  • Dissolution/Diffusion – Just like it sounds, grounds of the coffee are literally dissolved in the hot water, to the point when liquid and solids coalesce with the water quickly separating from the solids.With certain coffee brewing methods the speed of dissolution/diffusion has a significant affect on how the coffee tastes. This process is also called, extraction. It’s the level of extraction that affects the taste… Let’s call that bad taste… Bitter. Over extraction is responsible for the bitterness of coffee most of the time. In short, it’s the grind.french press grind consistency

A cup of coffee made using the French press is less dependent on extraction, the dissolution/diffusion process occurs slower. Guess what slows the extraction process down? Yup. The grind. The coarse grind lets the  French press achieve the full body, milky cup that is characteristic  the brewing method.

After all of that science, are you ready for a cup of coffee?

Brewing a French Press

Now that I’ve given you the why the French Press tastes so great, let me show you how to get there.

 

  1. Fill empty the french press with hot water so that it pre-heats while you prepare ground coffee.
  2. Empty out the water and add appropriate amount of ground coffee. The pre-heating of the pot has an effect on the ambient temperature of the brewer and frankly, keeps the glass from breaking mid brew.
  3. For every 10 ounces of water there should be roughly .5 ounces of COARSELY ground coffee. Add the ground coffee to the pot.
  4. Start your timer and pour a small amount of hot water (195°-205°F) into the French press over the grounds.
  5. Wait another 30-45 seconds, allowing coffee to bloom and continue to keep the grounds covered with plunger lid to hold in heat.
  6. Continue pouring water over the grounds until the total weight of water is reached.
  7. Gently stir the coffee, then place filter and plunger onto the french press and push down just enough to saturate ground coffee, about half an inch below the surface.
  8. At 3:30, remove lid and make a few small stirs. Replace lid.
  9. At 4-4:45 push plunger down slowly, stopping and waiting if there is resistance. 10
  10. Serve coffee and place grounds into compost or as my friend Laura Karr does, feed the grounds to the chickens.
  11. Take a picture, post on the Darrin’s Coffee Facebook and Instagram page showing off your skills, so we won’t call you Aunt Becky the one that couldn’t boil water anymore.

Now will you give Aunt Becky a chance?!

I had to break out my brew guides to make certain I gave you a rough framework, but I still wanted to give you the opportunity to put a little bit of “Darrin’s Flava” on it… I’m just sayin’. Oh yeah, looking for the perfect coffee to show that you now know how to brew a French Press with? Try Kenya AA, Darrin’s Melange or the good ol’ fashioned Darrin’s Iron Roast.

D