Home Essentials: French Press Coffee Maker

royalty-free French press coffee maker imageEven if you don’t like coffee, it’s my feeling that everyone should have a French press coffee maker on hand.  Not only can you make the best cup of coffee that you’ve ever tasted, you can brew tea from bulk purchases and you can make excellent herbal teas from fresh herbs.  The key with a French press though is the procedure.  You have to do it right, or the coffee will be at best, unimpressive and at worst, downright awful!

To brew the perfect cup of coffee using a French press, bear a few things in mind.

  1. The type of grind matters.  If you’re grinding your own coffee, use a coarse grind.  This promotes adequate extraction of the flavor and essential oil from the coffee.
  2. The temperature of the water matters.  Use water that’s “just off the boil”.  In other words, bring water to a boil, take it off the heat, and let it sit for a moment so that it can cool slightly.  The best temperature for French press coffee making is around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Use enough coffee grounds.  Regardless of the method, people never seem to use the right ratio of grounds to water.  Most often, people don’t use enough coffee because they fear the bitter taste that you get with poor quality coffee or over-extracted coffee.  By using enough coffee grounds, you won’t over-extract, and you’ll prevent that bitter taste.
  4. Use a pinch of salt.  I took this page from Alton Brown’s book, and shockingly enough, it works.  The salt brings out the sweet flavor of the coffee.  It only takes the tiniest bit.
  5. Don’t leave coffee in the French press any longer than is absolutely necessary.  As long as the coffee is in the French press, it is continuing to extract flavor and essential oils from the coffee ground.  Remember, over-extracted coffee is bad coffee, so don’t be tempted.  If you can’t drink the coffee immediately, pour it into an airpot or thermos.  You’ll be so glad that you did after taking that first, delicious sip.

How to Make the Best Cup of Coffee You’ll Ever Drink

picture of a cup of coffee

Public domain image courtesy of www.wpclipart.com

First, you’ll have to figure out how much coffee you’ll need.  Use one tablespoon of coffee grounds to 4 fluid ounces of water.  Since my French press make 32 fl. oz., I use eight tablespoons of coffee.

Place the coffee grounds and a pinch of salt into the carafe of your French press.  Add the requisite amount of near-boiling water, stir, and place the plunger on top of the carafe.  Don’t push the plunger down yet!

Set a timer for 3:30 (3min. 30sec.) to 4:00.  When the timer goes off, the coffee is done! Slowly, push down the plunger until you can’t push it anymore, and decant the coffee into cups or a thermos/airpot/insulated carafe.

Lastly, pat yourself on the back for making the best cup of coffee you’ll ever taste!

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