FThe French Press goes by many names—Press Pot, Coffee Press, Coffee Plunger, and even Cafetière, if you call the United Kingdom home. Despite the aliases, these devices are all based on the original model, which a designer from Italy named Attilio Calimani patented in 1929.
Although manufactured in various sizes and styles to adhere to each user’s consumption needs, all French Presses consist of a beaker, usually made out of glass, plastic, or metal, in which hot water and coffee are placed to steep.
The lid of the container has a built-in plunger that is connected to a wire or mesh filter. This filter fits snugly against the circumference of the beaker, making a seal around the edges.
After a set amount of time for brewing, the lid is placed on top and the grounds are then pushed to the bottom of the press, while the liquid is allowed to pass through the strainer, remaining on the surface above the grounds.
The pressed brewing method provides consistently full-bodied coffee, due to the fact that it eliminates the need for paper filters. Paper robs the coffee of oils that are essential in attaining the full flavor and qualities of the bean, while simultaneously contributing a strange taint to its taste.
Additionally, users are given a substantial amount of control over this brewing method as opposed to others. Water temperature, steeping time, and several other factors can easily be adjusted using a French Press. It’s also convenient, fast, and allows for a quick clean up.
Foodal recommends the The Espro Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Press available on Amazon.
The most common complaint about pressed coffee is its tendency to have a murky and gritty residue. Although some innovators in the coffee industry have found solutions to this dilemma, such as Bruce Constantine and Chris McLean with their Espro Press, the vast majority of presses will inevitably leave a deposit of grit and film.
Thankfully, there are several tips and tricks that have been passed down by the barista gods for curbing this unfortunate condition.
By pressing your coffee in the manner listed below, you’ll be able to create an almost perfect cup of joe:
1. Heat Your Water. The first step is to pre-boil your filtered water. The ideal temperature for most coffees is 195-205°F.
2. Grind your coffee. This is a very important step. The commonly recommended ratio is 8-9 grams (or slightly more than one tablespoon) to every four ounces of water, but you can adjust the measurements slightly to taste. You want the grinds to be as even as possible – they should be coarse enough that they won’t be able to escape through the mesh or wire filter, but also fine enough to add the perfect amount of flavor and body to your cup.
3. Add the grounds and the water. Place your fresh grounds in the basin of your French Press before pouring your hot water evenly over them. After the liquid has been added, many users choose to either swirl or gently stir the coffee with a spoon, chopstick, or similar utensil.
4. Extract. Allow the press to sit uncovered for 3-5 minutes. Do not cover the coffee with a lid just yet, to allow the coffee to attain the maximum bloom.
5. Skim. At the end of the allotted time, take a large spoon or scooping device and skim off the grounds that are floating on top of the coffee. While this is a step that many people do not implement or deem necessary, it can be very helpful when it comes to removing some of the grittiness and fine excess particles.
6. Plunge. Set your lid securely on top of the beaker and slowly press straight down on the plunger. Once the filter is completely submerged, you’re ready to go! As you pour, make sure that you hold on to the lid firmly, so that dumping is avoided.
EXTRA TIP: Drink your coffee right away. As it remains sitting in the press, it will continue to brew—even after being plunged. So if you’re not planning to consume it immediately, transfer the liquid to another container.
Looking for a suitable model? Give Foodal’s French Press Buying Guide a read today!
About Kate Ackerman
A compulsive list-maker with a profound love for art, the outdoors, good beer, and Star Wars, Kate is a stereotypical Washington native (read: rain-loving coffee addict). And while she calls freelance writing her career, she's often found traveling the world, plunking on pianos, or spending time with her well-loved bulldog.