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A Brew Guide Series: Brewing French Press Coffee Perfectly

The French press is a brew method that is loved by many for its ability to draw out the bolder flavor notes and profound aroma of the coffee beans. You’ve probably seen them in the beautiful home decor spreads of HGTV, or your favorite TV show where the characters are extra fancy. Brewing French press coffee is the perfect method if you really love the chocolatey or nutty notes of beans, or want a great cup of coffee but really don’t want it to be too fussy.

Pouring ground coffee into a French Press
Prepping French Press Coffee. Photo credit: Krysta Norman Photography

The Tools of the Trade:

  • A French press: these devices range in size and price point. Any of them will get the job done. Choose one that can make as many cups of coffee as you’d like, in the material and budget that works best for you.

  • Coffee beans: the type of bean is up to you, but we think our Colombian beans are extra delicious with this brew method. You’ll want these beans ground to a coarse grind, resembling coarse sand. You can grind them yourself, or we’re happy to grind them for you when you order online or at the market!

  • Water: if you’re a super coffee enthusiast and want “the scientifically perfect cup” use filtered water or “coffee water” found online. If not, tap will do.

  • A kettle: preferably a gooseneck (like we discussed in the Pour-Over post), but any kettle to boil your water works.

  • A timer: use the one on your phone, oven or home smart speaker.

Optional Items to Add for extra precision:

  • A scale: A great tool if you like precision. This can help you test the right grounds to water ratio that you prefer.

  • A burr grinder: these come in a variety of price points, hand grinder or electric, not fully necessary for a home coffee setup, but definitely nice to have if you’re experimenting with a lot of different brew methods.

The Making of The Cup:

  1. Put your coffee grounds into the bottom of your french press pitcher with the plunger set aside. A good rule of thumb is to use 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 8 oz of water.

  2. Heat up your water. If you can adjust the temperature of your kettle, set it between 195 and 205 degrees. If you’re boiling on the stove, wait for the water to boil, and then set it aside for a minute. If the water is too hot, it can over extract* the coffee, leading to a bitter cup. If the water is not hot enough, it can be under extracted and lack flavor.

  3. Pour the hot water over the coffee slowly, making sure that all of the grounds are fully saturated.

  4. Gently stir to make sure there are no clumps of dry coffee grounds.

  5. Place the plunger on top of the french press, but don’t press down!

  6. Let the coffee steep for 4-5 minutes. This is when the water extracts the flavors and oils from the coffee grounds.

  7. Do a little coffee dance, feed your fur baby, yawn in expectation of a glorious cup.

  8. When the timer goes off, slowly press the plunger down. Stop the plunger just above the grounds to avoid releasing sediment. 

  9. Pour yourself a delicious cup of coffee, and slowly savor the full bodied, fragrant act of love you just made.

Pouring coffee from a French Press
Photo credit: Krysta Norman Photography

Making French press coffee may seem like a bit of a process, but the result is a cup of coffee that is truly worth the effort. We hope this guide helps you on your journey to finding your perfect cup. If you need any extra help, or just want to chat about making great coffee, make sure to come see us this weekend at the Cherrydale or Westover Farmers Markets!

*Extraction = the method by which the soluble oils, flavors and other compounds of ground coffee are pulled out during the brewing process. Whether coffee is over or under extracted can depend upon grind size, water temperature and other factors.

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