What is French Press Coffee?
The French press is a brewer design patented in 1929 by (ironically, an Italian man named) Anttilio Canimani. The contemporary variation of this patent is an immersion style brewer comprised of a cylindrical carafe made of plastic, glass, or stainless steel and a tightly fitted lid with a “plunger” filter fitted through it. As the coffee grinds are immersed in hot water, sugars, oils, and minerals are released. When the brew is complete the filter is “plunged” downward, pushing the spent grinds to the bottom of the brewer, filtering out sediment, and leaving the coffee above ready to serve.
This method of brewing is ideal for yielding large batches of rich, sultry, full-bodied coffee and is best suited for medium to dark roasts.
What will you need to brew with a French Press?
- French Press
The essential design remains unchanged across different models. The major differences lie in the materials they are constructed from and their respective price points.
By weight, use a 1:16 coffee-to-water ratio. For a full, 32 ounce press, start with ½ cup (0.12 liters) of coffee and 4 cups (0.95 liters) of water.
A gooseneck teapot will provide the most control over the flow of water, but any teapot will suffice.
A long handle is preferable, but not essential.
Cloth/Paper Filter (Optional)
An additional filter may be fastened to the bottom of the plunger for improved filtration and a “cleaner”cup of coffee.
How do you brew French press coffee?
206 - 209 degrees Fahrenheit (98-99 degrees Celsius) is ideal. If you are heating your water on a stovetop, begin pouring 5 - 10 seconds off of the boil.
Grind your beans on a course setting. The mesh filter does not separate small particulates well, and a fine/medium grind will result in a sooty coffee.
Pour the grinds and just enough water to wet them into the carafe. Stir gently and let sit for 30 seconds. This process releases gasses that are trapped in the grounds, which allows for a more thorough extraction. You will know it is working if you see bubbles rising to the top. This water counts as part of the 1:16 ratio.
Pour the remainder of the water into the carafe, gently stir the contents, and fasten the lid (do not push down the filter). Let sit for 3 ½ minutes.
Gently push down on the plunger. Do not stir contents before plunging.
Serve immediately after pressing the filter. If not, the grinds will continue to steep at the bottom of the carafe, tainting the flavor of the brewed coffee.
If the carafe and filter are not properly cleaned after use, the remnants of previous batches will contaminate future brews.
What Kind of French press is right or you?
Glass options are inexpensive, easy to clean, and let you watch your coffee while it brews.
Notable models include the “Bodum Brazil 8-cup” and the “Primula 6-cup”
Stainless Steel models are durable, fashionable, and many are fitted with double-walled insulators for better heat retention.
Notable models include the “Frieling French Press” and the “Gator French Press”