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How to Use a French Press

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 2

The french press (or cafetiere) has recently become a very popular way to make coffee. Press pots are renown for making some of the richest, most flavorful coffee around, but many people don't know how to use them to their full potential. This article will give you simple instructions to make the best cup of coffee you can with your french press.

Things You Will Need

-A french press or cafetiere.
-Something to boil water in.
-Whole bean coffee.
-A coffee grinder.

Step 1

Boil Water. Boil about twice as much water as you need for you desired amount of coffee. Standard coffee mugs hold 12 ounces, but you should boil more than this because you will be using some of the boiled water to pre-heat your French press, some of the water will evaporate as steam, and some will stay trapped in the coffee grounds. Boiling the water before any of the other steps is important because the water needs time to cool before brewing. The ideal water temperature for brewing coffee is between 198° and 204° f, while the boiling point of water is 212° f.

Step 2

Grind Your Coffee. Grinding your own coffee is a very important factor in making a great tasting cup of coffee because coffee beans go stale very quickly after they are ground. The strong smell that coffee lets off during and after grinding means that it is going stale. Also grind size is very important in making coffee with a french press. A very course grind is preferable for use with a french press because finely ground coffee like you would use to make drip, or espresso, will pass through the filter in a french press giving your coffee a muddy, grainy texture. The time that it takes you to grind your coffee also gives the water time to cool to the desired temperature. If you are working with coffee that is already ground, give the water about one minute to cool before proceeding to step three.

Step 3

Add Coffee Grounds. Before you add the coffee grounds to your french press, remove the lid and plunger and pour some of the water that you boiled into the pot. Now tilt the pot sideways and slowly rotate it to let the water heat the entire inside of the pot, then pour out the water. Now add the appropriate amount of coffee grounds to the pot. Use about one heaping tablespoon for every six ounces of water.

Step 4

Add Water. Pour your desired amount of water over the coffee grounds in a circular motion making sure to wet all of the grounds. Now stir the coffee a few times with a plastic, or wooden spoon, metal can chip the fragile glass beaker. Replace the lid making sure that the plunger is all the way up, and let the coffee sit for between two and four minutes. The longer your coffee brews the stronger and more bitter it will become.

Step 5

Press the Plunger. Now that your coffee is finished brewing you need to press down the plunger to finish the extraction process. Before plunging, make sure that the spout is facing away from your body to avoid being scalded by any coffee that may escape. Hold the lid of the pot down firmly with one hand and place the other hand on the top of the plunger. Now press down with one slow continuous motion until the plunger is resting on the grounds.

Step 6

Enjoy! Your coffee is now finished. Pour it into your cup taking care to hold the lid on with one hand to avoid any grounds escaping into your cup. That's all there is to making a rich, delicious cup of coffee with a french press.


Tips & Warnings

-Fresh coffee tastes best, so always use coffee that was roasted no more than ten days ago.
-Always grind your coffee immediately before brewing.
-For best results use a burr grinder that gives a good consistent grind. The quality of your grind is one of the biggest factors in making a good cup of coffee.
-Filter your water, bad tasting water makes bad tasting coffee.
-Always be cautious when dealing with boiling water.



Oct 30, 2010 10:56am
Great article. I love my coffee from a French Press! We own two, a big on and a little one...maybe I will go get a cup of coffee.
Oct 30, 2010 11:31am
Thanks! I'm going to add pictures also once I get a new USB cable for my camera.
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