Few methods of coffee-making give you the flavors, texture, and accessibility of a french press. Being able to forget about your coffee aside for a few minutes while you finish your breakfast is surely a welcome feature compared to the high-maintenance methods such as pour-over or espresso.
French press provides a full-bodied and rich flavor unrivalled across the various brewing methods. The steel mesh filter and coarser grind size allow particles and oils to seep through that would otherwise get filtered out by paper. As such, darker roasts tend to best compliment the French press, maximizing the body and richness of the final product.
The first step to making French press coffee is preheating the glass or steel container by using off-boil water. Even the slightest change in temperature can drastically affect the flavor of the coffee, so ensuring consistent temperature throughout the brewing process is essential. The time for the French press to preheat is ideal for grinding fresh coffee beans. Most recipes call for a very coarse grind, but a medium-coarse grind – the consistency of rough/coarse sand – achieves the best balance between flavor and texture. As always, a burr grinder is highly preferable to the blade variety.
After dumping out the preheat water, add in your freshly ground coffee and start gently pouring off-boil water over the grounds pour-over style until all the grounds are coated and a visible bloom starts. Stir the grounds slightly and wait 30 seconds before adding in the rest of your water; about a 1:12 ratio of coffee to water is best. Let the coffee sit for four minutes, finish up your breakfast, and drink immediately for best results.
Student at Northwestern University
Specialty Coffee Barista at Coffee Lab Evanston
Assistant Curriculum Developer at the CL Academy
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