French Press 101
Ok if you're anything like me, you probably enjoy a little caffeine in the morning. Generally speaking, I'm not too serious about it but I do appreciate something beyond the Dunkin' Donut variety. I think I can recognize a 'good' cup from a 'bad' cup but I'm not at the level of buying special water to brew my coffee nor to I spend much time thinking about the chemistry of it all (while it is fascinating) - at the end of the day, my goal is just to have a tasty cup or two in the morning before starting my day. What I'm finally accepting is that things like grinding your coffee right before you brew do have an impact that I can taste and appreciate. I've also recently learned that I've been making french press coffee all wrong, for years. Ha! Soooo, for all those in this boat - let's get to brewing some french press goodness properly so we can at least make our cups the best we can.
1. Get a bag of lovely coffee beans - I'm extremely lucky here in Seattle to have a great coffee shop in the bottom of my building (shoutout to Royal Drummer). They bring in new coffee constantly from a variety of roasters and I feel like I get to try so many offerings. For today, I'm going to use Pink Bourbon (hailing from Jose Antonio Trujillo in Columbia) from Evans Brothers Coffee in Idaho. Even if you don't have a coffee shop near you to snag beans, you can always get them at the grocery store. Check for the roasted date to try and get something as fresh as you can.
2. Grind your beans (coarsely) - The folks over at Bodum say that if it's too fine you'll clog the filter and create high pressure. No one wants high pressure right? (insert joke about not knowing why this is important, but I tend to believe what instruction manuals tell me so let's just go with it). I was using a coffee and spice grinder for years but felt like I never quite had the right consistency. I finally invested in a grinder that does some of that guesswork for me. So far, it has been far more accurate.
3. Measure out 1 tbsp of ground coffee per cup (4oz) of water and put it in your french press - I think this is where I usually fall a bit flat and I usually just eyeball it. Trying to kick the habit. True aficionados will have a scale and measure out a specific amount. I'll be honest, I'm just not awake enough to deal with that. Plus, it's another step - however, it's a real thing and people who want to spend the time and energy with that, definitely should.
4. Pour hot (not boiling) water into your french press. Most of them have little cup marks along the side to help you measure how much to pour in. Now, a word about this - how do you know how hot is too hot? I don't and again I try to do my best here without getting too technical with it. So I boil up some water and then just let it sit for a minute to come down below boil temp and then pour it in.
5. Stir the brew up with a plastic spoon for about :30-:45 - The concern about using anything metal is that you could hurt the glass. I haven't managed to screw that up yet, but makes sense to me. I apparently couldn't find any plastic spoons in my kitchen so I opted for a little mini spatula to do the job.
6. Put the plunger in and let it brew for 4-6 min - I've been reading a variety of write ups on this and while Bodum suggests 4 min, some people say a slightly longer amount of time will be best. Play with it and find what you like best.
7. Plunge slowly & pour and there you go! - I'm a sugar + cream kind of gal so I also add in a little of that for good measure. When in doubt about your efforts, just try it again tomorrow and test new timings and grind-sizes. You'll find what you like best.