Learn how to use a French Press

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What is a French Press?

The French Press (or also known as the Cafetiere) is a classic and simple method of brewing your coffee. It’s often used because it’s the most simplest way to brew your coffee. In this post, we’ll go over the steps in how to brew the perfect coffee using your french press (or plunger, as some people like to call it!).

First things first, we always recommend buying whole beans when purchasing your coffee. There are a couple of reasons why we recommend this. Firstly, your coffee will stay fresh for longer and secondly, you can choose the way in which you grind your coffee (read more about the differences between whole beans and ground coffee). Each brew method, whether that be French Press, Aeropress, V60 or Stovetop require different types of grind for optimal brewing.

How do I brew with a French Press?

Follow these simple steps below in order to perfectly brew your French Press coffee.

  1. Warm your French Press Vessel with hot water
  2. If you have coffee beans, grind around 10 grams per cup (around a tablespoon measurement) to a coarse like texture – don’t be afraid to add more or less depending on how you like your coffee
  3. Pour away the hot water which is in the vessel, and add your ground coffee
  4. Ensure your hot water is between 85-95°C and then pour over your ground coffee
  5. Stir with a spoon for approximately 10 seconds
  6. Allow your French Press to sit for 3-4 minutes whilst the coffee brews
  7. Slowly press your plunger, if you come up against resistance, gently lift your plunger. Continue pressing until you reach the bottom
  8. Allow to stand for a few seconds, pour into your mug and enjoy your french press coffee

Why should I grind to a coarse like texture?

The reason you need your ground coffee to be a coarse texture is because this allows the coffee to sit in the French Press and brew. If you were to grind your coffee very fine, you’ll still get a good flavour, but it won’t be it’s best because the coffee needs to breathe in the water you’re letting it sit in.

Just like tea, when you brew your coffee using a cafetiere, it becomes infused, rather having high pressure being injected through the coffee, like an espresso. Whilst the coffee sits in the cafetiere, it blooms and expands, which is why giving it a good stir for 10 seconds is a good idea, fully immersing your coffee in the water optimising its flavour.

Why should I use beans and not pre-ground coffee?

Using pre-ground coffee isn’t necessarily a problem, especially if you consume a lot of coffee and stick to your favourite brew method, but using coffee beans gives you more choice for brewing as well as keeping the coffee fresher for longer.

Most grinders come with different settings for you to play around with, so you can experiment with the different types of brewing methods there are finding your perfect method of brewing.

If you have a blade grinder, you can always pulse grind your beans and judge the grounds by looking at them to decide how coarse or fine they should be.

What French Press should I buy?

Choosing to right French Press thankfully isn’t a complex process, like buying an espresso machine is. As they are quite simple, you just need to know and stick to a few things.

We recommend always going with a reputable make, this way you know it lasts longer and does the job – always read customer reviews. Bodum and La Cafetiere are known as the go-to’s. 

Always make sure you have a look at the mesh before purchasing. The mesh is what separates your ground coffee away making it ready it pour. If you have mesh which is too flimsy, often ground coffee can escape into your chamber after plunging, which isn’t nice when drinking!

Make sure your French Press can be taken apart to clean. No one wants a coffee which has been brewed with stale coffee grounds in it, and giving it a good clean every now and then helps to keep your coffee tasting great. If you have a French Press which can’t be taken apart to clean, old grounds can get trapped, which mean the your French Press won’t last as long. Always take apart and rinse away old coffee grounds after use.

There are also different types of vessels you can purchase – plastic, stainless steel, glass and Perspex. Often, this is personal choice, but there can be practicalities in helping you decide! If you live with somebody, or you yourself can be clumsy, perhaps stay away from a glass vessel! Buying a stainless steel vessel also keeps your coffee warmer whilst brewing, so this has a practical advantage. Other than these two reasons, what suits your kitchen environment better?

Seriously good coffee