The humble French press, of which most of us own, is one of the easiest brew methods to get consistent tasty results with; as long as the key steps are followed.

Coffees brewed on the French press tend to be fuller in body, and lack some of the finesse and clarity of flavour produced by filtered methods, as well as producing some fines/ sludge at the bottom of the carafe.

The Grind

I cannot stress enough the importance of a good quality grinder. If you’re buying good quality, artisan roasted microlot coffees, you want all that flavour in your cup to enjoy. When coffee is ground it immediately begins to stale and loose flavour.
A good grinder will also grind the coffee particles to an even and consistent size. This is critical as smaller grinds will extract much faster and make your brew bitter before larger particles can extract properly.

For French Press brewing, you want a medium/coarse grind setting, which will have gritty texture and resemble sand.

The Ratio

Coffee to water. The best ratio for brewing French Press is 1:16 – 1:17. This means you use 1 gram of coffee for every 16/17 grams of water. If you prefer a stronger brew, by all means try 1:14-15. It’s a trade off however, if you use more coffee you will struggle to extract the subtle nuances of flavour, and if you were to go the other way, you would end up with a delicate, tea like brew, watery in comparison.

The easiest way to make sure you are getting your recipe correct is to invest in a set of digital scales with 0.1 or at least 1g accuracy. They are affordable ($10-$15 online) and will allow you to make better coffee, far more consistently. 

The Water

Brew temperature is critical here. Ideally between 90-96C. Using fresh water (filtered if possible) boil your jug/ kettle and allow to sit for around 20-30 seconds before pouring.

Method

What you need:

  • Freshly ground coffee
  • Scales
  • Kettle & water
  • Timer
  • Spoon
  • French Press
  1. Boil your kettle, using hot water preheat your French press
  2. Weigh out your desired quantity of beans and grind on the correct setting
  3. Discard the preheat water and add your ground coffee to the French press
  4. Place the French press on the scales and zero it off.
  5. Pour aprox 1/3 of your brew water into the French Press and give the grinds a quick stir, to ensure all the coffee has been wetted and ensure an even extraction and start the timer
  6. Add the remaining brew water
  7. At 4:00, using a spoon either push down the crust of coffee grinds from the surface or scrape them off (removing them yields a cleaner cup), but do not stir.
  8. Add the French press filter and gently press down – there should be almost no resistance when pressing down.
  9. Sit back and enjoy

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