Brewing French press coffee may seem simple, but if you’re not careful, you can easily end up with overly bitter or silty coffee. But don’t worry, it’s just as easy to avoid. To help you brew a great cup of French press coffee every time, we’ve put together this detailed guide. In a few straightforward steps, you can have a delicious pot of French press whenever you want it.
French press coffee is simple and fairly quick to brew. In under ten minutes, you can have a pot of flavorful, dark coffee. Keep reading for the eight simple steps to a perfect cup of French press coffee.
Get started by removing the lid and filter from your French press. If your French press is made of glass, you may want to pre-heat it, to prevent possible cracking or shattering. To do this, pour hot but not boiling water into your French press and let it sit for a few minutes. Pour this water out before adding your coffee grounds.
Put water on to boil. While you may prefer to use filtered water for the best flavor, it’s not required. Unlike in espresso machines and single-serve pod machines, French presses are not especially sensitive to the minerals in unfiltered water. For best brewing, you’ll want your water just below boiling, at around 195°F. To easily do this, bring your water to a full boil and then turn the burner off. If you wait a few seconds before pouring the water, it should be at just the right temperature.
If you have whole bean coffee, you’ll want to grind it to an even, coarse consistency, roughly the texture of Kosher salt. This grind size will allow plenty of extraction, without getting in the way of the filter. If you use coffee that is too finely ground, it may end up over-extracted and bitter, make pushing the filter down difficult, and result in overly silty coffee. If you buy your coffee pre-ground, try to buy a coarse or French press grind.
Add your ground coffee to the French press. You’ll want about two tablespoons of coffee grounds for every six ounces of water.
Pour a small amount of water in a circle over your grounds and leave it for a few seconds. This will allow your coffee to bloom, releasing delicious aromas and oils.
Let the coffee steep for three to four minutes. You can leave it a little longer to produce a stronger flavor, but you probably won’t want to go too far beyond four minutes. Letting your coffee steep too long can cause your beans to become over-extracted, giving your coffee a bitter flavor.
Pour the coffee into your mug or a carafe as soon as it finishes brewing. It’s better not to let coffee sit in the French press. In the brewer, it’s still in contact with the used coffee grounds, and sitting with them too long (even just 20 minutes) can lead to over-extraction and bitterness.
If you dislike the thicker texture of French press coffee, you can pour it through a paper or cloth filter after brewing. Keep in mind that this may alter the flavor by removing the distinctive mouthfeel and natural oils of coffee brewed in a French press.
That’s all there is to it. These eight simple steps can ensure that you make great French press coffee every time. Setting up your French press correctly can help you avoid overly silty or bitter coffee and ensure consistent, delicious flavor. We hope that this quick guide helps you become an expert at brewing French press coffee.
By Kate MacDonnell