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Perfecting the Art of French Press Coffee

Making coffee with a french press can be a bit intimidating at first. We’ve all grown accustomed to the ease and simplicity of drip coffee or Keurig machines. But if you want to take your coffee drinking experience to a new level, mastering the french press technique is the logical next step. And it isn’t nearly as difficult or complicated as you might think!

There are so many benefits to making your coffee with a french press that the three extra minutes it takes to use this method are well spent. By eliminating the need for a paper filter, the natural oils of the coffee are given the space to really shine through in the flavor, giving you a richer, smoother end result. 

Perfect french press coffee starts with good water. If your tap water tastes good to you, then of course it’s fine to use, but if it just isn’t quite right, go ahead and use your favorite filtered or bottled water.

Next, you’ll need to make sure your coffee beans are fresh. They should be very aromatic and have some oil on them. The fresher your coffee, the better your cup. 

Your french press coffee will be better if you grind your beans just before you brew them. Coffee oxidizes the same way that other foods do, so it’s best to let as little air as possible touch your coffee once you’ve ground it. 

The level of grind is an important factor to consider as well. For french press coffee, you’ll need to think coarser. The fineness of grind you would use for drip coffee will clog your french press and leave you with a very gritty start to your day. Look for your coffee grounds to be just a little finer than kosher salt.

How much coffee you use comes down to personal taste, whether or not you like a stronger cup is up to you. A good ratio to start with is 18-20 grams of coffee per 8 ounces of water. From there, you can experiment further with the ratio to find your perfect balance.

Your water temperature is also important. Water boils at 212 degrees fahrenheit, but you’ll want to aim just a little lower than that, around 200 degrees. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but using water that’s too hot can result in a bitter taste for your coffee, and water that isn’t hot enough won’t extract all the flavor you want. A good rule of thumb is to bring your water to a boil and then let it sit for about 30 seconds.

Once you get your water to the correct temperature and put your ground coffee into your french press, go ahead and pour about a third of the water into the carafe and stir it gently, making sure that the water has fully saturated the coffee. Once you do this, you can pour the rest of your water in and place the lid on your french press with the plunger pulled all the way up. 

The amount of time you allow your coffee to brew will also affect the taste. Too short, you’ll end up with weak and sour coffee, but brew it for too long and you’ll end up with a very bitter taste in your mouth. Four minutes is a good starting point, but if you like a really strong brew you can go up to six minutes without adding too much bitterness. 

The last couple things to remember about brewing french press coffee are to not put too much pressure on your plunger when you push it down, and to pour whatever leftover coffee you have out of your carafe and into another mug or thermos. If you put too much pressure on your plunger, you’ll end up getting sprayed with hot coffee; and if you leave your leftover coffee in your french press, you’ll end up with a very bitter second mug. 

All this information may seem overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of brewing coffee with a french press, you’ll never look at your Keurig the same again. The quality is unmatched. And sometimes, doing things the slow way can really bring your morning together in a much more pleasurable way. 



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