I hope you are doing great today! On my side, I am feeling full of energy and ready to dig deeper into the French press coffee maker topic. So the idea today is to cover pretty much everything about French press from “what is a French press coffee maker” to “how to use it” to finish by the pros/cons.
Before getting started, let’s go over the plan of this article! Here we go!
- A little bit of history…
- What are the different components?
- How to use it?
- Are there different types?
Hold on! is it really a French guy who got the idea?
It’s kind of really surprising but in fact, the most familiar version of the French press was invented and patented by an Italian called Attilio Calimani in 1929. Yet, a really similar coffee maker was patented just before by two Frenchmen, named Mayer and Delforge in 1852.
The French press is an infusion brewer. Although, with most methods of brewing coffee, the water passes through the ground, in this case, coffee and water steep together! And that’s why we end up having a more uniform extraction!
Components, components…did you say cool parts?
You will mainly use 3 different parts (it can differ according to the model you picked) on all the coffee press:
I added below a detailed schema of all the parts you can find in general:
You don’t need to be French to use it…
- The brewing process
The brewing method presented here is designed to achieve a nice brew while producing the minimum volume of sludge. Be careful, this will require some practice and patience but you will really appreciate brewing a great cup that will give you access to all the unique flavors and characteristics of the bean.
As usual, grind the coffee just before you start brewing. Don’t forget to weigh the coffee first.
- Boil some fresh water with a low mineral content (suitable for brewing coffee) preferably using a kettle.
- Add the ground coffee in the French press, then place it on a scale.
- Pour relatively quickly and try to get all the coffee wet. Don’t forget to respect the coffee/water ratio of (75g/L).
- Leave the coffee to brew for four minutes. It’s totally normal to see the coffee floating at the top which forms a crust-like layer.
- After four minutes, grab a large spoon and stir the crust at the top. This will let most of the coffee to fall to the bottom of the brewer!
- You should find a little foam mixed with some floating ground at the top. Get rid of it with a spoon.
- Wait another 5 minutes. Indeed leaving it in the brewer allow more and more of the coffee and fine particles to sink to the bottom.
- Place the mesh plunger in the top of the beaker, but don’t plunge yet! Plunging will create turbulence, which will stir up all the silty coffee at the bottom of the pot.
- Pour the coffee slowly through the mesh into the cups. Try to resist pouring out the very last bit!
- Let your cup cool a little and enjoy!
Tip: Lot of people pour the entire pot once the brew is done to prevent over-extraction. Those instructions forbid brewing more than it should and prevents adding negative flavors, so this is not necessary.
- Which coffee should I use?
A coffee/water ratio of 75g/L (which is 17.8g /cup (American cups)) would be great.
It’ recommended to choose a slightly higher ratio of coffee to water when using an infusion brewer if you want to produce a brew with a strength similar to a Pour-over brewer.
- Size of the grind: Medium/ caster (superfine)
A lot of people grind their beans very coarsely but it’s not necessarily required unless your grinder produces a lot of very fine pieces and your brews quickly turn bitter.
How to select the best quality ever?
If you plan on buying a French press, I recommend looking more precisely into the carafe, the plunger, and the lid.
You will find 3 types of carafe on the market:
- The first one made out of tempered glass which has the advantage of not altering the brewing process but breaks easily.
- The second one made out of plastics which according to some people alter the brewing process but has the benefit of not breaking easily.
- And the last one, made out of stainless steel which doesn’t modify the brewing and doesn’t break easy but has the disadvantage of preventing you from seeing the coffee level.
The main part of the plunger you want to look at is the mesh. Indeed, if these edges are made out of Plastics, they will break after a while. It will results in a poor cup of coffee by letting the ground coffee pass through the interstices. It’s more likely to happen if you wash it with a dishwasher.
- The Lid
Lids on cheaper French press doesn’t block the heat to escape through the carafe spout while you are brewing. It can affect the quality of the coffee you will get at the end! However, the nice French press has a part which prevents this problem to occur.
One last thing, don’t forget to have a look at the size of the French press you consider buying. Last time I checked there is 3 cups, 8 cups, and 12 cups French press coffee maker available on the market.
Did you know? Let’s tackle the pros and cons…
One of the main specificity of the French press is the way that it filters the grounds from the brewing liquid: by using a metal mesh. Because of the relatively large hole in the mesh, more of the non-soluble material from the coffee gets into the cup. One advantage of this is you get a little of the coffee oil and some tiny suspended pieces of coffee in the coffee, which allow brewing a bigger, richer body and texture.
One of the main Inconvenient which puts many people off the French press is the sludge. Most of the time, you will find at the bottom of the cup a certain quantity of silty particles of coffee that (if accidentally drunk) are quite unpleasant and sandy in the mouth.
I tried to give you the maximum of info to help you understand and choose a French press coffee maker. I hope you appreciated reading this article, if you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to add them below!
Until next time!