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French Press is a classic and completely manual way of brewing coffee as well as tea. It aims to extract a fuller flavor and aroma from your favorite coffee beans or tea leaves by following the simple technique of immersion brewing in which the beans or leaves are allowed to remain submerged under hot water for a few minutes. The French Press has been around for more than 150 years and has a cult following. As much as its appearance seems confusing, it is rather more simple and affordable than other brewing methods and devices.
With the right knowledge and the right tools you would be able to prepare rich and creamy coffee by using a French press. It is simply a beaker fitted with a plunger at the top and a mesh filter in the middle. The press uses hot water to steep coarsely ground coffee and once it has been submerged for the desired time, the plunger is pushed downwards to separate the grounds from your coffee drink. The stainless steel mesh, unlike paper filters, allows the natural oils in the beans to pass through alongwith tiny particles resulting in a rich brew. Remember, you can only use coarse ground coffee with a French Press. Anything smaller will just be retained in your coffee drink and give it a bad taste.
If you are a coffee lover and want to make full use of the French Press then there are only four things you need to follow: the correct coffee to water ratio, the right temperature, right brewing time and the right coffee. You also need to have tools in your pantry which would help you make the perfect blend. These include digital scale or measuring cup, burr grinder for grinding coffee beans into coarse coffee, thermometer for checking water temperature and a kettle for boiling water. You can use any coarse ground coffee you prefer. However we recommend using a burr grinder to get freshly ground coffee as that would not only give you control over the granule size but would also end up preparing a delicious fresh coffee drink.
Heat water in your kettle to a temperature of 200 F. For each gram of coffee use 15/16 times water. You can find an entire chart of suitable ratios on the web.
Pour some of this water in the empty French Press and let it rest for 15-30 seconds. This is done to increase the vessel’s temperature so that your drink remains hot till the very end.
While your vessel is being heated, use the burr grinder to prepare freshly ground coffee. For best taste use whole beans and grind only the required amount while keeping the rest of the beans in an airtight container.
When the vessel has been warmed up, empty it and put in your ground coffee. Instead of pouring in all the hot water, just use the amount that is enough to submerge all your coffee. This will start the “blooming” process in which the ground coffee will release gasses and become ready for brewing. After 30 seconds, add the remaining water. Stir the mixture and close the lid of the press. After 4.27 minutes, push the plunger down slowly in order to filter out the grounds from the liquid coffee. Stop the plunger when it is right above the coffee grounds. Do not push the plunger further, otherwise the grounds will be pushed into your coffee drink and make it bitter.
Pour the coffee in your favorite mug and do not let the remaining coffee sit for long in the vessel as it would become more saturated and hence bitter.
As mentioned before, the French Press is equipped with a stainless steel mesh and works well with coarse ground coffee. Finely grounded coffee will just pass through the mesh and provide you with coffee you won’t be able to drink. Moreover, the press works on the idea of immersive brewing and is suitable for coffee with a relatively large surface area which makes it possible to release more carbon dioxide during the blooming stage thus enhancing the brew quality.
Keeping this in view, the right size of the coffee will be coarse ground coffee. Although you can find many varieties including the French Press grade from a store or from a coffee shop, the best thing to do is to ground your own coffee using a suitable grinder such as a burr grinder. The type of coffee beans you use is entirely your own choice and preference. However, because the press retains natural oils in your coffee, ardent French Press admirers prefer to use medium to dark roasted beans. We would recommend using Brazilian or Arabica beans if you prefer bold flavors. And if you like your coffee light, try Ethiopian or Kenyan brands.
Regardless of which bean type you use, remember that it is the grinding that makes the difference. The size of the granule will decide how much of its flavor you can extract. For perfect results, select beans which have been roasted within the last two months and grind them yourself. Use mineral water instead of tap water for brewing.
Yes, your French press can also brew a cup of tea that’s très bien. Just heat your water to the proper temperature for the type of tea you’re drinking, and pour it over your tea in the bottom of the press. Place the lid and strainer over the top, and set a timer.
When your tea has steeped to your taste, slowly press the plunger to the bottom, and pour. Should we change our name to Tea Gator? Hmm...
SEE ALSO: 8 simple steps to the best French press coffee.
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