How To Use A French Press - Craft Sense

How to Use a French Press

Did you know that the French press is actually not French? An Italian designer owns the patent to the French press. French press coffee is dark and full bodied – assuming you made it correctly. Did your coffee end up murky, oily or with a scorched taste? You need a few pointers on making your next round of this delicious treat.

The Beans

For the best French press, you want dark roast or medium roast beans. A French roast is a nice choice. When you smell your beans, you should get a heady, full scent. Buy your beans whole, not ground, freeze-dried, or instant. 

Grind Your Beans

French press coffee requires a medium to coarse grind. If you beans are too fine, they won’t have enough surface area to interact with the water and you will miss out on the fresh oils in each bean. This is the element that brings out a beautiful scent and it’s a shame to miss out on it. 

The best thing to do is to keep your beans whole until you are ready to brew them. Add two to three tablespoons of beans to make ~3 cups of coffee to the grinder.

French Press and Water

There are 2 parts to a French press, a glass carafe with a dome top and a plunger that goes down the center. In order to make a round of French press coffee, you need to boil just over three cups of filtered or distilled water and then take it off the heat. Wait thirty seconds, then pour a quarter cup or so into the empty carafe, push the plunger all the way down and swish the water around a moment. This is to prevent any lingering coffee grounds, prevent any odd aftertaste and give your coffee the best flavor possible.

Make it “bloom”

Add your grounds to the bottom of the carafe and then pour another quarter to half cup to the beans and then stop. Let them sit for thirty seconds. This is called the bloom and allows the beans to open up and release any trapped carbon dioxide that can give your coffee an unpleasant taste. It should give off a beautiful coffee smell and look like wet soil.

Break it Up

Pour water up to the halfway mark, lifting the level of beans, then stop. Now you will see any clusters of beans that cling together and keep from getting completely saturated. Use a spoon or a stir stick to break up any chunks and ensure that all the beans are distributed equally. Wait another thirty seconds, then pour in the rest of the water.

Wait 4 Minutes

Add the top to the carafe but keep the plunger up. Now the beans have to steep and flavor the water, which means it is time to wait. Set a timer for 4 minutes and make a piece of toast or poach an egg to take your mind off the beans. 

Plunge and Pour

Push the plunger all the way down when the timer goes off. At this point, you can hold a small filter over your cup to catch any stray grounds or trust your press to do the filtering. Pour it into your mug and add any milk or sweetener into your beautiful, perfectly made cup.

Want to learn more? Check out our how to make an espresso article.