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Mar 24, 2009 11:08 AM

using a french press? how hot can the water be?

hey everyone- i just started using a french press coffee maker... I'm just wondering how hot the water can be? can it be just under boiling (meaning it was boilng on the stove and i let it simmer before pouring?)

also can i use with loose tea?


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  1. I've always dropped it in just after taking it off heat, so it would be at a high simmer probably. Coffee brewers seem to recommend around 190-195deg F or so..

    1. You want the water just off the boil. Coffee extracts best at 195-205F. Boil the water and pour it straight into the FP; the glass and the coffee should drop the temp sufficiently. When in doubt, use a thermometer.

      Loose tea works fine in a FP. Different temps for different teas, though.

      6 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        My techniques has always been to bring water to boil. Remove from heat, grind beans and then pour. In the time it takes to grind beans the water has dropped from 212 to around 205. I have to agree that the temperature would drop sufficiently by the thermal loss to the glass and grinds.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Heating water drives off dissolved gases such as oxygen, boiling can make water taste flat.

          Coffee made with water that has been boiled will lack flavor compared to that made with water brought just short of boiling.

          1. re: Demented

            Demented, I challange you to a water throwdown.

            I seriously doubt you could taste any difference in water that was brought to 212 f and water that was brought to 200 f. Are you a super taster?

            I'm not talking about boiling for a long time.

            I do know that distilled water taste flat to me but that is a whole other ball game

            1. re: scubadoo97

              I'm with you scubadoo97.

              And what else are we supposed to do... put a candy thermometer in the water and take it off the heat when the temperature PRECISELY hits 205 degrees? We're talking coffee in the morning before you head to work or on a lazy Saturday morning. Sounds like someone's got too much time on their hands.

              1. re: HaagenDazs

                Room temperature water that's been brought to a full boil taste flat to me compared to water that has not been boiled.

                Coffee made with water that has been boiled and allowed to cool before being used to make coffee in a French press taste off. If the water is to hot the coffee is bitter, not hot enough and the resulting coffee is lacking.

                At one time an instant read thermometer lived in the cap of an old Whistler glass tea kettle. Don't need it any more, I can tell when the water is in the 195° to 205° by the way it looks and sounds. At least in the tea kettle I use.

                1. re: Demented

                  That's fair - I just think that people shouldn't worry too much about temperature differences of 5 or so degrees when they're making coffee in the morning using a french press (the best, cheapest method in my book!).

      2. I heat my water in a tea kettle and once it whistles, I pour it right into my FP. I make sure that the front is closed while it steeps, then trun the top around to pour the coffee through the screen after pressing down the plunger.

        1. Of course, if you store your French Press in the freezer, take it out immediately and dump boiling water into it, that would be bad..

          20 Replies
          1. re: grant.cook

            Sure, if you like exploding glass.

            1. re: Demented

              Hey now this could be better than the microwaved whole egg gag for the wait staff......


            2. re: grant.cook

              thanks for all the comments, I'm getting better at using the press and loving the coffee. certainly don't store the pres n the freezer- i do store the coffee in there, doesn't seem to be a problem so far!

              1. re: qwerty78

                the freezer is a good place for your coffee, but not so much for your press

                1. re: chuckl

                  Actually (while it's a different subject) I've heard just the opposite. The freezer isn't a good place for coffee.

                  1. re: HaagenDazs

                    The freezer is not the place for the coffee or the press. Seriously.
                    Your fridge is a big de-humidifyer sucking the essential oils from your beans. Put them in a tin in the cupboard or if they came in a re-sealable vac pack that works well also.
                    This is the same way to store tea and many stores like Teavana sell tins but there is no reason not to recycle an airtight tin from another food product.

                    1. re: Fritter

                      Yeah - I keep mine in those food saver vacuum bins and just suck out the air every time.

                      1. re: Fritter

                        Your Fridge and your Freezer are two separate beasts. The former is absolutely the wrong place for your coffee as it will act like baking soda and absorb whatever flavors and odors lurk behind those doors.

                        The Freezer, on the other hand, is a perfectly fine place to store your whole bean coffee.

                        1. re: onocoffee

                          "The Freezer, on the other hand, is a perfectly fine place to store your whole bean coffee"

                          In most cases I strongly dissagree. There is one exception. If you buy a sealed bag and store it in the freezer until you need it. After coffee is opened it should never go back into the freezer for several reasons.
                          Coffee will absorb flavors from your freezer just like baking soda.
                          Coffee when frozen will pick up moisture and when it thaws the beans will sweat. Not good!
                          Additionally as long as we are talking about a typical home fridge, the fridge and the freezer are connected by baffles in most cases. Most fridges have a single compressor so when you adjust your temperature controls you are adjusting a baffle between the fridge and the freezer.
                          Odors from the fridge often migrate into the freezer.

                          1. re: Fritter

                            Fritter -
                            While you may "strongly disagree" the results I've tested bear out differently.

                            Coffee will not "absorb" flavors as they would in the fridge because of the temperature. It simply is too low for aromatics to leech out of other foods as well as being absorbed.

                            Coffee does not "pick up moisture" when removed from the freezer. Quite simply, the moisture content (roughly between 0.5% to 3%) is too low for any sort of moisture to form on "thawing" beans. Perhaps in areas of high humidity this can come into play but for most parts of the world, it simply will not happen.

                            If you are seeing some sort of "moisture" on beans, chances are that the "moisture" is the oils being driven from within the bean due to being burned during the roasting process - a very common and typical condition for "French Roast" coffees.

                            1. re: onocoffee

                              "Coffee will not "absorb" flavors as they would in the fridge because of the temperature. It simply is too low for aromatics to leech out of other foods as well as being absorbed."

                              So how is it that sometimes ice cubes get a funky taste to them?

                              1. re: monku

                                If you'll notice, unwrapped and unbagged ice cubes shrink due to evaporation. What you are tasting is the concentration of the remaining solids in the water.

                              2. re: onocoffee

                                Coffee will not "absorb" flavors as they would in the fridge because of the temperature.

                                You have to do what works for you however I simply dissagree. Coffee beans are porous and will easilly absorb odors in the freezer if they are not sealed air tight. If you have a well sealed bag or container and you freeze beans one time freezing is fine. I don't think beans should ever be stored this long but I would say if you must store them for a month then the freezer would be preferable to shelf storage.
                                In and out of the freezer? No, absolutly not. Coffee beans will develop some condensation when thawing. Oils are present on the surface of many beans. Take a close look at some medium roasted kona beans. They are coated with oil. Just for fun here's a shot I took of some "cherries" being processed in Kona and the cherry "hut".

                                1. re: Fritter

                                  Sorry, but a true "medium roasted bean" will not exhibit the surface oils that you claim - unless it is very old (over a month from roasting). Oils are driven to surface through over roasting or old age.

                                  I've tested and sampled coffees in frozen storage for over six years and there has been no evidence to support your claim that "freezer odors" will compromise coffee.

                                  And there has been very little evidence of any sort of condensation forming on coffee beans outside of extremely humid environments. Whether the sample size has been sub-one pound or out of five pound lots left sitting on the counter in the warm environment. The moisture content of roasted coffee is extremely low and any level of condensation that would be of consequence would produce clumping and swelling of the ground coffee - affecting the extraction and resultant flavor.

                                  You can disagree all that you want. However, no evidence bears out your position.

                                  1. re: onocoffee

                                    You can disagree all that you want. However, no evidence bears out your position.

                                    There is really plenty of evidence if you look for it. However most tests have one universal common denominator in regards to freezing. The sample batches are frozen for variable times but they are never pulled in and out of the freezer.
                                    I see no reason to store beans beyond a month unless you are buying green beans. Here is a multi-part article that some may find interesting. While I'm not suggesting it is absolute I do believe it is a good indicator.





                                    Another article;


                                    1. re: Fritter

                                      Actually, I'm very familiar with that particular experiment and know Tim personally.

                                      As those results bear out, longer-term storage of roasted coffee is best kept in a freezer. Also, you'll notice in the 4th week trials Oling is still stating theory regarding the coffee being negatively affected, meaning that they still have nothing conclusive regarding.

                                      We've been working with freezing coffee for storage for just over six years. The results we've borne out have been rather positive and just don't support the reasons you've stated above for not doing it (i.e. condensation and flavor absorption).

                                      Without a doubt, coffee quality will be best if kept in air tight containers and used within two weeks of roasting. And while it certainly is ideal to use all your coffee within a week, it's not always practical.

                                      1. re: onocoffee

                                        We are clearly reading the test results differently and that's fine. With out some differences of opinion most of this would be very mundane. Almost niversally on theese tests, and you can find many, the consensus is;
                                        Never store beans more than a month
                                        Never re-freeze beans
                                        Beans do form condensation when thawing
                                        Beans will absorb flavors if not properly sealed.

                                        The base of my dissagreement here is that you seem to be painting in absolutes with a very broad brush. If you have a dedicated freezer with nothing but coffeee there is minimal chance of flavor absorption. If you are like most of us and have a SXS or upright freezer/fridge that operates with a single compressor then flavor absorption can become a very real problem. Try sticking some fish in your fridge, wait an hour, open freezer. The results are pretty clear.
                                        It may be interesting to note that beans are so porous smugglers have attempted to hide contraband in coffee being imported. I would say the same about humidity. Big difference between NOLA and Flagstaff.
                                        I think this sums up the article rather nicely.

                                        "As a conclusion for the entire project it seems that it’s better to store your coffee on the shelf out of sunlight and in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks rather than storing it in the same container (unopened) in the freezer and the fridge"

                                        For storing longer;
                                        "if you are going to store it for 4 weeks or longer (for some strange reason) you should store it in the freezer"

                                        In either event if you ever make it to Mi drop me a line. I'll buy the coffee. It's always nice to meet some one else passionate about the subject.
                                        Oh and I agree, it's not always practical to use beans in a few weeks. I sometimes take in 5# bags from Hawaii. Regrettably my consumption sky rockets when I do and I turn into a total caffeine addict.

                              3. re: Fritter

                                Humidity changes the flavour of coffee rather significantly; taking it in and out of the freezer is effectively messing with the humidity at any given time. It's impossible to freeze *any* food with no effect, coffee isn't special. I agree that if you freeze it, you can only do it once. Pull it out, and you're done.

                                The real answer is to buy only enough coffee that you can drink it within about 2 weeks. (1 week is better, obviously, but 2 is good enough.)

                                Is it really such a chore to go get new, fresh coffee every 2 weeks? That's the best way to ensure quality. If you don't want to put in even that minimal amount of effort, why even bother with a grinder and whole beans, anyway? You're just wasting your time. :/

                                And and both deliver. I get my stuff from Transcend because I used to live in Edmonton and trust the quality of their roast and expertise. The prices are pretty good, too, even with shipping. :)

                              4. re: onocoffee

                                Freezer is okay for long term storage not for daily use.

                    2. I recomend the Sweet Maria's french press brewing fact sheet at:

                      Be warned though, if you start wandering around that website and next thing you know you will have a collection of brewing methods, a roaster, and a collection of beans from around the globe!

                      2 Replies