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French Press Coffee [moved from General Topics]

The coffee we get in a restaurant made in a French press always seems to taste better than other brewing methods. What grind of coffee do you use for it? Same as any standard grind? Any suggestions for a particular French press? Thanks

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  1. I use Bodum and grind coffee fresh. My grinder is Cuisinart set for medium. Make sure to use generous amount of coffee.

    1. You want a slightly coarser grind than you would use for drip coffee. Smaller grinds would get stuck in the press. As for brands to keep an eye out for, I have only used Bodum and been rather happy.

      1. I use a cheap one that I got for $15 that comes with a timer and I love it. I can leave it at work and I have clumsy moments so if I break it or someone borrows it when I'm not there, there's no stressing about it. Definitely go for a coarser grind. If you buy the beans at a coffee shop they'll ask you what kind of coffee maker you have or if you go to a bulk store/grocery store with a grinding machine, there's a setting with a picture and label for french press too.

        If you don't use it for coffee often and it's well cleaned you can use it for loose tea too, it's nice.

        1. Just so you know, it also makes excellent cold-brewed coffee. Stir in the coffee and water at night and press it in the morning. Pour on ice with milk and it's fantastic, plus you don't water down the coffee as the ice melts.

          1 Reply
          1. re: katecm

            What a great tip, katecm! I will try it tonight. I love cold brewed coffee!

          2. I only make coffee in the FP. I love the body you get and the richer taste.

            Use 14 grams of coffee for every eight ounces water. (I also usually assume the pot will eat an extra four ounces water and 7 grams coffee)

            My method:
            -Preheat FP by pouring hot tap water in.
            -Grind fresh coffee (between coarse and drip).
            -Heat water to 205 degrees.
            -Empty water from FP and add grinds and hot water.
            -Set timer for 4-5 minutes (depending on full pot or half pot for 32 ounce pot)
            -After one minute take a spoon and break the crust of coffee that is floating
            -When timer ends, plunge press slowly.
            -Pour and enjoy!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Klunco

              Klunco, am curious about your stir after 1 minute step. Why not stir right away? Thanks!

              1. re: Klunco

                I'm curious, why would you pre-heat the FP? Mine get real hot, real quick when I pour in the almost boiling water.

                1. re: chileheadmike

                  You should preheat the FP because the biggest drawback of the FP method is heat loss throughout the brewing process. Coffee should ideally be brewed between 195-205 and really at 200. Without preheating the French press your temp will drop much quicker. Even with preheating if you take a thermometer, you'll see the FP loses heat quickly over 4-5 minutes. In addition to preheating, Bodum makes FP cozies. I haven't used one but they're not a bad idea for the coffee obsessed. Why not just pour in boiling 212 degree water then and let the heat loss warm up the FP? Because the boiling water will burn the coffee grounds.

                  As far as the stir after 1 minute, that is just a personal preference. I tested stirring immeadiately, stirring at the end, not stirring just plunging, stirring with one minute to go, stirring halfway through and found that stirring after one minute tasted the best to me. YMMV. I've read about all sorts of times to stir so I just tested to see which I liked best. Try a couple of them and trust your taste.

                  Like most things, there is no exact. Play around with grind/steep time/temp/amount of coffee etc. and see what you like the best.

              2. Ringing in as a big fan of the FP.

                I'm of the "stir-as-you-pour-in-the-water" school of thought. I use a little whisk, actually.

                1. I make myself a cup of FP every morning. I read advice somewhere that said to leave the plunging mechanism out of the pot until it has brewed for four minutes (and you've stirred it, of course after pouring). Not sure if it makes a difference, but I do it anyway just to let it cool slightly so I can drink it while getting ready for work.
                  A friend who had FP in Europe told me the waitperson plunged it up and down repeatedly when she brought the Press to the table. I don't do that.

                  1. Fundamentally French Press is a pot with a built in strainer. The ideal grind would be a bit coarser than the strainer with a minimum of finer particles. The fine stuff passes through the strainer and leaves a bit of sludge in your cup.

                    As to the pot itself, the trade offs are cost, durability (glass can break), ease of cleaning the plunger, style etc. Camping stores probably sell the most durable versions, with a tough plastic or stainless (or even expensive titanium) pot.