The French Press - my favorite way to brew perfect coffee

November 19, 2008


The French have given us a couple of good things -- wine, cheese, the Tour de France, funny berets, and the French Press method of making coffee. Let me explain why this is my favorite method of making coffee and why it's well worth trying.


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I've made over 5,000 cups of coffee during my life. But before you flinch, just realize that's only 1 cup of coffee a day for about 20 years. So it's not that extreme! Maybe you've even brewed more cups of coffee than I have. Frankly, I'm a light coffee drinker compared with most.



Anything done 5,000 times is worth doing right. So I've tried every technique out there to brew the perfect cup of coffee -- drip coffee, stand-alone espresso machines, stove-top espresso machines, percolators, boiling the beans in a pot and filtering, vacuum brewing, you name it.



But the French press method of brewing is by far my favorite.



Why?



Because it allows the beans to steep in hot water for 3-4 minutes. That's the secret to a great cup of coffee.



A drip coffee maker, like the kind everyone seems to have, puts the beans in contact with hot water for only a few seconds as it flows by. That's not long enough. The beans need to be steeping in the water for 3-4 minutes to release the most flavor. Usually your entire batch of drip coffee is done before then. A drip coffee maker also removes a lot of the taste of coffee through the filter. Ever tried unfiltered honey? Unfiltered beer? More flavor!



So what's my method for brewing the perfect cup of French Press Coffee?



I pour cold water into the French Press Coffee carafe and microwave it until it's boiling. I remove it and add 1 scoop of coffee per 6 oz water, plus one extra scoop for good measure. Stir it until the coffee grinds are mixed in. Cover with the circular metal filter top, but don't plunge it down. Just use it to cover the carafe so that the heat remains inside. Let sit 1 1/2 minutes, then stir. Return the top, wait another 1 1/2 minutes, then plunge it. I usually pour the coffee immediately into cups and the remainder into a glass carafe because anytime the water remains in contact with the beans beyond about 5 minutes it gets too murky and overbearing in flavor, in my opinion.



That's it!



Follow these directions and you'll have a perfect cup of coffee every time. All 5,000 times!



Click here to learn more about the French Press. And check out this French Press from Chazzano.



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