French Press: From Average to Pro

Here's a few tips (for French Press lovers, not a french press tutorial) I've learned over the years to turn a good french pot into a great one.

1. Don't grind too coarse.

Everybody on the internet swears by "your coarsest setting". But this typically under extracts even at a 5 minute steep time. It's good, but it could be better (richer). Instead, grind medium or medium/coarse. If you don't have a burr grinder yet, it's a must for consistent flavor and brews.

2. Stir, Scoop

At 4 minutes, stir the grounds. See the foam formed on top? Take two spoons and scoop that out (just get most of it). Not only will your cup be cleaner but that foam is bitter, not tasty (same principle as espresso crema).

3. Stir, Wait 5 more minutes

Now...you press, right? WRONG. Here's where you enter the big leagues. Stir again, now wait ANOTHER 5 minutes. I know what you're thinking...won't that over extract?? No, because those medium grounds you just stirred will all float to the bottom of your press. The great thing about this? It takes away the sludge and silt often associated with french press, and makes both a cleaner AND richer cup. Now, some people actually like that sludge, I never have. If that's your thing, then ignore this whole tutorial. Maybe that should've been said at the beginning?

4. Press 1/4th of the way down, then pour

Now that the grounds are sitting at the bottom, press down just a little, not very far. NOW very slooooowly, pour into cup, not agitating those grounds at the bottom as you pour. Those grinds will stay at the bottom. This continues that clean cup we're going for.

Quick Reminders:
2 level ground tablespoons per 8 oz (measure grounds not beans, I recently made a pot for a friend that was a wee strong).
200-205 F (10 degrees less for darker roasts)
4 Minute steep
5 minute after stir.

Credit to James Hoffman (https://jimseven.com/articles/) where I first saw his stir and wait technique...though not sure if he got it from anywhere else.

This causes me to think...why aren't cafes in Topeka serving French Press? It's great to share with a couple friends, and adds an aesthetic appeal.

-Jonathan (Co-Owner, Coffee Education)

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