Author: Kim McFadden, coffee lover and co-founder of Bleu Laurel Wellness
First step is to assemble all the supplies and equipment that you will need:
• French Press
• Filtered Water
• Digital Scale
• Coffee Beans
• Electric Kettle or Tea Pot
• Burr Grinder
• Coffee Cup
Next, run the hot tap in your kitchen until the water gets hot. Fill up your French Press and coffee cup(s)/thermos with hot water. Put the lid back on. Let all your brewing and drinking equipment warm up. There is nothing worse than pouring nice hot water into a cold French Press. The temperature will immediately drop and will not result in a flavorful cup of coffee.
Weigh your water. I place my electric kettle on my scale and zero it out. I weigh out 600 grams of filtered water into my kettle. This is approximately 21 ounces of water. This is about 10% (about 2 ounces) more than I want to drink. I use 10% additional water as the beans will absorb it.
Weight out your beans. I place the hopper from the grinder on the scale and zero it out. I weigh out 40 grams of beans. This is about 6 Tablespoons of beans. I like light roast and drink it black so I use a 1:15 ratio. That means that for every one gram of bean I use 15 grams of water. The rule of thumb is to start with a 1:14 ratio and adjust for your taste. If you drink a dark roast and like cream and sugar you may want to start with 1:14. If it tastes weak decrease to 13 or go up to 15 if it’s too strong. This is why I use a digital scale. It’s difficult to make accurate adjustments if you don’t measure. Believe it or not, precision makes the taste. I have provided an approximation if you are using a measuring spoon instead of a scale but it is only approximate. I highly recommend investing in a kitchen scale.
Grind the beans. Grind the beans on the medium-coarse to coarse setting. They should look like coarse sea salt. Use a burr grinder (as opposed to a blade grinder) as it will uniformly grind the coffee beans into the desired coarse-ness. Blade grinders create varying-sized chunks which is undesirable. You can also use pre-ground coffee but it has to be ground like coarse sea salt – for French Press. Standard bags of pre-ground coffee are ground for drip coffee makers – much more finely that is needed for successful French Press coffee. If the coffee is ground too finely and used in a French Press the resulting coffee will be “muddy” tasting. Meaning that the there is a “stewed” flavor – where the flavors are not clearly differentiated and instead are merged into one, undefined, flavor. This “ruins” the coffee as you will not be able to taste all of the varying flavors of the coffee. These are the flavor descriptions that are on the bags, like, “rose, kiwi and pear.” Believe me. You definitely want to taste the rose, kiwi and pear. As opposed to it tasting “flat” or non-distinctive.
Heat the water. Yes. Boiling water should not, I repeat, should not be poured over the ground coffee in a French Press. The best extraction temperature of the water depends on the roast: light roast 205°F, dark roast 195-200°F. You should adjust the heat of the water to the type of coffee and how it tastes to you. The lighter the roast the hotter the water. If you like it, keep the temp the same. If not, try experimenting. Since I drink my light roast coffee black, I heat it to 205°F. What I actually do is heat it to boiling and let it cool for 30-45 seconds by swishing it around in the electric kettle with the lid open. Ba careful not to burn yourself. Steam hurts.
Bloom. Now it is time to empty the preheat water from the French Press. Next, add the grounds. Then, add about 20% of the hot water. Gently stir and allow to bloom – rest – for 30 seconds. Then, add the remainder of the hot water and gently swirl.
Steep. Set timer and let steep for 3 minutes. Each bean is a little different. When it tastes “thin” I increase the steep time. If it is too strong I will try reducing the steep time. Have fun and experiment. Each type of coffee is different and requires small adjustments. It’s something between an art and a science.
Plunge (gently). Place the French Press top on the vessel. Gently swirl the contents to send the grounds to the bottom and make the pressing easier. Go slow and easy or you may end up with grounds in your coffee or some of the precious elixir could end up on the counter. Fight coffee abuse! (ha, ha)
Empty the preheat water out of your coffee cup(s) or thermos. Pour out your coffee. Note: if making more than one cup do not leave in press. It will over-extract. Pour into pre-heated carafe/insulated cup.
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