French press coffee maker does more than churn out a mug of coffee. It is one of those brilliant inventions made to spice up our lives and mornings with delicious cups of coffee. Sadly, a lot of people do not have this experience. Despite brewing with the French press, the result falls remarkably short of what this fantastic piece of innovation ought to produce.
French-pressed coffees come with loads of health benefits. They contain a healthy amount of caffeine that performs wonders in our bodies. Are you genuinely curious about French press coffee maker? Or you want to try new methods of coffee making. Follow the guidelines in this article. And you would have a thick, flavorful mug of coffee.
What is a French Press Coffee Maker?
Two Italian designers, Giulio Moneta and Attilio Calimani, patented the French press in 1929. Over the years, it has become an invaluable kitchen device used for more than one purpose. Mainly, it is a small portable device used to brew coffee in a fast and easy way.
French press takes a hands-on approach to brew coffee, unlike other coffee pots. Yet, it is simple and less expensive. The product package includes a plunger, a carafe, and an in-built filter.
Parts of French Press Coffee Maker
- Carafes: They vary in size, depending on the serving model. Some are just enough to serve a person, while others can hold two to four brews of coffee. They also come in different forms and shapes. Though most carafes are glasses, there are plastic and metal ones made in cylindrical or kettle shape.
- Plunger: The plunger is used to squeeze coffee from the brew. It sticks out of the lid, and it has a handle at the top. The plunger is pulled up and down with the cover in place to filter the brew.
- Filter: The filter is the part of the French press that squeezes the coffee grounds before serving. Advisably, you should clean the filter screen after using it.
- Disk: The disk has a wire around it that stops coffee grounds from seeping through the sides of the filter as the plunger is pressed.
How does French Press Coffee Maker Work?
French press involves immersion where coffee grounds and hot water are steeped in the carafe for few minutes. Then, the filter is used to allow natural oil to go through and prevent coffee grounds from seeping into the mug of coffee.
The immersion process allows even extraction. However, if the water boils too, your coffee will come out with a burnt taste, and if it is too cool, you will have a watered-down and flavorless coffee.
Tools Required for Making French Press Coffee
Before we go into the actual process of brewing coffee with French press, here is a list of some things you need and why you need them;
- Water: Use filtered water that you can drink to make your coffee. This would remove any pollutants that will affect the outcome of your brew, especially the taste.
- Coffee beans: For the best outcome, use quality, freshly-roasted coffee beans.
- Coffee grinder: Most pre-ground might be oxidized and flavorless. While it might be more tasking to grind your beans, you would be rewarded with a fresh aromatic coffee. Burr grinder is particularly recommended for this purpose because you can tweak the grind size to your preference.
- Scale: This is used to measure the ground coffee. It would help you determine the exact amount of ground coffee to use to get good coffee consistently.
How to Brew Coffee with French Press Coffee Maker
- Heat the water
Heat the water to a temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, use hot water to heat and clean the French press before using it.
- Measure your coffee
The recommended coffee to water ratio is 1:16, which means two cups of water and six tablespoons of ground coffee. Also, it is advisable to avoid grinding your coffee too fine. Coarsely ground coffee results in slower extraction recommended by experts. For the best outcome, grind the whole beans a few minutes before brewing.
- Mix ground coffee and hot water
Pour ground coffee into the carafe and shake it gently to spread out the grounds. Put the carafe on a scale and adjust it to zero. Pour hot water into the carafe quickly, aiming to wet all the coffee grounds until the scale matches the coffee to water ratio (16 ounces of water).
- Stir and time the steep
Stir the mixture to make sure all the coffee grounds absorbed water. Then, put the lid on the carafe and pull the plunger up to maintain the temperature while brewing the coffee. Leave it steep for not more than four minutes.
- The crust
After opening the carafe’s lid, you will see a clump of ground coffee crust on the surface of the coffee. What you do with the crust would determine what the taste and texture of your coffee would turn out to be. To get a thick body coffee, gently split the clump and stir. If you prefer a light body coffee, scoop all the chunks of coffee on the surface and clean them off.
- Press the plunger
Put the lid back on the carafe and press the plunger down gently. Here, you can find out if the grind is too coarse or too fine. If the plunger goes down with little to no resistance, then the grind is too coarse, and if it is hard to push the plunger down, the grind is too fine.
- The last portion
Do not empty the carafe into your mug. The liquid coffee at the lower part of the carafe usually has a high concentration of silt. You might want to slow down on gulping all the coffee in your mug as well.
A Guide to Making Cold Brew with French Press
Cold-brewed coffees are 67% less acidic and more flavorful compared to hot coffees. The low acid allows the flavors to become more prominent in the coffee’s taste. Listed below are steps on how to make a cold brew;
- Pour 4 ounces of ground coffee (coarse) into the French press.
- Add 3 cups of water with normal temperature onto the grounds gently.
- Stir to make sure all the grounds absorb water.
- Leave it for 14-16 hours at an average temperature.
- Press and pour into a lidded container for storage in the refrigerator.
- Now, you have a cold brew concentrate. When serving, pour one part of the coffee concentrate and add one part of water.
- Add ice.
- Add sugar or cream then, stir.
Mistakes People Make When Brewing with French Press Coffee Maker
- Over-steeping your coffee
The ideal time for steeping the coffee grounds into hot water is 3-4 minutes. If the mix exceeds 4 minutes, the coffee keeps brewing, and you will have a bad case of over-extraction, which makes the coffee turn out bitter.
- Straining too hard
This is one of the mistakes people make, which produces terrible coffee. While other things like fruits need to be squeezed to obtain the required juice or liquid, coffee grounds are not one of those things. Perhaps, people do this in hopes of maximizing the amount of coffee they can obtain. Straining your coffee grounds will make your coffee turn out bitter.
- Not using the proper water
Arguably, different water produces different results, especially when it comes to coffees. Soft water such as water from taps may not be a good choice because the minerals have been removed. Filtered water has its mineral intact such as magnesium. This helps to produce a strong coffee with a healthy dose of caffeine.
- Using blade grinders
Blade grinders are not ideal for coffee making. It destroys any flavor the beans might produce. If you invest in a good quality grinder like the burr grinder, you’ll thank yourself for it.
- Using pre-ground coffee
Most people opt for the French press majorly because it is not time-consuming. And to save more time, they go for pre-ground coffee. Pre-ground coffees are not entirely wrong options, but if you want to see what the French press can, you will have to grind the bean coffee just before using it.
- Not blooming your coffee
This is not exactly a mistake because most people are not aware of the technique. Blooming makes your coffee richer and thick. The method is simple. Pour little hot water onto the coffee grounds and leave it for about 30 seconds before pouring more water.
- Not cleaning after use
Not cleaning your French press after getting a delicious cup from it is a big mistake. How? You might ask. The answer is your next coffee will not taste so great, and if you keep up the habit, you do yourself a great disservice.
How to Use French Press Coffee Maker for Best Results
- Measure coffee and water with a scale: Stop the guesswork! Use a scale to achieve a consistent result that suits your taste.
- Use a good grinder: A good grinder will prevent the coffee from becoming over-extracted. Consider investing in a burr grinder.
- Warm the French press: Pour hot water into the French press before using it to make coffee.
- Use hot water: Pour hot water on the coffee grounds—hot water, not boiling water. You might have to use a thermometer to make sure the temperature stays within 195 – 205 Fahrenheit.
- Bloom: Pour some water on the grounds to prep them for brewing and leave it for some seconds before filling up the carafe. This is called blooming
- Take notes: Note down your recipe to get a correct ratio and grind that suits you. If you don’t like how a brew turned out, make changes till you get it right.
- Good water: The water you use also has a bearing on the outcome. Use filtered water so that the minerals in it would allow the flavor to shine through.
- Four minutes rule: Brew your coffee within four minutes to avoid burnt coffee.
- Take the carafe off the French press after brewing to prevent over-extraction.
What else can you do with your French Press?
If you assumed French Press could only be used to make coffee, you are wrong. As it turns out, that piece of machine can do a lot more than brew coffee, earning its mark as a worthy investment in anyone’s books. Read on to find other creative uses of French Press.
- Whipped cream
Ditch the wire whisk. No more trying and trying to whisk the cream till it becomes light and fluffy. French press offers a shortcut that saves your time. Do yourself a favor and use the French press for a tasty whipped cream. All you have to do is pour heavy cream into the carafe. Stop halfway; do not fill it to the brim. Then, pump the lever up and down quickly, and you would have your whipped cream within 5 minutes.
If you love cappuccinos and want them clean and fast, then the French press is for you. Unlike whisking, the French press takes less time and does not strain your wrist. Pour milk into the carafe, put it in the microwave to warm (not boil), place the lid, filter, and plunger on the carafe, and pump quickly. Stop when the milk becomes frothy.
- Rinse quinoas and other grains
Rinsing quinoa with a sieve comes with the risk of losing some of the kernels down the drain; with the French press, no more risks. Pour your grain into the carafe, swirl it gently till you are sure all grains are washed. Use the plunger to hold the grains in place and drain water from it.
- Strain Vegetables
Like most people, you may find it hard to drain water from your vegetable after washing. Your French press is helpful in this area too, and you will get good results. Just put the vegetables into the carafe and press the plunger gently until the water is drained to your satisfaction.
- Infuse oils
Want to make flavored oil? Put spices and herbs into your Carafe and add oil. Press the plunger at intervals to allow the mixture to blend properly. After some time, press the plunger down and pour the oil into its container. This would give you clear, flavored oil.
- Mix drinks
To mix drinks with your French press, simply pour the ingredients of your desired drink into the carafe, place the lid on it and pump the plunger to mix.
- Make tea
Everyone knows tea ranks above coffees as the most popular drink. Well, the French press is equally capable of making good tea. What’s more? You can make tea using the same process it takes to make coffee, except you are using tea leaves in place of coffee grounds.
Place the tea leaves in the carafe and add hot water. Let it steep for some minutes then, use the plunger and filter to keep the tea leaves from getting into your cup. Using the French press allows you to sip your tea without those irritable leaves.
- Re-hydrate dried foods
No doubt, dried foods are a nutritious addition to your recipe. The only downside is that you have to soak them in water before cooking. Your French press comes in handy in this situation. Put the dried food in the carafe, add hot water and place the lid over it. Leave it for three to six minutes. Then, use the filter to hold the food down and drain the water.
- Infuse water
An excellent way to stay healthy and adequately hydrated is by drinking water infused with herbs. A French press can be useful instead of costly infuser bottles. All you have to do is put the herbs in the French press, add filtered water and cover it. Refrigerate the French press preferably, throughout the night. Press the filter and drain the water into your desired container.
A Step by Step Guide on Cleaning Your French Press
Cleaning your French press will not only ensure that you keep getting tasty coffee consistently from your machine, but it is also necessary for long-term maintenance. Here are some instructions on how to clean the French press.
- Get rid of the coffee grounds
To do this, place the carafe above your garbage and tap its bottom gently to remove most of the grounds. Probably, a small portion of the grounds will be stuck. Use a spatula or any similar tool to remove them. Avoid using anything metallic that might scratch the carafe.
To make sure there are no grounds left anywhere, rinse the carafe and plunger thoroughly. Take the French press apart, rinse the three filter disks and wash your carafe with soap and a soft sponge.
Use a soft sponge to scrub all the parts of your French press. This includes the filters and plunger. Then, rinse them thoroughly.
- Air dry
Place the parts of the French press on a rack and leave it there to dry. Ensure the location is adequately ventilated.
The French press is not exactly a complex machine. First, put the carafe back in its holder. Then, put the retaining disk in its place using the screw that joins it to the plunger; place the filter screen on it and the spring disk. The proper order should be; retaining disk at the bottom followed by mesh filter with the spring disk at the top. Once this is done correctly, use the screws to attach the lid and rod duo to the disk and filter.
What are the Benefits of Using French Press?
French press coffee has an ample amount of caffeine that is beneficial to our body functions. Caffeine reduces the possibility of cardiovascular and heart disease mortality. French press coffee does not require adding chemicals or going through an extensive process of making your coffee. Neither does it involve minerals that affect the taste.
Brewing with French press produces coffee in a pure form, and a homemade coffee guarantees the best taste. Unlike other methods, brewing with French press is eco-friendly and less expensive.
Taking coffee in its pure form without any mixture will protect you against ailments like Alzheimer’s and gradual cognitive aging. It also reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. The benefit of coffee extends to the liver as it helps to fight cirrhosis and prevent malignant hepatoma (liver cancer). Lastly, coffee is a potent anti-cancer agent.
Other benefits of using the French Press are highlighted below;
- Full-bodied Coffee
French press does not use a paper filter to brew coffee. This preserves the oil in the coffee beans, and the French press coffee-making process allows oil to make its way into the final brew. It also gives the coffee a heavy feel in the mouth.
Due to its small size, you can carry the French press along with you if you decide to go camping. There are specific models suitable for traveling. They are made of durable plastic. Additionally, the French press is operable without electricity.
- Simple to use and maintain
Admittedly, you have to learn some techniques to get the best results from using French press. On average, the device is simple to use and maintain. The processes are grind, pour and extract. Unlike a drip coffee-maker, a French press is easy to clean once the parts are dissembled.
Aside from being inexpensive, French press coffee is worth the investment. Reasonably, it is wiser to buy a French press coffee maker, which gives you access to quality coffee in the comfort of your home. You can also enjoy the exact taste you love rather than depend on whatever brew the coffee shops can offer.
French press coffee maker is more than just a device. It’s one of those inventions designed to make our lives less stressful and more fulfilling. This article highlights how to use the French press to make rich and strong coffees that brighten our day. Do you own a French Press Coffee Maker? If you do, how has the experience been so far?