Maybe you’ve always wanted one, and you suddenly decided to take the plunge, or perhaps you got it randomly at a gift exchange. No matter how it came to be in your possession, you’ve found yourself gazing at this fancy-looking contraption and realized that you have no idea how to use a French press coffee maker.
The French press indeed is gorgeous in its simplicity, but sometimes simplicity in design doesn’t mean user-friendly. The French press has barely any parts to it so, how are you supposed to figure out what to do just by looking at it?
Well, you don’t have to give up on your homebrew dreams just yet. This article hopes to give you a better understanding of your new appliance–how to best use it so that you can live out your homey, café-like-feels of life without worrying about ruining it or setting any major burn injuries!
What Is a French Press?
Simply put, a French press is another device that brews coffee. It is a pot that contains a plunger or piston that is made from a mesh which is used to push the coffee grounds to the bottom of the beaker once the coffee has been brewed and is ready to be poured out.
Around the world, the French press is known by different names, and among these are press pot, coffee press, and cafetière à piston. But no matter how it is referred to, the best thing about it is that it gives you a great brew of coffee despite being a simple tool. Hence, it’s a great device that most coffee lovers will love to have at home.
What Makes a Good French Press?
According to Worldatlas.com, coffee is the second most-traded commodity by industrialized nations. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are tons of different brands of French press on the market today. And we know for a fact that not all these devices are created equal. So, what exactly makes a good French press?
One main key to look out for across the board is the plunger or piston. You’re going to want to look for the best quality. Keep in mind that the mesh is porous, so you don’t want any gunk getting into your brewed coffee. Models with plastic or rubber seals around the filter also tend to break up over time and infiltrate your coffee.
Hence, it’s best to choose a French press that has a metal mesh filter, which also doubles as a seal. Some units have replacements which you can buy separately.
How to Use a French Press Coffee Maker?
Now that you have a better idea of what the French press is, the next logical step is to figure out how it works. You don’t have to stress about it too much as the process isn’t that complicated. To prove it, here’s how to use a French press coffee maker:
Step 1: You can brew yourself a cup of cafe-quality coffee by placing coarsely ground beans in the empty beaker of your French press.
Step 2: Add hot water using a proportion of 30g of coffee grounds is to 500ml of water. Of course, this step will require some experimentation based on how strong you like your coffee.
Step 3: Leave to brew for about two to four minutes. This is the regular brewing time for a French press.
Step 4: When the time’s up, carefully press the mesh plunger or piston to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee and to keep them at the bottom of the beaker. Don’t worry about the mesh plunger or piston compressing the coffee grounds as most French presses were designed to leave ample space at the bottom of the beaker when they’re fully extended.
Step 5: Pour the brewed coffee into a cup and enjoy!
Yes, brewing coffee using a French press is simple as that. But wait, there’s more!
Tips for Better Caffeine Experience
Here are some tips on how to get a better coffee experience:
- Sit still, look pretty
If you want a stronger coffee, bordering the bitter taste, then let the brewed coffee sit still in the beaker with the already used grounds for a few more minutes. You can also experiment with the brewing time and adjust according to your preference.
- The coarser, the better
A French press works best with coarser grinds of coffee beans. The mesh will be able to filter the grounds better, providing you with nothing but a smooth brewed coffee. A better example of the consistency is the kosher salt.
- May the force be with you
If the coffee grounds you have are too fine, which means lower permeability, then you’ll need more force to push the plunger. However, there is a risk that the grounds will seep through or around the sides of the press filter and then up into your brewed coffee.
- Tea, please!
Perhaps, coffee isn’t your thing, and for some reason, you’ve confusingly ended up with a French press. Well, what about tea then? Yes, the French press can also be used to brew tea in place of a tea infuser. Just follow the same steps as mentioned above, and you are sure to enjoy a good cup of tea in no time.
However, this works best on tea that doesn’t require boiling of water such as the Masala Chai tea or those that need to be brewed longer such as the Chinese tea, especially as these tea leaves can be reused.
Now, if after a couple of tea sessions you are suddenly up for a coffee break, then feel free to use the French press alternately. Just don’t forget to clean the French press after brewing tea, so you won’t ruin the taste of the coffee you are going to brew and vice versa.
Like any other gadget, using a French press is easy once you get the hang of it. All you need is patience and a whole lot of love for coffee or tea. Now, how about that 10-minute caffeine break?