How to Use a French Press: A Coffee Lover’s Guide

There are several different methods you can employ in making coffee. Many different factors play a role in the process, but the most important is the contraption you use. If you are tired of the same bland and stale taste you get from your auto-drip coffee maker, I would like to introduce you to a wonderful invention: the French Press.

The French Press is comprised of a glass, generally put into a metal frame with a handle. The size of the glass and frame depend on the amount of coffee you wish to make at one time. An 8-cup French Press is the perfect size for two people. Attatched to the lid is a rod which has a wire or nylon mesh filter. When you are ready to drink your coffee after the brewing (or “steeping”) time, the filter can be pushed down to the bottom to seperate the grinds from the coffee. Bodum is a very good brand of French Presses to consider buying.

Once you’ve picked out the perfect French Press, it’s time to consider coffee. I would suggest buying coffee beans from an independent roaster, or your local Starbucks if there are no privately- owned cafes in your area. This will ensure that the coffee you buy has been freshly roasted, as opposed to having been on a shelf for several months.

Once you pick out a freshly roasted coffee, it is very important to have it ground on the coarsest setting– you can tell your cafe attendant that you have a French Press, and need it ground accordingly. If you have your own grinder, set it to the coarsest option. The metal filter will not filter out fine grinds, so do not attempt to put pre-ground coffee (like Folgers) into your French Press.

OK, so now that you have both your French Press and your coffee, you are ready to experience the best coffee of your life. Pour the ground coffee to the line marked for the amount you wish to make. If your French Press doesn’t have any markings, then adhere to the 2 tbsp. per cup rule. (If you like your coffee stronger, just add more coffee; weaker than less.)

Boil water, and when it comes to a boil, take it off the eye to cool for about one minute. Putting boiling water into your French Press could damage it. Once your water has settled down, pour it directly into the grounds and put the lid on, but do not push the filter down just yet. Let the coffee steep for approximately four minutes, then remove the lid and give the coffee a stir with a wooden or plastic spoon. (Using a metal spoon can scratch the glass in your French Press). After you have given your coffee a stir, slowly press the filter down to the bottom, and pour your rich and creamy French Press coffee into your favorite mug. Enjoy!

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