Coffee has been a staple for many of us. Most of us, to be very quite honest, have built our personalities on our love for coffee. Most of us say we cannot function without coffee first and that coffee runs in our veins. At the same time, with the current state of the world, our access to good coffee has been limited. Some have turned to home brewing to get that coffee fix that they badly need, and the French press is one of the most common home brewing devices that most of us have turned to. Other than the simplicity of its operation, it is also accessible from almost every department store, and not to mention it is affordable. Despite its popularity, some people still find themselves in the trial-and-error stage. Here are some quick tips you can use to achieve that great tasting home-brewed coffee using your French press.
Use the right grind size.
The French press is an immersion method of brewing, which means that the beans sit in the water and get the opportunity to extract for a longer period than in other methods. Because of this, we usually use a coarser grind to keep the extraction slow and avoid over-extraction. Using finer grounds will result in over-extraction and will us bitter coffee, let alone more acidic. Finer grounds might also make your brew a bit grittier as some of the grounds may pass through the mesh filter.
When getting your next batch of coffee beans, you can ask your supplier to grind it to coarse, or simply tell them you’re using French press. If you have the time and the equipment, you can grind the beans yourself right before brewing to ensure the freshness and coarseness of your coffee grounds.
Preheat your carafe.
Another step that a lot of people ignore when brewing coffee using their French press is preheating their carafe. Simply preheat your carafe by pouring boiling hot water into it. This will warm the French press and help your water temperature stay more consistent throughout the brewing process, therefore, allowing the grounds to infuse better with the water. Just remove the water before adding your ground coffee beans.
Use the recommended coffee-to-water ratio.
Some people complain that their coffee is too bitter sometimes while others say theirs is too stale. The secret really is to ensure that you use the right amount of coffee-to-water ratio. We use 1:18 when we brew ours at home, that is 1g of coffee grounds for every 18ml of water. Which means we use 22.22g of coffee grounds to make 400ml of coffee. If you want it a bit stronger, you can try 1:16 or 1:17.
Investing on a digital kitchen scale is a good idea since you can also use it to measure your water since the volume-to-weight ratio of water is 1:1, which means 1ml is also 1g. We use this coffee scale at home, and it comes with a timer to help us monitor our brew, which brings us to the next tip.
Time your brewing.
Brewing your coffee using the French press shouldn’t take too much time. Make sure that you only let it steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Brewing it for 4 minutes seems the ideal time for most people. Steeping it for too long will cause over-extraction and will give you bitter and more acidic batch of coffee.
You can use your phone and set a timer to ensure you do not overstep your coffee. The question most people as is when do you start the timer? Ideally, you start it the very moment the water comes in contact with the beans.
Bloom your coffee.
This tip is mostly unknown to people, and the people who know this sometimes skip this step. If you want the best tasting cup of French press coffee, it is best that you bloom your coffee when brewing. Blooming your coffee allows the carbon dioxide to escape from the grounds, and since carbon dioxide repels water, blooming allows more water to come into contact with the coffee itself so that it saturates properly and starts transferring all its flavor and oils into the water for the cup of coffee as you know it.
How do you bloom your coffee? It’s actually pretty easy. Simply pour water into your carafe, just enough to cover the coffee bed, give it a little stir, and let it sit for about 30 to 40 seconds. After so, pour the rest of the water you are planning to use to brew the coffee.
Use the right water temperature.
For optimum result when brewing your coffee, use hot water with a temperature of 90°–96° Celsius (195°–205° Fahrenheit). Colder water will result in flat, under-extracted coffee while water that is too hot will also cause a loss of quality in the taste of the coffee as it will over-extract and give you a much bitter flavor.
You can use a kitchen thermometer to ensure an accurate temperature. At the same time, if you do not have one, you can simply remove the water from the heat source after it’s boiled and let it sit for about 30 seconds before pouring into your carafe.
Following these steps seems like a lot of work, but trust me, it isn’t. Plus, it is totally worth it. You’ll notice a significant difference in the flavor and quality of your brewed coffee using your French press when you follow these steps.