You have experienced a scrumptious cup of coffee at a friend’s place and you wonder how he can make it without any expensive coffee machine?
I have been there done that and later was rescued by a Secret Santa French Press gift from one of my colleagues at work.
In this article, I will guide you on how you can improve your coffee making skills only by a cheap French Press. You will get to know different types of Ground Coffee and the one that suits best with your French Press you have.
Table of Contents
Know your French Press
A French Press is also known as a coffee plunger and is a simple tool to brew an amazing cup of coffee at home. French Press has historical mention and is believed to be around for more than a century now.
It is a cylindrical pot with a plunger and filter disc at its bottom. The disc presses hot water through ground coffee creating an earthy, rich taste in the cup.
With modern advancements, this kitchen tool has improved and we have various brands in the market that claims to provide ease of use and a perfect brew without much hassle. Before I can help you in finding the best type of coffee for your French Press you need to help yourself to figure out the type you have at home or want to buy.
General available French Press belongs to the following categories :
- Made from Borosilicate Glass.
- Made of Stainless Steel.
- Ceramic or Stoneware Press.
- Made of food-grade plastic.
The capacity of most of them ranges in between 4 to 8 cups.
The basic components of a French Press constitute of
1)Plunger: The French Press lid has a handle attached on top of its rod which extends down through your French press and attaches to the disc and filter at the bottom. This is the movable component and the one that brings life to the most delicious coffee you’ll brew.
2)Filter: The bottom of the plunger is attached to a metallic mesh consisting of multiple filters on a disc. The sole task of the filter is to keep your ground coffee stay at the bottom and you can easily consume the brew. I prefer the filters which are easy to clean since this is a reusable component.
Types of Coffee for French Press
If you are brewing coffee there are few factors that you need to consider to get perfect results. To broadly classify they are
- Type of Coffee Roast you are using
- Type of Ground Coffee
Types of Coffee Roast
Light Roast: This coffee type is light brown and they are roasted in a way to preserve the unique character of the bean. The bean has bright flavors and has less oil on its surface. The beans are mildly roasted and do not reach the “first crack”, a stage where the vapors from within break the outer wall creating a cracking noise.
Medium Roast: This type of coffee is brown and is roasted a little beyond its “first crack” stage. This variant is slightly darker and sweet also holding the unique natural flavor profile. To an average coffee drinker, this is the most approachable flavor, and you can definitely give it a try with your French Press.
Dark Roast: This coffee type is dark brown in color and is roasted to a level that it loose its original characteristic flavor however, this does not make it bland or boring. The extremes of roasting impart to it what the coffee lovers call the caramel-y chocolate flavor. Dark Roast coffee has no oil on its surface and it reaches a “double crack” stage.
I highly suggest trying a dark roast variant at a shop first. If you like it feel free to buy a bag and use it to create your brew as per the process described in this article.
Types of Coffee Grind
This is the most crucial part and can play a huge role in creating a perfect French Press brew. You have to be particular about the grind size as it has a direct impact on how your coffee turns out.
|TURKISH||The finest grind, as fine as kitchen flour|
|ESPRESSO MACHINE||Fine grind, slightly finer than table salt|
|AEROPRESS||It is slightly finer than sand particles|
|SOUTH INDIAN FILTER||This type is native to the south of India.It is medium to fine grind, suitable for coffee filters with small holes in it|
|MOKA POT||Medium fine texture for stovetop espresso machines, also good for making a single cup pour-over|
|COFFEE FILTER||Medium-Coarse grind like rough sand. It is used for drip filter machines|
|INVERTED AEROPRESS||Medium coarse grind, suitable for 1-2 minute brew times.|
|COLD BREW||Coarse grind which helps in easy filtration with great taste|
|FRENCH PRESS||Very coarse grind, quite similar to sea salt|
If you have tried out instant coffee from the supermarket you would clearly know its a wrong choice to use with your French Press. You have to use a much coarser ground coffee or you can use coffee beans and grind it at home. You can read about various coffee grounds and its usage in this article. Make sure not to use very coarse grind as it may clog the filter
How to make good French Press coffee
To create a perfect fresh brew all you need is a medium grind of coffee and a French Press. The detailed steps are
- Place the French Press on a flat, dry surface. Hold the handle firmly, then pull out the plunger from the top lid
- For 200ml (approx 1 cup) coffee add a heaping tablespoon (~8 grams) of coffee to the pot
- Pour one cup of almost boiling water to the French Press and stir gently
- Let the coffee stand for 3-4 minutes and then use the plunger to exert steady pressure by pressing it down slowly.
- Filter out the brewed liquid into a cup carefully letting the coffee ground stick to the filter disc.
- Remove the plunger and the filter and wash and dry before the next use
Coffee to Water ratio
This is a very confusing topic for beginners while brewing their first cup.
A lot of research has been done and the SCAA, the Specialty Coffee Association of America, has come out with its golden ratio, which is approximate. 1:18. This means if you are using 1000 ml of water the suggested coffee weight is 55 grams.
Though it’s quite subjective and might vary from person to person you can come up with ratio to your liking after experimenting a few times.
Coffee Filter Substitute
If you have still not decided on buying a French Press and want to do a basic brewing at home, you can easily do so by some kitchen hacks.
- Paper Coffee Filters: These are the most closely relatable filters out there in markets that can function like a French Press. The best part about them is that they are economical and are easily available. You can give it a try without adding a burden to your pocket.
- Paper Towels: This is yet another classical way to hack a cup of brew without a good French Press. You can use a paper towel to sieve the coffee ground after brewing it. The only thing of concern is to use it carefully.
- Tea Bags: This may sound a bit weird but actually is a very good idea. I have seen a friend of mine using it in a similar fashion only to find that there are a lot of brands that now promote their coffee in similar packing. Its way too convenient to use and forms a very good filter.
- Cheesecloth: This method of brewing is again a kitchen hack and though I won’t suggest using but you can if you have spare at home. After the brewing is done just make sure to wash it immediately or you’ll end it stained.
- Kopi Tubruk Method: This is not exactly a filtering technique but can get you a great cup of coffee if you don’t have any French Press at home. It’s an Indonesian style of brewing also called mud coffee and is as simple as removing the brewed liquid without actually pouring the muddy coffee at the bottom. All you need to do is let the coffee steep and sit at the bottom.
I believe to have covered most of the things that you require to create a perfect cup of coffee with the French Press at home. It might require a try or two before it turns out to your liking but once you get the process there won’t be stopping.
Creating a great cup of coffee requires a lot of experience and depending on your brewing technique might be easy or difficult. Using a French Press is one of my favourite technique and have used it for some time now. If you don’t have you can still brew a perfect cup by using the filter substitutes I have shared in the article above.
If you have read this article and tried the process let me know in the comments how it was.
Till then happy brewing 🙂