Chances are high that the first fancy cup of coffee you have in life is made with a
French Press. It is the gold standard for 5-star restaurants and 5-star homes.
A French Press is the ultimate statement in coffee simplicity—no paper filter, no water reservoir, no cone, no basket, no warming plate—just a glass container to steep the coffee to perfection. A French Press allows the coffee to really “speak” by allowing the two primary ingredients—water and ground coffee—to mingle together in a glass beaker without interference.
How It’s Made
There are many theories about how to get the most from a French Press, but here is our preferred method:
- In a kettle or hotpot, start boiling enough filtered water to fill the press.
- Grind coffee beans to a coarse final result—the pieces should be about twice the size of sand or table salt, and most definitely not powdery. Dump the grounds into the cleaned and dried glass beaker of the press.
- As soon as the water boils, immediately pour it into the glass beaker over the grounds. Pour to just half an inch below the spout of the beaker.
- Stir the coffee slurry with a metal fork, pushing the floating grounds back into the hot water. Take care not to bang the sides of the beaker too hard with the fork. A wooden or plastic spoon may also be used.
- Top off beaker again to just below the pour spout. Put the lid of the press on.
- Let sit for 4 minutes.
- Press slowly but deliberately in one motion until the screen of the press has bottomed out. Note: If it is difficult to press, the grind is too fine. If too easy, the grind may be too coarse. Slight pressure is all it should take.
- Let the press sit for another minute or so to allow floating sediment to settle. (Or don’t and begin to drink right away. The sediment is coffee, after all.)
- Enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. Share if you must.
Less Is More
The beauty of the French Press is that, like brewing loose-leaf tea, there is nothing to intervene between the ground coffee and the very hot water. A cup of french-pressed coffee is one of the most satisfying cups of coffee you will ever find. Many people find that they actually drink fewer cups of coffee each day, because each cup of french-pressed coffee is so rich and full-bodied. Drink better coffee and save money: get a French Press and see if you agree.
- Since French Presses allow for coffee sediment to settle at the bottom of the beaker and the cup, some may want to avoid pouring to the bottom of the beaker and drinking to the bottom of the cup. Most French Press users eventually come to view this small amount of sediment as a good thing.
- A single-serve French Press will likely leave more sediment in the drink than a larger press.
- Some people prefer to add the hot water, then stir the grounds a minute later into the four-minute steeping. The choice is yours. There are many little ways you can modify the brewing procedure like this.