Thursday, August 8, 2013

French Press: Making Coffee With the French Press

Most product instructions I read today are poorly written and do not address the whole process but merely the technical operations. Recently I bought a French Press and was dismayed with the poorly written instructions, so I wrote my own....

The French Press, like the crude camping method of merely boiling beans in a pan, relies on course-ground beans in order to extract the oils and aromatics from the beans. The difference with the French Press is that the strainer is, effectively, built into the device. However, it cannot and does not filter out small sediment which is a natural by-product. The filter will also become un-usably  plugged if anything less than course-ground coffee is used. This means you cannot use coffee beans that have been ground for a drip system and especially not an espresso machine.

Things You Will Need
The French Press
Microwaveable Coffee cup
1 tablespoon measuring spoon
Course-ground coffee

The following instructions assume you are making coffee for one mug. The 34-ounce Bodum French Press I am using is capable of making two mug’s worth of coffee at a time.

·         Fill your coffee mug with water and microwave to just below boiling point. (About 2-1/2 minutes)
·         While the water is being heated, if you are using whole beans, grind them coarsely, using one tablespoon of beans per mug of coffee.
·         Remove the strainer/lid combination from the Press.
·         Empty the ground beans into the French Press.
·         When the water is heated, pour it into the French Press and stir gently preferably with a wooden spoon. WARNING: Using a metal spoon may crack and break the fragile glass of the Press.
·         Insert the strainer/lid into the Press. GENTLY and SLOWLY press down. WARNING: Do not use fast or excessive pressure. This will cause the heated water to jet out of the top of the Press.
·         With the strainer still lowered, pour your coffee into your coffee mug.
·         Add whatever you normally do to your coffee such as sweetener and milk. (Note: Adding cold dairy to the coffee may make it lukewarm. To fix, merely microwave for about 30 seconds.)

Clean Up
·         Remove the strainer/lid from the Press. Brush off the bulk of the sediment from the strainer into the trash, then rinse.
·         Add water to the carafe of the Press and swish the beans and then dump down the toilet. Wash the carafe in the sink taking care not to crack it.

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