It takes just a few minutes to prepare coffee in a French Press.
A cup of freshly brewed French press coffee is going to work wonders for you. Whether you’re going to be late for a run and need a quick jolt of energy or you’ve slept in late and need to wake up – quickly.
Take a shower and leave the brew on.
The coffee will be ready before you get out of the shower.
And the best thing is that it’s a pretty minimalist way of preparing coffee without sacrificing quality or taste. You don’t need a hefty list of expensive components or accessories, or pods. Just the machine, coffee grinder and quality coffee beans.
Once you have a taste for French press coffee, you’ll wonder how you ever settled for anything else.
What is a French Press?
People often refer to the French press coffee technique as Melior or Cafetiere. The coffee apparatus is low-tech.
The cylindrical shape is typically made of glass or stainless steel. A plunger fits directly into the beaker and is used to push the coffee brew gently through the stainless steel mesh.
The plunger has a filtration mesh with a purpose of allowing only liquid to pass through. Once pressed down, small grinds of coffee are captured at the bottom of the pot, separating them from the liquid.
But you’re not limited to coffee. Use the press for a brew of tea or iced coffee. Experiment with the variety of loose-leaf teas and brew up your favorite.
Variations in the overall design
This is an apparatus to make genuine coffee and the best thing is that you have a lot of design options.
There are some French Presses made for travelers and campers. Because of the simplicity of the coffee press mechanism, opportunity to explore compact and ‘make on the go’ design by a slew of well known brands has resulted in several different types of machines.
Travel mugs, for instance, are manufactured using commercial-grade plastic and have steel lids. They’re easy to pack and use, and convenient for campers and hikers to make coffee right then and there when they need a pick up.
Then there are French press coffee mugs for the ‘outdoorsy peeps’ that come with powerful insulation to keep the coffee nice and warm for long periods of time.
Another design comes inbuilt with a pulling device. All you have to do is place some fresh coffee grounds in the steel basket mesh below. Pour hot water on top. Let the water absorb the richness of the coffee grounds and then just give a nice squeeze.
There are variations that enable you to make a couple of servings of cold brew coffee too.
The Bodum Columbia French press coffee maker, for example, has a stainless-steel structure and can brew a delicious cup of coffee in under 4 minutes.
The product design has an integrated spill-proof lid to keep the liquid from tipping out no matter how you use it.
Similarly, the Secura French press coffee maker also comes with a stainless steel body and has a capacity of 1000 ml (about 8 cups).
What affects taste brewing techniques
Taste, strength, texture, temperature. How many coffee beans you use and the size of the grind will always affect taste.
This is the time it takes water to absorb the richness of the coffee and the way water flows through the beans.
The total time it takes to brew a single cup of coffee is affected. This is similar to the famous ‘pour over’ method used to make espresso.
What is the ‘pour over’ method
Grind coffee using a medium grind.
Place filter paper into receptical. With very hot water, pre-wet the filter. Use a swirling motion to cover the paper, gently wet the filter paper. Pour out the water from the flask. This warms the filter paper in preparation for coffee. Add coffee grounds, shake so coffee sits evenly in filter paper.
Add water. Boiling water should be let to sit for 30 seconds before pouring
Just enough hot water is poured over the coffee grounds to wet them.
Bloom coffee Let sit for 30 seconds to allow coffee time to bloom. This allows for even extraction of oils and flavor from the coffee.
Slowly pour over water. start in the centre and in a circular motion cover the grinds. 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. If water runs through too quickly use a finer grind. If it takes too long to drip through, use a coarser grind. Gently stir the grinds in the filter to allow for even extraction. Remove filter, ready to enjoy.
On the flip side, it’s important to remember that the total time it takes to brew coffee, and the size and quantity of coffee grounds is not always intertwined.
So, when it comes to making French press coffee, you can make a single cup or a large batch of coffee.
Another reason why French press is so desirable is that you can grind the coffee beans in any manner you like. A course grind is preferable using a burr coffee grinder.
Coffee can be steeped for as long as you want. But, and it’s a big but, the amount of time you let it steep affects the overall goodness and taste of the coffee.
Steep it for a minute, and it might not be as strong as you hoped. Steep it for too long, and the coffee will become too bitter.
The French Press offers complete freedom so you can prepare coffee however you please. It’s ideal for people who like to experiment and formulate different flavors. You can play with water to coffee ratio and test different steep times.
French Press parts and important components
Most commonly French press machines have glass carafes. But some are made from stainless steel, like the stylish Bodum Columbia French press, or plastic and metal.
The carafe, or body of the machine, comes in different sizes. You can opt for a single cup size of 350ml up to a size to brew 4 or 8 cups at the same time.
There are different shapes and designs available. Products come in a cylindrical shape or ones shaped like kettles. The designs incorporate a heatproof handle and a spout for easy pouring and handling.
Lid And Plunger
This is where the magic happens. The plunger is the most integral part of the French press machine.
The machine is inbuilt with a plunger that you use to strain the coffee grounds completely and squeeze the rich and aromatic oils and taste in the beans.
The rod of the plunger has a handle that you use at the top of the machine.
You have to close the lid to use the plunger. Firstly pull the plunger up, and after steeping the water, you gently push it down.
The bottom of the plunger has a filtration device, which is a steel mesh, designed to let only the liquid content to pass through.
Screen of the filter
The filter comes with a stainless-steel mesh that effectively strains the coffee grounds before you serve coffee.
It’s important to clean the filter screen each time you use the machine. If you don’t, the coffee grounds cling to the bottom of the mesh. And when this happens, you won’t be able to strain or plunge a fresh batch of coffee properly. You’ll pay the price in taste.
There are French press coffee machines that come fitted with 2 different types of filtration screen, both of which vary in size. 2 steel meshes completely remove the grounds leaving behind just fresh, aromatic and flavorsome coffee.
When it comes to replacing parts, the steel mesh screen is the only component you will have to replace after consistent usage.
The machine also comes fitted with a structured disc. You’ll see it at the bottom, stuck on the plunger.
The circumference of the coiled wire effectively keeps the entire mesh in place and allows for efficient straining. This leaves little to no coffee grounds stuck on the mesh. You can easily remove the structure disc to clean the mesh.