How to make Good Coffee with a French Press

French presses are amongst the most popular coffee makers, and they are usually well received at the classy dinner table.  Elegant and simple, it is very easy to make excellent coffee that appeals to the taste but also gives off a highly attractive aroma for your guests.

Making a good brew using a French Press starts with the essential ingredients of any good coffee brew:  a clean pot; clean, aerated water; the correct temperature, and good quality coffee.  With those in place, take the following steps:

1. Bring the water nearly to a boil. You can either wait until you see the first bubbles start to rise from the bottom of the kettle, or you can wait for one minute after the kettle has boiled so that the water comes down to the optimal temperature.  Do Not use water that is on a rolling boil – this WILL spoil your coffee!

2. Warm the pot by rinsing it with a small amount of water from your kettle.  This simple step adds greatly to the flavor of a good brew.

3. Add your coffee. Use good quality coffee with a slightly coarser grind than you would use in other coffee makers.  The amount you add really depends on the size of your French Press, but you should figure on using one good heaped scoop or tablespoon for each 8 oz. cup that the pot will hold.   Remember that the grind is a little coarse, so you need to increase the quantity a little in order to get some decent strength.

4. Add the nearly boiling water. You may wish to lift the kettle a little as you pour in order to make sure that the water is well aerated.   If you have used an automatic kettle that has boiled vigorously, then much of the oxygen will have bubbled out, so pouring carefully from a slightly heightened position will help to re-aerate the water.

5. Stir and wait. Let the brew sit for a minute, then stir gently, using a non-metal spoon.  Remember that the glass of your pot is more brittle at a higher temperature, so be careful.  Wait for three minutes to allow the full flavor to be extracted from the coffee, and to allow the heavier grounds to settle.

6. GENTLY and slowly depress the plunger. Do not rush this!  You do not want to splash the coffee up over the side of the pot, and you do not want to stir up the grounds again.

7. Pour immediately. As long as the water and coffee remain in contact, the brewing process will continue.  As the temperature drops, more tannins and acids will be extracted, making for a bitter brew.  If you are not going to drink the coffee immediately, pour it into a pre-warmed thermos flask.

Impress your guests and enjoy your brew!