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Brewing coffee with a French press: How to use a French press

Très Magnifique!

For those looking for the perfect way to serve up some lightly roasted beans, those who prefer a coarse grind, or those who want to try a classic brewing vessel, let us introduce you to the French press! The French press is an iconic vessel that offers stunning and exquisite flavors and aromas. But how does one brew coffee with this superb vessel?

French press
French press

Watch this video to see how to brew coffee in a French press: 

What is a French press, and how does a French press work?

The French press is a brewing vessel comprised of a cylindrical body and a plunger ringed by a stainless steel food-grade strainer. Though that sounds simple, the brewing device is very sophisticated. 

The origins of this brewing device go back to the 1920s, when two Italian inventors developed the precursor to the modern-day French press. The design hopped the border between Italy, France, and Switzerland a few times until the final patent was secured by the Swiss man Faliero Bondanini. The product he mastered was so popular in France that it took on the name “French press,” and the name has stuck ever since. Go figure! But how does the French press work exactly? 

The French press works by allowing the grounds to be immersed directly into the hot water. After about 4 minutes, the plunger is pushed down, and the grounds are separated from the brewed coffee liquid. The spout at the top of the press allows one to pour just the liquid coffee out while keeping the grounds pressed down at the bottom of the brewing vessel, so they don’t get in your cup!

How much coffee should I use?

An easy ratio to remember for strong coffee made in a French press is 1 tablespoon of coffee for every 4 oz of water. Of course, feel free to decrease the coffee ratio if you prefer a milder coffee brew; you can use as little as 1 tablespoon for every 8 oz of water and still get a rich cup of coffee.

How long should I brew in a French press, and how hot should my water be?

The magic number is 4 minutes for brewing. But remember to wait 15-30 seconds after the water in one’s kettle has boiled, so the grinds don’t get burnt! The ideal coffee brewing temperature is between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you have poured your (slightly) cooled water onto the grinds, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon to ensure all of your coffee is fully immersed. Then, place the top of the coffee plunger on the cylinder and wait 4 minutes. Once 4 minutes are up, press down the plunger and get ready to enjoy one of the most vibrant and delectable coffee modes on earth.

How do I make cold brew in a French press?

French press is great because it allows one the freedom to prepare cold brew and the standard hot brew. To prepare a cold brew, all one has to do is adjust water temperature and brewing time. In this case, pour cold or room temperature water onto your grinds, stir, then place the whole vessel in your fridge for 12-24 hours. Of course, the longer you brew, the stronger your coffee gets in flavor, aroma, and thickness. Also, be sure not to press down the French Press plunger until your 12-24 hours are up. However, you can enjoy a great cold brew once your plunger is pressed.

How to clean out your French press?

Keeping your press clean is ideal for keeping it brewing great coffee for a long time. Cleaning a French press is simple, too. Once you have finished the coffee and disposed of the grounds, you can add warm water and a little bit of gentle dish soap. Now, pump the plunger until the water is foamy and rinse it until all the foam is gone. This will keep your French press clean and allow you to continue brewing only fresh-tasting coffee.

To know if the French press is right for you, the only thing to do is go out and brew! So happy brewing, bonne chance!

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Culturalist Press Staff

The Culturalist Press’ mission is to be a place for useful, informed, and relevant writing. Our goal is to be clear, concise, and refreshingly straightforward in our coverage of topics. We champion organizations focused on fact-based journalism as we ourselves are while trying to stay focused on covering topics that matter to everyone.Staff pieces: