How to Make Great French Press Coffee

There are lots of resources online on how to make french press coffee (I like this one from Coffeegeek), but everyone has their own variations and little tricks.  Here are mine:

  • Buy fresh beans from a local roaster every 10 days or so  (I prefer Kaldi’s).
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  • Boil fresh water in a teapot.
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  • When water is boiling, turn it off and let it sit for a minute or two to cool down a bit.  (If it’s too hot, it can scald the beans.)
  • When the water is ready, grind the beans on the coarsest setting in a burr grinder.  I am very happy with my Baratza Maestro.  If you don’t have a good grinder, I would suggest buying your coffee pre-ground from a local roaster.  A consistent coarse grind is important.
  • Put the beans in the french press.  I use about 8 heaping teaspoons for a 1 liter press, which is about 3 mug-fulls of coffee). 
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  • Pour the water into the press and set a timer for 4 minutes. 
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  • Stir the coffee with something wooden or plastic (metal can change the flavor of the beans).  I use a chopstick.  I like to do a second stir after a couple minutes to get as much flavor from the beans as possible.
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  • When the timer goes off, I use a small strainer to lift out the beans floating on the top of the water, which is most of them.   This reduces the sediment in the coffee.
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When the beans get thick and foamy, it’s called “bloom”,
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  • Put the top on the press and press the plunger slowly to the bottom.
  • Enjoy your coffee!  I flavor it with Splenda and Coffeemate (half original, half french vanilla).  If the coffee is too strong for you, you can add a little hot water.

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  • Pour the rest of the coffee into a thermos or carafe to keep it hot until you are ready to drink the rest.  (If you leave it in the press, the beans will continue to make the coffee stronger)
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