Making The Perfect French Press


I’ve always preferred my French press to any other method of home brewing.  However lately I had begun to feel like my pots were lacking in depth.  This point was brought home in a big way when I stopped by my favorite local patisserie for a pastry and the most delicious French press that had ever danced around my taste buds.

I knew at that moment that I was doing something wrong.  I had to figure out how to make a French press like that.

So I went online and did some learnin’.  One thing I learned was that it is beneficial to help the wetting process along by giving your grounds and hot water a 20-30 second stir before letting your coffee brew.  I use a chopstick, and gently swirl the coffee until a lovely, yummy foam forms on the top and then cover and let brew.

The second thing I learned was that I was not brewing my coffee anywhere near long enough.

When I was younger, I worked at Starbucks for a bit.  It was a fantastic place to work, and I loved it.  However, I don’t believe they can be looked to as the best resource for coffee brewing expertise–at least not on every level.  I was taught that if you let your French press brew for any more or any less than EXACTLY 3 minutes, it would be ruined.  THREE MINUTES!  Three. Minutes. Period.

Turns out, if you let those grounds soak for 7-8 minutes, your coffee will taste amazingly better.

Today I took some pictures of my coffee making process, and without further ado I will share my little step-by-step Amazingly Awesome French Press Coffee tutorial with you!

Step 1: Beans, grind ’em.

Obviously you want to use good beans.  I’ll admit, although I’m sure they are not the fanciest of beans, I absolutely LOVE Dunkin’ Donuts coffee beans.  Turn up your nose at me if you will–I’m not ashamed.

Anywho, put them in your grinding device (we use a Magic Bullet-type blender) and grind until your beans look about like grits.  In case you are not from the south and have no idea what grits are, here’s a good example:

I use about 1/3 C of whole coffee beans per 4 C French press.  Some people like to use more than that.  I personally like a rich coffee that is not too strong or bitter, and 1/3 is perfect for me.  Feel free to experiment!

You can also grind the beans a bit finer, if you like.  However your coffee might end up a little bitter, and you might see a few grounds in it.

Make sure you take the time to inhale the intoxicating scent of freshly ground coffee.  Forget smelling the roses.  Smell the coffee, people. SMELL THE COFFEE.


Step 2: Put the beans and water in your French Press

I had a helper this morning.  See above how he deftly demonstrates the emptying of the blender contents into the French press.  I then allowed him to pour boiling hot water over the grounds.

Just kidding.  I did that part.

I learned at Starbucks that boiling water was actually a little too hot for a French press, but have since read elsewhere that it is acceptable.  I haven’t noticed a difference when I use slightly cooler water, so boiling it is for me.

Step 3: Swirl, swirl, swirl!

Next, take a spoon or chopstick or something of the sort and give your coffee and hot water a few nice, slow swirls.  When a fine foam floats to the top (that is carbon dioxide escaping from the grounds), you’ll know it’s ready to start brewing.


Step 4: Let Brew

Place the lid on top and set your timer for 7-8 minutes.  IMG_3406


Step 5: Plunge and enjoy!
Gently press down the plunger of your French press.  Pour yourself a delicious cup of coffee.  If you have a delicious French pastry to go with it, all the better.

Oh, and I must share my awesome mug with you.  My sweet friend and sewing buddy over here bought this for me.

Do you like my little coffee “splash” on the counter?  Yeah, this is real life people!  Sometimes you spill a little coffee.  And that is ok.

What type of coffee brewing method do you employ?



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