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Friday, 31 May 2013 00:00

French Press/Press Pot

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The French Press (also known simply as a press pot) is the best way to brew coffee at home. It offers unparalleled flavor due to perfect extraction time and delivery of the volatile oils that are often trapped in paper filters.

A French press is also the least expensive coffee brewer available, costing as little as $10-12 brand new. The Bodum company has some of the best presses on the market if you're looking for one -- and you should be if you don't already own one, but be sure to shop around.

The brewing methods that most people are familiar with, auto-drips and percolators, run water through the grounds and trap most or all of the grounds in a paper filter. The water spends only a moment running through the grounds and is drawn away by gravity. A French press, on the other hand, is much more like steeping tea. The grounds are immersed in the water and the full flavor and essence of the bean is drawn into the water. The grounds are then pressed to the bottom of the brewing vessel using a filtered plunger. The resulting cup is much more "silty" than most people are accustomed to, but the flavor is incomparable.

To brew coffee using a French press:

  1. Boil the correct amount of water.
  2. Freshly grind the coffee beans using a coarse setting.*
  3. Remove the plunger
  4. Place the coffee grounds at the bottom of the glass
  5. Add the hot water
  6. Stir by shaking
  7. Replace the plunger and push it down until the grounds are just submerged under the surface of the water.
  8. After 4-5 minutes press the plunger down the rest of the way to separate the grounds from the extracted coffee.

Note: You do not want to pour boiling water directly onto the coffee. The goal is to brew coffee at a temperature between 195-205°F (90-96°C, my metric brethren).

* Grinding should be done using a burr grinder if possible.

Unfortunately, press pots are not quite as convenient as auto-drip coffee makers due to preparation and cleaning time. They also lose heat faster than some other methods.

But, c'mon, they're just plain fun! It's like playing "mad scientist:" you can vary the kind of coffee, the coarseness of the grind and the amount and temperature of the water and each variation will bring out different characteristics in the beans.

Of course, if you really want to go all "mad scientist" you should check this out.

Just get one.

Read 4403 times Last modified on Thursday, 22 May 2014 12:56
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