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The french press

The french press

February 12, 2015

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I love coffee, but I’m a bit of a wimp. For one, I’m sensitive to caffeine. And while I like my coffee strong, I don’t like it to be very acidic. The french press is a good solution for me: I can enjoy blends I love, brewed specifically to my (very) picky liking.

The french press, also known as a press pot, is easy to recognize. It’s composed of a long cylindrical glass pot with a plunger and a filter screen that presses hot water through soaked ground coffee. It's that simple!

Here’s how to do it:

1. Grind

For coffee beginners, the french press is a great way to discover new blends, as it brings out coffee’s many flavours. So start with any brand you want, and use a medium to slightly coarse grind (too coarse will clog the filter while very fine grinds will pass through). The amount of coffee and water will vary depending upon the size of your pot. A good rule of thumb is to add 60-75g of coffee to a 1 L pot of coffee.

2. Pour

Next, pour hot water into the pot. If you let your water come to a boil let it rest for 40 seconds before pouring, as too-hot water will scorch the grounds. On the other hand, if the water is just lukewarm, it will not fully extract the flavours. Begin pouring your water slowly over the grounds, letting the coffee “bloom.” After you’ve poured your desired amount of water, wait 1 minute and gently stir with a long spoon.

3. Rest

Let the coffee rest between 3 to 8 minutes. The amount of time will vary depending on how you like your coffee and what type of coffee you are using: due to the different bean textures, East African and Latin American coffee need less time, while Indonesian coffee needs a bit more.

4. Press

Once the grains have stopped floating, very carefully insert the plunger into the pot and push the plunger down slowly, exerting steady, even pressure. Once you feel you’ve plunged down tightly onto the grains, you are ready to enjoy!

If you’re not serving the entire pot immediately, transfer the coffee to another container to stop the brewing process.

Enjoy!

Chef’s Tip: The french press is surprisingly versatile. You can use it to make tea and herbal infusions with fresh or dried herbs. Some even use them to brew their cold-press coffee.

Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman is a San Francisco-based food writer, blogger and cookbook author. She is the publisher of the food blog Cooking with Amy. She also contributes to Fodor's, Food Network, and also was a contributor at CitySearch, Frommer’s, Epicurious and Recipe.com. She has also written for several magazines including Avianca and Gastronomica. As an avid traveler, some of her favourite destinations include Montreal, Mexico City, Tokyo, Bologna, Porto and Madrid.

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