Steps to make the best coffee using your French Press (cafetiere).
Tom's Tips to French Press Success:
The French Press (otherwise known as a cafetiere) is a classic coffee brewing device, and I'm sure it's made an appearance in most coffee lovers kitchens.
The reason we all love it is simple. It's pretty easy to use, looks wise it's got some good kitchen counter appeal and most importantly, it can yield a pretty impressive brew when done right.
But let's start at the beginning...
What is a French Press?
Simply, a French Press is an immersion brewing device featuring two parts, a cylindrical shaped pot and a plunger with a built in filter screen.
Its MO is pretty simple, the plunger is used to press the hot water through the ground coffee, leaving you with a rich and earthy flavoured cup of coffee.
The French Press goes by a variety of different names. Here in the U.K. it's commonly known as a cafetiere (shortened from the French name ‘cafetiere a piston), but other names include coffee press, plunger pot, or press pot.
We love this article by European Coffee Trips if you're interested in learning more about the history of the French Press.
What type of coffee should you use?
The key thing to remember when using a French Press is the grind size. We recommend always sticking to a medium grind. We have pretty simple reasoning behind this - a course grind might end up clogging up your filter and a fine grind could end up going right through it, leaving you with a grainy and muddy coffee and we know that nobody wants that!
→ Tom Tip: There's an easy way to check whether you've got the correct grind size. If you've ground your beans too finely you'll have a trickier time pressing down the plunger, and if you can press it down with no resistance at all - well then your grounds are probably too course. You want to find that happy medium, a satisfying push somewhere between the two.
How do you actually use a French Press?
We're assuming at this point you have a French Press (it's a pretty vital tool for this method) but if you haven't gotten around to purchasing one yet, a quick Google will yield you with plenty of options. If you're still stuck, feel free to drop me an email and I'll do my best to give you a recommendation based on your needs and budget.
Right, so assuming we have point 1 ticked off, we can move onto the next steps. The first of which is a pretty easy one:
- Find a flat surface, it sounds a bit silly to even mention, but let's face it, the last thing you want is for your French Press to take a wobble and fall over whilst you are plunging it. You can't get better than your kitchen worktop, so let's start there!
- Next, remove the plunger from the pot, ready to add your water.
- Then we need to pre-warm our pot. It's easy to do - just boil the kettle and add the water to the French Press. In simple terms this technique helps to stop the fluctuation of your brew, keeping your coffee hotter for longer and encouraging maximum extraction of flavour. Once you've swilled the water around a few times your pot should be warm enough, so pour out the boiling water and get your (medium) Coffee Grounds at the ready.
- The ratio for coffee is around 7grams to 200ml of water, it can be hard to know grams without measuring every time, so we estimate that for one cup of coffee (approx. 250ml) you should aim for around one tablespoon (heaped) to get it about right.
- Now's the time to add your water. Check out our blog on the perfect water temperature for more in depth info. But in summary, you're looking to hit 96°C.
Tom Tip: Boil the kettle and let it sit for a couple of minutes before pouring.
- Gently stir the water to release the flavour.
- The next step is to carefully replace the plunger in the pot. Make sure you stop just above the water and ground coffee, don't be tempted to plunge right now. After all, good things come to those who wait! The pot should be left to brew for around 3-4 minutes to make sure that it has extracted all those beautiful flavours from your specialty ground beans.
- Honestly, sometimes this bit does feel like it takes forever, but trust me when I say it's worth it! Let the plunger work its magic!
- OK, now the 4 minutes are up. You need to press the plunger down into the pot. Make sure you do this slowly, applying a steady amount of pressure. If you do this step too fast, you'll ruin all your hard work. Take it slow!
- Now you've plunged, your coffee is ready to enjoy!
- Pour into your favourite mug and add your extras. Milk. sugar, whatever you'd like!
Tom Tip: If you're dealing with a lighter roast, then try and minimise the amount of milk you use or drink it black. The beans are full of flavour and sometimes the milk can dampen down the rich flavour.
- Last step from me (it's an important one though, and certainly not one to be overlooked) wash out your pot! Yep, every time. You don't want to taste your old coffee the next time you want a fresh tasting brew. It's pretty easy to do, just use any standard washing up liquid, and give it a rinse out. The pot can sometimes be added to the dishwasher (check your own to confirm) but I recommend always washing the plunger by hand.
Once you have a French press and you know how to make the best tasting coffee, the next thing that you are going to need to do is to have the right coffee to put into it.
Spill the beans.
Yep, you can't make a great brew without a great bean. And i'll say it nice and loud for those at the back - beans are the vital ingredient to make the perfect brew.
Now obviously, you're visiting my page so it's fair to assume you might know that we're in the coffee subscription trade?
But if you want the 411? 📢
- Our beans are sourced from the highest grade of farms & roasted to perfection.
- When choosing your subscription just pick the grind that suits your brewing vibe - whether thats whole bean, cafetiere (coarse) or espresso (fine).
- Then, choose how many bags you want per month, add it to your cart, punch in your details & you’re off!
Need more info? Then just click here to see if our coffee subscription vibes with your taste buds. Then (hopefully) sit back and wait for your new delivery to pop through your letter box.