Part 1 in a series on brewing excellent coffee.
- By Jacob Long, Roasting & Quality Control Manager at Thanksgiving Coffee
How coffee is brewed is just as important as how it’s grown and roasted. Each step matters.
As it says on the bottom of our bags: “There is magic inside this package – only you can let it out!”
Before the fancy Japanese drippers or even the Melitta, the French Press was and still remains a great way to consistently produce an exceptional cup of coffee. Early versions of the coffee press consisted of a metal or cheesecloth screen attached to some sort of rod, which would be pressed into a pot of hot water and coffee.
The French Press was first Patented by Italian designer Attilio Calimani in 1929, and is now available in many forms and sizes. It creates a brew with a heavy body and silky mouthfeel. Our brewing guide outlines basic preparation, which we will expand upon in this post.
»» Grind your coffee
Start with a coarse grind setting (#8 if you have a burr grinder) approximately the size and texture of kosher salt. The particle size should be flaky, with visible chunks. You can experiment with a finer grind for a more intense brew, or a coarser grind for a less intense brew.
1. Measure out 2 grams of ground coffee for every ounce of water.
If a scale isn’t available, use 2 generously heaping tablespoons of ground coffee for every 5 ounces of water. Brewing coffee using this ratio will ensure a good extraction, and allow the flavor profile of the coffee to be fully appreciated. Here’s some quick math to help:
Put the measured coffee into a small bowl, not in the press quite yet.
2. Bring water to a boil and pour a small amount into the empty press.
This serves to pre-heat your press so that when you start to brew, the room-temperature press doesn’t cool down the hot water.
3. Let the boiling water cool to 200 degrees – about 2 minutes.
Using hotter water for lighter roasts (no hotter than 202 degrees) and cooler water for darker roasts (no cooler than 195 degrees) will help you perfect your brew.
4. Pour out water used to pre-heat, add measured ground coffee and enough water to saturate all grounds.
Start a timer at this point to ensure proper extraction time.
Saturating the grounds allows the coffee to “off-gas”, releasing c02 contained within. This allows for a more even extraction, resulting in a well balanced cup. Wait about 20-30 seconds for coffee to “bloom” and settle. Then fill your press the rest of the way.
5. At one minute, gently stir with a spoon.
Gently stirring the “dry cap” that forms on the top back into the coffee saturates the coffee completely and ensures proper extraction of flavor from the grounds. This is a good opportunity to quickly enjoy the nuances in the aroma before placing the top over the press to keep heat from escaping.
6. At four minutes, slowly press the coffee.
Pressing the coffee slowly ensures that no grounds make it past the screen and into your coffee.