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There are all kinds of ways to brew coffee, some I’ve experimented with, and some that I have yet to try. With specialty coffee becoming more and more prevalent in America, there’s been a branching out of brewing methods, as baristas embrace more unique approaches to preparing coffee. Around here, we’ve seen it in locally with places like Joe Bean Coffee Roasters who, for example, brew coffee with the pour over method (as seen in this awesome overview). So, as I perused the web looking for interesting things to write about, I came across an article about a shop called the Press Coffee Co. As their name might suggest, the baristas at Pressspecialize in preparing coffee with French presses.
For those of you who’ve never used a French press before, I figured I might give you a little overview of what they are and how they work. The diagram above outlines the basic principles by which all French presses operate. You start with a carafe that you fill with hot water and ground coffee. Once the grounds have steeped long enough, you press down on the plunger, forcing the grounds to the bottom the carafe. The grounds are usually kept separate from the coffee, through the use of mesh screen or filter. The pictured Espro Coffee Press uses a specialized dual filtration process to trap both coarse grounds and finer sediments from making their way into finished coffee.
To brew with a French press, you typically want to use coffee a little bit coarser than you would use for drip (Stumptown Coffee Roasters says it should be about the size of breadcrumbs). Add the grounds first, then the water. The grounds will float to the top at first, so you’ll want to give them a little stir. Depending on your preferred strength and the fineness of your grinds, you’ll want to steep the coffee for about 3 to 5 minutes before plunging it.
Some of the advantages of the French Press are that you have more precise control of both the temperature of the water you brew with as well as the steeping time. Additionally, you benefit from not having to use coffee filters. No filters also means that more of the oils extracted from the beans make it into your cup for a richer coffee.
If you’ve ever considered trying out French press brewing, be sure to check out our retail site. We’ve got quite a selection to choose from!