Ah, the french press. Most likely the device you learned how to make coffee with many years ago. This produces a heavier (kinda gritty) cup of beanjuice that's perfect for wintery days - and requires virtually zero skill to produce and excellent cup. This recipe will produce approximately 2.5 cups (great for two thirsty people ... or one thirsty person, and two less-thirsty people ... or three people, one of them thirsty and ...)
Here's what ya need:
- A scale - nothing fancy, just something to help nail the measurements. Our preferred ratio is 15:1 (aka, 15 parts water to every 1 part coffee). You can snag this bad boy on Amazon for pretty cheap ... and yes, insane people spend many times that amount for fancy-shmancy barista gear.
- A timer - it's really, really important to nail the "bloom" time as well as the overall brew time. This one on Amazon will do just fine. If you're on a camping trip, just use the timer on your phone!
- Freshly roasted coffee - a'duh.
- A kettle - Bonavita makes a variety of these things that you can check out here. We recommend one that includes a temperature gauge (super helpful when you put your tinker hat on). The gooseneck comes in handy for pour-over coffees (and the Aeropress), but with the french press it could actually be more convenient to have a larger spout (aka, old fashioned tea kettle).
- A burr grinder - the key to really great tasting coffee is uniformity in the grind. This is the numero uno investment you should be making if you're new to the coffee game. If you have the budget, go with the Baratza Virtuoso or the Encore (both work great). Otherwise if you want to keep it in the $40-100 range, just run a search for "burr grinder" on Amazon and follow your heart.
- A french press - also duh. Of all the options on ye olde Amazon, we recommend going with a glass one so you can see what's going on. We also cannot recommend highly enough the GSI Outdoors Java Press for camping trips.
- A wooden spoon - for stirring it up. Regular spoon is fine too, just be careful not to accidentally crack the glass if you get too aggressive!
Commence ye olde H20 boil. If you're using a fancy kettle with temperature readout, set the temp to 209°F (science side-note: the boiling point of water at sea level is 212°F). If you're using a stovetop tea kettle - just let it start screamin' and hissin', you'll know when to take it off.
Meanwhile, prep the other goodies:
Weigh out 55 grams of coffee, and load it up into your grinder (don't grind just yet, you'll want to wait until just before brewing. Once exposed to oxygen, coffee starts losing it's awesomeness in a matter of seconds).
Once your water has boiled, we're going to heat up the glass by pouring a bit of hot water inside the french press and swirling it around. It's typically not ideal for hot coffee to encounter cold glass - but if you skip this step, that's very much OK. Either way - remove the lid from your kettle to allow the temp to cool to our ideal range (202-205°F range).
(Side note: much of the country is still in a massive drought. Don't be a doofus by taking this step too seriously and filling your entire french press with hot water prior to brewing. That's just a waste).
Grind your beans: unlike other pour-over methods, we're aiming for a courser grind with the french press. If you're using a Baratza, this means somewhere in the 20-30 "click" range... and if you're winging it, just go with something that resembles course sea salt.
When your water cools to around 202-205°F, you're ready to brew. Put the lid back on your kettle, dump the coffee grounds into the french press and have your timer ready. Make sure your scale is reset to zero with the brew devices + coffee resting on it. And make sure you've dumped out any of the hot water if you warmed up the press! The remainder of this process (the actual brewing of the actual coffee) is pretty dang straightforward. The first bit of water you'll be adding makes up the bloom - a process in which the coffee grounds release all the remaining CO2 gas and (incredible smelling) oils from the roasting process. Ground coffee will hold approximately 2x it's weight in water, so you'll want to dump about 110 grams of water for this process (no worries if you go a bit over or under). Make sure to start your timer the moment the water makes contact.
Immediately after you've pour the water to initiate the bloom, grab your wooden spoon and stir it all up. This ensures that all the grounds have been properly 'soaked' for the duration of the bloom.
There's debate in the coffee world for how long your bloom time should take. You'll read anywhere from 30 seconds to a full minute. In general, we like to bloom for the full minute. Make sure to get your nose right up in the wet grounds during this step (it really should smell magnificent).
After your 1 minute bloom, you'll pour the remainder of the water to reach a 825 gram readout on your scale (and if you don't have a scale, this would be about 1 inch from the top of the glass). Take a step back - marvel at the nice crust that's formed at the top, take a bite of that doughnut, and appreciate that you're doing something far too many people don't take the time to do.
When your timer reads 2 minutes: it's time to stir again. Swirl everything around, maybe "flick" the grounds at the bottom so they whoosh up to the top. Don't take too long with this - and as soon as you're done mixing it all up, gently affix the "plunger" so that it rests on top in a "pre-plunge" fashion (this keeps the heat in for the remainder of the brew).
You'll plunge at 4 minutes. It's as simple as that, folks. You shouldn't encounter much resistance during this process - and you'll want to serve immediately into some mugs. Don't let extra coffee sit inside the device as it will continue brewing and turn bitter - instead, pour the extra beanjuice into a serving carafe (or dump it in a thermos, or surprise your neighbor with a nice gift!).
Enjoy - and don't hesitate to contact us with your brewing questions - just send a note to email@example.com and we'll get back to you promptly.