fellow coffee fanatics! I have recently started learning more about coffee and have learned many new espresso drinks. However, when it comes to the French press, I am at a loss. I have tons of fine ground coffee, and the only way I make coffee is in the French Press, however, I have read that you should never use fine ground coffee in a French press. But, I know that there must be a formula out there that works with fine ground. The problem is, I always seem to put too little or too much fine ground coffee in. I just can't seem to find a good formula!!! If someone could please provide a good formula for making fine ground coffee in a French press, that would be great!
A fine grind, especially an espresso grind, are usually avoided when doing immersion brewing methods. Reason being that their extraction times are so low that is usually not practical to press a fine grind coffee. Though this isn't a direct answer to your question, I'd recommend grinding your coffee directly before brewing. This is best practice, and it means you can grind your coffee to whichever coarseness that you need.
If you want to french press this coffee I think it would be best to adjust your extraction time. If you're using an espresso grind I'd do a short bloom, then extract for 45seconds.
To eliminate fine grit, wrap a paper coffee filter over the strainer, and press immediately to achieve 45second extraction, as there will be more resistance with the added filter. If the coffee is sour or bland increase extraction time. If the coffee tastes too bitter, then try decreasing the extraction time. Bloom for maybe 8 seconds. It's hard to tell, most people press coffee because they like pressed coffee, and they'll usually use a coarse grind for this. Using a fine grind will likely negate the benefits of using a press pot, and could very well be impossible/very difficult to consistently get a good cup.
You could try adding a paper filter between the wire filter and the frame. This should at least help keep the grounds out of the cup.
I also think you want to pay attention to extraction time as well as finding the right dose. Fine-ground coffee will extract faster, so you may want to try steeping for only 3 minutes (or even less), and then transfer to a preheated thermos or insulated teapot so it doesn't keep brewing until your second cup.
Also, there's an old cowboy trick for grounds in your cup. If you add a splash of cold water, it will carry the grounds to the bottom as the cold descends. I merely report this practice. I have not vetted the science.
Here's the problem.
Imagine that on table A we have spaghetti and a pasta strainer.
On table B, we have some fine coffee and a cheesecloth.
With the strainer, the holes are a lot more open so that the water can drain faster. However, the spaghetti noodles are pretty big, so they don't fall through!
Trying to use fine coffee on a french press is like trying to drain coffee through a strainer.
The grounds will slip through the holes and get into the coffee.
It's more of a physical thing. The holes in the French Press grate are big enough for finely ground coffee so slip through, meaning mouthfulls of grounds.
There's no magic recipe (or formula) out there that will fix this. Just get some new coffee and give it a coarser grind. :)
I had the exact same issue.
what I did was after waiting for as much grinds to fall to the bottom, I plunged slowly then I used a small paper towel and touched the top of the coffee to pick up whatever was on the top of the coffee.
I found that this significantly improved the clarity of my coffee and made it an overall much more enjoyable experience to drink.
Hope this helps (5+ years later)
I honestly prefer using finer grounds in a French press. The flavor is richer, darker, and not as acidic. Even when I go to coffee houses, I request that they use a finer grind. It certainly is a shorter time to steep, and it does press harder, but to me those are small details. It's definitely worth it once sipping on it. I also get more crema that way, as it creates more pressure than usual.