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I have a 12-cup (51 oz.) Bodum French press. Generally how long am I supposed to wait for the freshly pressed grounds to steep before I decant?

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I follow the steps in the Stumptown Roasters guide, which actually features a Bodum French Press. The answer is 4 minutes, but it includes a mixing step after the 1 minute mark. From the site:

"...pour hot water (30 seconds off the boil or about 205 degrees F) into the French press, saturating all of your grounds, and pouring to the halfway mark. Start your timer for 4 minutes.

After 1 minute, stir the “bloom” (or top layer) and pour the rest of the water evenly to the top and affix the press pot lid.

After the 4 minute timer goes off, plunge and serve.

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TL;DR: According to this article, you can make better coffee on French Press with a coarse grind and brewing for 6 to 8 minutes.

Here are the instructions from Nick Cho:

  1. Start with a very coarse grind, maybe at the coarsest setting on your grinder. The particles should appear somewhere between coarse salt and steelcut oats. Take note of your grind size so you can make adjustments later: grind a little finer next time if your brew was weak, a bit coarser if you're tasting a lot of unpleasant, dish-raggy, overextracted flavors.

How much: While there's a maximum amount that your French press will make, there isn't really a minimum. A good coffee-to-water ratio is between 60-70 grams of coffee per liter of water (a mass ratio between 1:16 and 1:14). Decide how much brewed coffee you want to make and weigh out the right amount of coffee.

  1. Get your clean (filtered if you need it) brew water ready. With French press, you're good to pour your water right off the boil unless you've got an insulated (or double-walled) press, in which case you should wait about 30 seconds off of boil. If you're brewing dark-roasted coffee or decaf, it's better with water about 10 to 15°F lower.

  2. Start your clock and add your water. Some people like to add a little water, stir, and add the rest. It really doesn't matter. The important part is what you do after you add the water. If you were to just sit back and wait out your brew time now, you'd have an under-extracted brew, because the release of CO2 gas will cause your grounds to rise up and float on top of your water. Remember that first phase "Wetting?" Well, if you don't have good wetting, you don't have much of anything that follows, so you should give your coffee and water mix a gentle but thorough stir at about 30 to 45 seconds in. You'll know you're good to put the lid on and move on to the next step when most of the coffee has sunk and isn't floating anymore.

  3. This may be very different from what you've heard before, but bear with me: shoot for a target brew time between 6 and 8 minutes. "What? I thought it was 3 to 4 minutes!" you might say. You can brew in 3 to 4 minutes if you want, but to get good flavor results, you'd be grinding a lot finer, and you're not getting the most out of the unique qualities of the French press. Give 6 to 8 minutes a try with the coarse grind, and see if you can dial that in.

  4. When you're ready to stop your brewing, it's time to plunge. So as I've mentioned, French press is a nice, slow, gentle brew. One great way to ruin that niceness would be to violently agitate your coffee grounds, accelerating extraction right at the end when your coffee has already given up the good stuff and the bitter and astringent negative flavors are in danger of taking over. Plunge gently. If you feel the plunger start to get tight, back it up an inch or two and resume plunging. Once you get to the bottom, you're done!

  5. If you've plunged your bed down nice and tight, there isn't a lot of brewing that will happen from this point on, but it's still ideal to pour off your entire beverage right after plunging to truly stop the brewing process.

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Start with a coarse ground of coffee with about 1 ounce (28 grams) of coffee for about every 15 ounces (450 ml) of water. The water temperature should be below boiling, about 200-205° F (93-96° C).

Stir in about 1/3 of your water to let the coffee grounds "bloom" for about 30 seconds; then add the remaining water, cover it, and let it steep. The total brew time should be about four minutes. Then press the plunger to the bottom and pour.

Once the plunger is pressed, be sure to dispense the coffee into another container once that brewing cycle is done. If you let the brewed coffee sit with the spent grounds, it will start to develop a more-bitter taste and be somewhat over-extracted (unless that is an effect you are looking for).

Note: There is also a "cold-brewing" method which requires several hour of extraction, but that is likely to be outside the scope of what you are asking.

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  • Do you do any stirring? I stir after adding all the water, but otherwise follow the same procedure. Also, any reference to "bloom" and why?
    – cdmackay
    Dec 3 '15 at 20:01
  • @cdmackay I only stir at the start, long enough to assure everything is mixed in. Dec 3 '15 at 20:03
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The time is, as mentioned, about four minutes. But as there are so many factors like grind, quality of beans, quality of roast water temperature and quality and so on. so you have to find out what suits your taste best with your given setup. But for sure it's good to wait till most of the coffee settled.

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My cafetiere has the instruction that you should not use boiling water (I think the recommended temp is 85 degrees centigrade) so as to not scald the coffee and then let it steep for 5 minutes before plunging.

Personally I swirl it around a bit about a minute before the 5 minutes has elapsed just to agitate it a bit.

Grumpy Mule recommends waiting 30 secs first before pouring the water on and waiting 4 minutes they also recommend wetting the grounds first, waiting for the bloom to settle before filling with water.

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For French Press, my default brew time is four minutes before plunging (i.e. pushing down the filter). I also recommend you pour it into mugs or a separate serving container immediately, so that the grounds don't continue extract at the bottom.

Every bean/roast is different, so adjust accordingly. If you find four minutes produces coffee that's a little sour or thin, add 30 seconds; if it's bitter, subtract 30. I've found that dark roasts generally need less time, and light roasts need more.

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2.5 minutes for nothing but the good stuff with no bitterness, I have used this amount of time for a decade. Medium/Coarse grind bodum press. I also do not stir the bloom, 8 tbs grounds. Friends always prefer my coffee over their own for some reason... I minimize the water contact with the ground beans.

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  • Welcome to Coffee! Have you also tried a longer steep to compare the results? 2.5 minutes seems very short to me. I wonder if you would notice more bitterness with a 4 or even an 8 minute steep as those times are mentioned in other answers. As for the 8 tbs, doesn't it depend on the amount of water you're adding?
    – JJJ
    Sep 5 at 23:22

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