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?
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.
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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.