0

I'm new to French press coffee and have been experimenting rather than following the rules.

The technique I ended up with:

  • Doesn't require an initial bloom.
  • Doesn't require any timing.
  • Works well with both fine and course grind.
  • Seems to provide a good result in minimum time.
  • Allows a smooth and easy press.

Can the experts tell me what I'm doing wrong and why I shouldn't do it? (I'm not being sarcastic):

  • Put 60g in the container.
  • Pour in 1L boiling water.
  • When the grinds float to the top, stir them down.
  • Repeat until very little floats back.
  • Press.

Stirring a few times ensures all the grounds are equally soaked.
Allowing the grounds to sink means that the plunger doesn't get clogged on the way down.
When the plunger goes down without requiring much pressure, you know all the grounds are saturated and it's ready.
Course grind naturally takes longer than fine grind, so the required difference in timing happens automatically.

4 Answers 4

1

The key question is: do you like your coffee? Does it taste well to you?

A few thoughts, though:

  • Timing the brew will help you to repeat the procedure and make your coffee more consistent. Depending on your taste, usually 3 - 5 minutes is recommended

  • The water should be slightly less than boiling.

  • 60g per 1l of water is on the high side. Again, tastes vary, so try what suits you.

  • While a French press works with all levels of grinding, the usual recommendation is to use medium to not-quite-coarse. Too fine may clog the filter.

  • Don't skip the bloom: poor a small amount of hot water over the coffee grounds and let it sit for half a minute to release trapped gases. This can improve the flavor and aroma of the coffee.

I like your handling of the plunger.

And remember: it's your coffee, your taste, and you will be served well if you follow your intuition.

0

Alright, let's pick this apart:

Doesn't require an initial bloom

Blooming isn't needed in immersion brewing styles. You do it in filter brews so all of the grounds get wet as soon as possible, which helps with an even extraction. When you (presumably) dump all of the water in your french press at once, there won't be any non-wet grounds inside anyway.

Doesn't require any timing

Timing is done for one thing and one thing only: consistency. Some coffees, especially lighter roasts, can be a little finicky to extract. Being able to get a good tasting coffee each time consistently is greatly helped by timing your recipe and doing exactly the same thing each time.

Put 60g in the container. Pour in 1L boiling water.

Pretty standard ratio for most french press, Aeropress and filter recipes.

When the grinds float to the top, stir them down.

While this doesn't greatly improve extraction, it prevents floating grounds from clogging up the mesh or landing in your cup when pouring, so I'm all for it.

Press.

Have you tried not to? I mean why press? If you don't like grounds ending up in your cup and the brew tasting sandy, then don't press the plunger down, simply put it in the french press and use it as a strainer. When you press it down, you agitate the water and also help suspend more grounds into the brew, which means more grounds end up in your cup when you pour it. You may like it, and in that case keep doing it, but I don't really like sandy coffee so I'd avoid it.

Stirring a few times ensures all the grounds are equally soaked.

Ideally, all of your grounds get soaked when you pour in the water, stirring more than once or twice doesn't really help that much with extraction, but it does increase agitation, and thus you get a grittier brew.

In conclusion: if your coffee makes you happy the way it is, don't change anything, you're the one who has to like it. The only thing I'd recommend trying is not pressing the plunger down and timing your recipe so you can get the perfect brew, exactly how you like it, every time. You say you use 60g of coffee per 1l of water - if you're weighing your coffee anyway, perhaps you can buy one of those scales with integrated timers, so you don't have to use a separate device for it.

2
  • "The only thing I'd recommend trying is not pressing the plunger down and timing your recipe so you can get the perfect brew" — Isn't the press what stops the brewing from happening? If not, then what does it mean to time the recipe, what happens when the time is up? Apr 14, 2023 at 16:52
  • Since the mesh is not fine enough to block water, it doesn't really help with stopping the brewing process. When most of the grounds have sunk to the bottom, the process slows down a lot by itself, practically down to a halt, you see this sort of thing when cupping after breaking the crust and letting the grounds settle. By timing I meant pouring the coffee out of the press and into your cup after a consistent amount of time. The problem with pouring multiple times from a french press is again the increased agitation - resulting in a grittier cup and possibly overextraction. Apr 16, 2023 at 14:36
0

If you like what you get, it's good (for you. At present.)

I've moved on to a different method, but I know (from experience) I wouldn't like your method's results. My method when I was French Pressing was to put the grounds and about 1/4 cold water in the press, then add boiling water, with the specific intent of lowering the brewing temperature to limit overextraction, and the beneficial side effect of the coffee not being too hot to drink without adding anything to it. It worked for me at that time, and made timing quite unfussy.

These days I put coffee and cold water in a bottle and put that in the fridge overnight, then pour it through the filter basket of the drip machine I rarely turn on. That works for me now. Some days I microwave the result when I want a hot coffee, but cold-brewed. It's good (for me, at present.)

0

The benefit I've found to keeping as many of the grounds floating as possible is that the grounds act as a clarifying filter when you press the plunger before serving. Otherwise I find that the resulting cup is muddy with a lot of silt left in the bottom of the cup. I usually fill my press halfway, stir gently for 30 seconds to get the lions share of the bloom sorted, and then fill the rest of the way and use the plunger to push the floating grounds past the bloom foam to be in complete contact with the water. Then I wait out my timer. YMMV of course, but I don't find this to be much more complicated than the process you describe, except with maybe a minute or five less stirring.

FWIW, when I got started with my French press I definitely went a similar route to yours. Even to go so far as to take the plunger off after my timer to give it a final stir. But once I noticed that I didn't love the silty results and that using the floating grounds as a filter gave me perfectly clear coffee, I never looked back.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.