French press coffee might look intimidating, but if you can drop a plastic pod into a Keurig, you can easily brew a great cup of French press. It’s totally worth waking up a few minutes earlier to use this flavorful method and save yourself from buying those expensive machines and wasteful K-cups. Experts estimate that every year, coffee drinkers are trashing enough single serving coffee pods to circle the planet between 10 1/2 and 12 times. But your freshly ground coffee beans produce zero waste and actually work as great compost among other things.
There is no wasteful paper filter involved in the process (although you can compost this paper, you probably don’t), which allows the oils in the coffee bean to stay in your cup and give you a more satisfying serving of coffee. Are you ready to make the best brew you’ve ever had? It’s as easy as spooning coffee grinds to your French press, adding hot water, plunging and pouring, but try this step-by-step guide for your most flavorful, successful sip.
1. Start with the water.
Coffee’s main ingredient is water, so you’ll want to use whatever water tastes good to you. It doesn’t have to be fancy from the bottle or even from a Brita pitcher. Just make sure you’re using water that you would enjoy drinking on its own.
2. Choose THE BEST BEANS.
Freshly roasted beans are the key component to a flavorful cup of Joe. The beans should look oily and have a surface shine and a fresh and aromatic smell. As far as flavor, finding your dream cup can take a little trial and error. Buy small batches (read: less commitment) until you find a few you love.
Look for coffee beans that have a clearly printed roast date on them. Buy as freshly roasted as possible, and use it up in the next three weeks or so. It’s good for about a month, but after around day 14, you start to gradually lose a little flavor.
3. get your grind on.
It takes an extra few minutes, but grinding your coffee beans right before brewing is best. Just like apples and avocados, coffee beans begin to oxidize once you’ve ground them up — you just can’t see it with your eyes. For freshest flavor, get a coffee bean grinder set for French press coffee. Be careful, the grinds used for drip coffee are too small for a French press and they’ll clog the filter. Grinds should be about the size of kosher salt.
4. ingredient measurements.
The coffee-to-water ratio will depend on how strong you like your coffee. For starters, try about 1 heaping tablespoon of coffee grinds to every 8 ounces of water. If you like it a little strong, try a tablespoon for every 6 ounces of water. If it’s too strong, you can always add more hot water to lighten it up a bit.
5. bring to a boil.
Fill up your French press with water and dump into a medium-sized pot. Add a little more. This will ensure you’ve boiled the correct amount of water. Water that is too hot can make the brew bitter, so aim for water around 200 degrees. If you let boiling water (212ºF) sit for about 30 seconds you’ll get the temperature you want.
6. make the mixture.
Spoon the coffee grinds into your French press. Add about half the water and stir. This helps saturate the grinds. Fill the French press the rest of the way up with water. Place the lid on top of the carafe, but don’t plunge just yet. It needs time to brew.
7. a beautiful brew.
Timing is everything. You want to give enough time for the oils to work their way into the brew, but not so long that the coffee ends up bitter or astringent. When you’re first starting, let sit for about four minutes and adjust from there. Usually four to six minutes is the sweet spot.
8. plunge and pour.
When time is up, firmly press the plunger all the way down to the bottom of the French press. The press is usually a little resistant, so it would be difficult to go too fast, but be mindful not to force it. A steady, slow movement will keep the hot coffee from splashing you. Most French presses will have a pour spout with some slits on the lid for easy flow. Align the slits with the spout. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy — because you will, so much more than drip coffee!