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How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee in a French Press

You can brew superb coffee at home in a French press

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I love coffee. And where I come from in Montreal, we take coffee seriously. This thing where people line up, and a barista writes your name badly on a disposable cup? Not our thing! We prefer the neighborhood café or bistro where you can sit down in a nice ambience to drink a good cup of Fair Trade coffee in the company of friends. Maybe you eat a croissant while you read La Presse. Or maybe you order a little cheese plate with fruit to nibble on. It’s relaxed, you take your time. And if you frequent the place often enough, the server knows you by name.

But what do you do when you want a good coffee at home? Sure, there are home espresso machines. You can make a cappuccino or a caramel macchiato in your kitchen. But those machines take up a lot of place. And unless you get one connects directly to your plumbing, you have to deal with all that fuss over filling the reservoir – which gets empty way too fast!

What you can do instead is to use a French press. It’s low-tech and you can make a good cup of coffee in four minutes. So you can cook the eggs or make your toast, and the coffee is ready. And trust me, it’s way better than the drip coffee we grew up with in the 80s!

To use a French press, you should have:

  • a French press
  • a scale to weigh the coffee beans
  • a plate or cup to hold the beans when you weigh them
  • a burr grinder set to a coarse grind
  • a count-up kitchen timer
  • a wooden spoon or rubber spatula
  • a kettle, preferably one with a gooseneck

To make a really good cup of coffee, you need to weigh and grind the beans right before you brew. You also need to have the water at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a kettle that allows you to control that temperature, let the water sit for about 30 seconds after boiling.

The very best part of making coffee in a French press is the “first bloom.” You put the ground coffee in the press and fill the water just halfway. Then you wait one minute. It’s unbelievable what happens! There is seriously a crust that forms from the coffee rising to the surface of the water. You can feel it crunch when you break it with the spoon!

After stirring, add the rest of the water and wait until three more minutes have passed. Then push the plunger down slowly. If you did it right, you will see the crema on the surface of the coffee. It’s very cool!

Check out this video that shows you more of how to make the best French press coffee.


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Written by Blue Sailor


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    • I know some people put their French press away because they are discouraged that the coffee doesn’t taste the way they expected it to. We were so impressed with the difference when we tried it this way. It’s worth it!

      Soon I will try to post about some other coffee brewing methods. Watch for new posts!

  1. Well…this is very informative…I always drink coffee from French press…in fact, I have 3…one large and medium for coffee…and one for herbal teas…I am going to try doing this your way…I have always been filling up the hot water right up to the top…after I warmed the pot oc…and I also warm the china cups too. This time I am going to fill this up to the half of press and see the difference…this is so cool!! Thank you!! 🙂
    ( I need to add that I am not a big coffee drinker…but when I do drink it…it has to be good…with all the trimmings and prepared the right way lol )

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