When we were registering for our wedding, Jason insisted that we register for a French Press. I was skeptical because I wanted people to buy the big coffee maker that had a built in coffee grinder. He was persistent. He said that it had a different taste. Coffee
is was coffee to me. I was happy with my $.99 44oz coffee from Speedway. It wasn’t until we moved into our house that we had to convert to the français way.
We didn’t feel like bringing out the big coffee maker (that I did in fact get for our wedding- with the grinder!) when we were moving things from apartment to house. Too bulky and too unnecessary. You had to keep track of the paper filters, and every time I used it, if I didn’t wipe it out immediately, it would grow mold. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Out came the french press, with a smile on his smug face.
Unfortunately, I was immediately in love. It made just the right amount of coffee. I always threw away at least a half a pot every time we used Big Bertha. The taste was full and rich. And I didn’t have to worry about cleaning 100 nooks and crannies. Win, win….win.
There are a few techniques that come with a french press. It might seem intimidating at first, but honestly it’s incredibly easy, and worth it! If I can do, trust me, you can do it.
First off: The Process
We highly recommend a good quality whole coffee bean (like the kind we used- Higher Grounds Coffee out of Traverse City, MI) . When the beans are whole, they hold their flavor better because they have their essential oils and caffeine. When grinding the coffee, having a slightly coarse grind makes the flavor smooth. Depending on how strong you like your coffee, we use a TBSP per cup. Feel free to add or subtract grounds to customize to your preferred strength.
Take the lid and plunger off your pot and add the grounds. Meanwhile, have water heating. The water needs to be at 195-205˚. It should not be boiling. Boiling water actually burns the beans and gives it a bitter taste. If it’s too cold, it won’t extract the flavor. If you’re unsure, boil the water and let it rest for 3-5 minutes. This should be the correct temperature. Pour the water in with the grinds. Making sure the plunger is all the way raised, gently put the top back on. Close the pour vent to retain heat. After 5 minutes of brewing, slowly and evenly press the plunger down. If you plunge it too quickly or repeatedly you will get more grounds in your coffee and it releases tannins, making it bitter. Open the vent and pour your delicious dark matter of gold.
Prepare your coffee with as much or as little cream and sugar as you see fit. Or simply have it black. We won’t judge. We have one that likes cream and sugar and one who likes it black. We’ll leave you with the mystery of which is which.
Now… The Tips
First category, use the right beans. There are two major types of beans. Arabica and Robusta.
Characteristics of Arabica: Smoother taste, Balanced flavor, Grown above 800 meters above sea level, and they are more expensive.
Characteristics of Robusta: Less expensive, More bitter, Twice the caffeine, Grown at a low altitude, Common to have astringent flavors.
If you’re taking the time to use a french press, I (Jason) recommend a good Arabica bean.
Coffee is like wine, in the way that the flavor changes depending on where it is grown, otherwise known as terroir. What makes up terroir soul content, climate and environment. The darker the roast the bolder the flavor, but not necessarily bitter.
Storage Tips: Store coffee in an air tight dark container. Do not freeze or refrigerate. This is a common misconception. It has the potential of drying your beans out. Make sure to store in a dry, cool place like a pantry. Common misplacement of coffee would the top of the refrigerator, above the stove, and above the dishwasher (like on top of the counter, a high shelf above the dishwasher isn’t bad).
Chocolate Pairing: A nice 60% dark chocolate brings out complimentary flavors in most coffee’s. In most homemade chocolate cake recipes or brownie recipes, they put coffee in with the chocolate to enhance the flavor. One of our favorite chocolates is Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Caramel. The profiles blend together incredibly well. Try it out for your next dinner party, tea party, picnic or day time treat for yourself. I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed.
If you have any of your own chocolate favorites, we’d love to get more suggestions. It’s a hard job to try our chocolates, but someones gotta do it. I will gladly make the sacrifice.
Till next time!
The Everyday Chef and Wife