How to Brew with your French Press (Cafetière)
Super simple to brew, cafetière coffee is a rich, flavoursome drink which can be brewed for a single cup or a number of guests. We’re going to look at how best to brew with your French Press and make sure it’s tasty every time.
What you will need
Your coffee of choice
A Grinder (if required)
A French Press
Scales / Measuring Scoop
We’re making a single serving of coffee here, enough for one large mug (225ml). For this, we will need to grind 15 grams of coffee beans. The grind is key here due to the cafetière being a ‘full immersion’ brew method. This simply means the coffee and water sit in contact together for a period of time, unlike a drip filter or espresso where the water passes through the grounds only once.
If you haven’t had a chance, check out our handy grind guide here before getting started. We’re looking to grind our beans to a consistency of ground sea salt. Too fine and there will be sediment present in the cup, and too coarse and the brew won’t be strong enough. To get a good grind consistency, we always recommend using a burr grinder over a blade grinder.
Now we’ve got our coffee ground, it’s time to pop the water on to boil. If you’re using a kettle, boil it and allow a minute or so for the temperature to drop to around 95°C. If you have the luxury of a temperature controlled kettle, set it to 95°C.
Remove the plunger from your cafetière and use a little hot water to preheat the glass beaker. Put the plunger back into the beaker to allow the metal filter and seal to expand slightly with the heat. This will help sealing and reduce the chance of sediment deposits.
Discard your preheat water and add your ground coffee to the beaker. We’re using 15g with our setup, at a ratio of 15 parts water (225ml) to one part coffee (15g). Pour a little water from your kettle onto the grounds and allow the coffee to bloom. Top the remaining water up and give a gentle stir to ensure all the grounds are saturated. Pop the plunger back into the French Press so the filter disc is sitting just on top of the crema of the coffee.
Set your timer for 4 minutes, and allow the coffee to brew. Once finished, push the plunger down slowly over a period of 15 – 30 seconds. Serve the coffee immediately to ensure it doesn’t over extract. Allowing the coffee grounds to sit in contact with the water for too long will negate the flavour and be detrimental to the body of the cup.
If the plunger is very hard to press down, the grind size may be too fine. This will also be the case if you find excessive sediment at the bottom of the cup.
Read about ‘under-extraction’ and ‘over-extraction’ in more detail in the ‘Grinding’ brew guide found here.
If the coffee isn’t strong enough, add an extra minute to the brew time. Failing this, reduce the ratio of water to coffee.
If the coffee is too strong or full of sediment, increase the grind size or reduce the brew time.