Many coffee fans love the simplicity of a french press but they would like a little more guidance on choosing the best ground coffee to use in one.
Well if you want a short answer, this is the best ground coffee (Koffee Kult Medium Roast Ground (B00THPH2FA)) to use in your French press!
But if you want to understand a bit more about the French press and why you are better off steering clear of ground coffee, then read on…
What is a French Press?
A French press is a device that brews coffee.
It consists of three major parts;
*cylindrical beaker or jug -most often made from glass or clear plastic.
*Lid- most often made from metal or plastic.
*Rod/ plunger with a tight fitting fine mesh or filter attached.
A French press has many different names.
French press is the most commonly used term for it in the USA.
In Australia and South Africa it is more widely known as a coffee plunger, whereas in the UK these devices are most often known as cafetieres.
How Do They Work?
Ground coffee is placed in the bottom of the jug and then very hot water is poured over the grounds until the water is close to the top of the jug.
The lid is placed on the jug and after 3-4 minutes the plunger (and filter) are pushed down to the bottom of the beaker.
The coffee can then be poured into a cup.
How to Use a French Press
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The video above demonstrates the X steps required to make coffee in a French press.
Step 1 Scoop one heaped teaspoon of coffee into the French press for every cup of coffee that you want.
Step 2 Boil water in a kettle and then let it sit for 30 seconds.
Step 3 Pour only enough water into the French press to soak the grounds.
Step 4 Wait for 45 seconds
Step 5 Pour the remaining water into the French press.
Step 6 Let it sit for 4 minutes.
Step 7 Place the lid on and push the plunger all the way to the bottom.
Step 8 Pour it into a cup and drink!
This is a great video and rightly it is very popular because it is short and to the point.
However, I strongly disagree with one of the instructions.
I think that the lid needs to placed on the press before it is left to sit for 4 minutes as this will help the coffee stay hot.
If the coffee is left to steep for 4 minutes without a lid on, it will lose lots of heat.
History of French Press
The history of the French press is littered with Italians!
The first device can be traced back to an Italian, Attilio Calimani, in 1929.
Another Italian, Faliero Bondanini, modified the design some more and applied for a patent in 1958.
Advantages and Disadvantages of French Press
*Leak- Grounds can leak through the filter. Most of them are very porous. Grinds and sediments come through.
*Low Temperature- Without insulation, coffee can fall below serving temperature before you plunge.
*Fragile- French presses made of glass are very delicate.
*Difficult to clean- because they are so fragile.
*Simple & Cheap There is not much that can go wrong with a French press and because of this they are very cheap.
Not only is the device cheap, but using your own ground coffee is also a very economical way of making coffee.
*Environmentally Friendly French presses do not use bleach filters used in other types of coffee systems.
And because they are not single serve systems, they do not require lots of plastic.
*Electric Free French presses don’t need any electricity to power them which makes them very popular with coffee loving campers and walkers.
Well, at least the plastic insulated models are!
*Portable As percolators are such simple pieces of kit, they can easily be taken anywhere.
Troubleshooting French Press
Despite our best intentions, we will not always brew a great tasting cup of coffee and this is especially true for users of the French press.
Below I have listed some of the most common problems that people have with their French presses- together with some solutions.
Let’s start with the issues that surround the taste of the coffee.
1: Sour or Salty Tasting Coffee
Problem: If your cup of coffee has a taste that is a bit sour or even salty, then it is likely that your coffee is “under extracted”
Under extraction is when the coffee grounds have not been given long enough to steep in the hot water.
Solution: The simplest way to correct this is to leave your coffee steeping for longer.
The standard time that coffee should be left in a French press is 4 minutes. But if you are already leaving your coffee for this amount of time, try leaving it for another 30 seconds.
An alternative way to prevent under extraction, is to make your coffee grounds smaller. The smaller the coffee grounds, the less time that the water needs to be left.
But don’t be too brash. Remember, the best size grind for a French press is “coarse”. If the size of your grinds are too small they will end up slipping through the filter and turning into coffee sludge!
2: Bitter or Hollow Tasting Coffee
Problem: If you cup of Java has a bitter or hollow taste then your coffee is “over extracted”.
Over extraction is simply that the coffee grounds have spent too long steeping in water.
Solution: Reduce the amount of time that your coffee steeps for. Are you leaving them for longer than 4 minutes?
Or, as we were discussing above, change the size of your coffee grind.
3: Stale or Flat Tasting Coffee
Problem: If your coffee has very little taste then your packet could be stale. Remember that once coffee beans are ground, they will start to lose their flavour not matter what packaging they are in.
Solution: The best solution is to buy coffee beans not coffee grounds and then grind your own coffee just before you make it in your French press.
If you don’t have a grinder and you don’t want all of the hassle associated with them, then buy ground coffee with a “best before date” on them and stick to that.
Best Roast for French Press
The most common answer to this question is to use a medium or dark roasted bean to make coffee in your French press.
The logic is that medium or dark roasted beans have more of their oils intact which will lead to a better flavoured brew.
In truth, any kind of roasted bean can produce a great cup of coffee using a French press.
Don’t let your thoughts on the type of roasted bean distract you from the most important consideration.
French presses require a very coarse ground size.
If you have a grinder try it on the most coarse setting- your grounds should be slightly larger than coarse flakes of salt.
In an ideal world, you don’t want to buy pre ground coffee partly because most of the “coarse ground” varieties available are not coarse enough but also because ground coffee goes stale very quickly.
However, if you really don’t want to grind your own beans then make sure that you buy ground coffee that is fresh and a ground coffee that is very coarse.
My particular favourite is this one…
Koffee Kult Medium Roast Ground (B00THPH2FA)
Best Whole Bean for a French Press
In truth there is no one variety of coffee that is suited to your French press as it depends on your individual taste.
However, if you are a French press newbie, then you might want to start with a medium roast or medium/ dark roast.
Other than that, I have three different coffees for you that are (almost) guaranteed to make you a great cup of coffee in a French press.
Kicking Horse Coffee B0027Z5J6G
Best Medium Dark
Pablo’s Pride 2LB Gourmet Coffee B008FW60DG
Decaf Medium Dark Roast
Don Pablo Decaf B00D5GGNRA