If there’s one thing we all know I love, it’s a good beverage. Give me a cup of coffee, a bottle of kombucha, a glass of wine. . . you get the idea. At any given time, you’re likely to find at least 2 drinks next to me. It’s just become my thing. But today I want to focus in on just one of my favorites: french press coffee.
Sometime during the Keurig hype, I lost interest. Sure, a Keurig was nice and all especially if you live alone but I got bored. I started experimenting with other ways of making coffee. I bought a pour over coffee maker from World Market, a cheap french press from Ikea and maybe a few other things. However, the one thing that stuck with me was french press coffee*.
At first, it seemed incredibly overwhelming to make french press coffee. How does this plunger thing work? Where do I put the coffee grinds? How do I know how much to put in? I had a lot of questions. But with the help of google and some serious trial and error, I was able to figure it out. So today I want to share all the things I’ve noticed make a difference to help you get your best cup of coffee yet.
GRIND YOUR COFFEE FRESH
I’m not sure how this habit came about but it’s been the one I can’t break. I always grind my coffee fresh. Even when I used a Keurig, I would still grind it fresh. There’s something about freshly ground coffee beans that just makes it that much better. There are a lot of grinders on the market. But the current favorite in our house is one from Cuisinart*. It let’s you choose the grind size you want rather than just pressing down to grind the beans. This means you get even grounds every time. We will keep a push one and a hand grinder in our kitchen for decaf coffee, spices or power outages. Old fashioned hand grinders are always a good backup. But I still love our Cuisinart* the best.
DO IT IN LAYERS
For the longest time, I dumped my grinds into the french press and then poured my water on top. Then I let it sit for the required time and went about making my cup of french press coffee. However, I’ve recently gotten into the habit of pour hot water in first about 1/4-1/2 way up the press, then adding my grinds and water on top. I also make sure to pour it in a circular motion so all the grinds get hit with water and soak. This one is totally a person preference but I find that it all mixes a bit better. Plus it’s the little things that make french press coffee stand out.
ADD CREAM THEN COFFEE
I’m sure if you studied chemistry or physics, you can tell me the extra reasoning behind this one. But for me, it’s more about getting my coffee to stay as hot as possible. So instead of adding a cold creamer or almond milk to my coffee, I add my coffee to my creamer. You can always add more if needed to get your french press coffee just right. However, the idea is to get a good portion of your creamer in your mug first and then add coffee. This way you’re adding hot to cold rather than cold to hot. Again, I’m sure there’s some science to it but it works. And I get a cup of hot coffee. Small joys here friends.
MEASURE YOUR HOT WATER TEMP
There’s probably a couple of ways to go about this one. You could use a digital thermometer to measure your hot water temp. I’m a bit lazier and just use our electric kettle*. It gives the option to set your hot water temp before you start heating it. The suggested temperature for french press coffee hot water is 200 degrees F. In all honesty, I haven’t really experimented with this one to be able to tell you the difference between 185 and 200 degrees F coffee. But if time isn’t on your side, I’d say just do what you’ve gotta do to get that coffee going. And save this tip for that Saturday brunch you’ve been dying to make.
And last but not least, I couldn’t leave you without my recipe for french press coffee. It comes with a catch though. Don’t be afraid to make this your own. I like strong coffee. I’d consider this brew to be able mid-level on the coffee scale but it depends on you. My mother and I drink this regularly but my step-father can’t handle it. So don’t be afraid to go a little lighter with the ground if you aren’t up for it yet. Or add in a bit of extra hot water to take it down a notch. And if you have leftover coffee, I like to use it for coffee ice cubes or as the concentrate for my iced coffee in the summer.
FRENCH PRESS COFFEE
make your best cup of coffee at home
- 5 tbsp fresh coffee grounds (preferably organic)
- 5 cups hot water (around 200F)
If you haven’t already, grind coffee while the water is boiling.
Fill french press with hot water about 1/3 of the way up.
Add coffee grounds.
Then add the rest of the water on top in a circular motion to make sure all the grounds are soaking. Fill until you reach just below the pouring spout.
Pop the lid on and let the grounds steep for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, push the plunger down and serve hot!
If you have extra coffee, feel free to save it for iced or frozen coffee.