The French press is probably the most underrated brewing method around, yet it’s also present in many households. That is due to the fact that it’s cheap and very useful, without any limit to the number of times you can use it.
A bit of history
The first thing to know about the history of the French press is the following: the most familiar version of the French Press was patented in Italy in 1929. The name comes from the fact that a previous version very similar to it was patented by two Frenchmen in 1582.
What is a French press? The answer is pretty simple: it is one of the several infusion brewers, where the water goes through the coffee grounds. In this specific method, the water and coffee steep together, allowing a more uniform extraction.
The metal mesh of the French press presents a quite important hole that lets some of the non soluble material in the grounds into the cup, providing a richer body and texture of the final drink. But for that same reason, there will be the main “downside” for most people, that is the important amount of sludge that will remain at the bottom of the cup that may be accidentally drunk – which is quite unpleasant. This issue just takes place when the brewing is done in a quick way, but with some work that can be easily avoided, providing a great cup of coffee with all the flavours and characteristics of the beans that are used.
How to brew with the French Press
Those are the steps recommended by James Hoffmann in “The World Atlas of Coffee” in order to brew with your French Press:
- Weigh the coffee and grind it just before starting to brew
- Boil a kettle of fresh water with low mineral content
- Put the ground coffee in the French press and place on a scale
- Pour in the correct amount of water (suggested ratio: 75g/L) quickly and make sure to wet all the coffee
- Leave the coffee to steep for about four minutes
- Take a spoon and stir the crust the coffee has made at the top, making most of it go at the bottom of the brewer
- Scoop off the foam and floating grounds remaining at the surface
- Wait another five minutes
- Place the mesh plunger in the top of the beaker
- Pour the coffee slowly through the mesh
If you want to try out, there are several choices. An affordable and good quality one for starters is the following: