A coffee press goes by many names; French Press, plunger, press pot, coffee machine piston, and more. No matter what you call it, though, there’s no denying the popularity of this traditional and simple way of brewing coffee.
A coffee press maker consists of a cylindrical pot, usually made from glass, which features a plunger and built in filter. These devices work by allowing the coffee and water to come into contact as they brew, followed by a push of the plunger which removes the fine particles of ground coffee so that it’s ready to enjoy.
Coffee presses are favored by many for their simplicity, and although the process may take a few minutes longer than an instant coffee or pod machine to brew, the results are worth it. This traditional method for brewing has continued to remain popular even with the espresso revolution, and it doesn’t look set to disappear anytime soon.
Why a Coffee Press is Best
Fans of coffee press makers are generally loyal to their brewing method, thanks to the many benefits it has over other styles of brewing. Here are just a few ways that coffee press leads as the preferred method of coffee making for many.
- Saves waste – Not only is the coffee press great for making single servings, but there’s no other waste either. It doesn’t require electricity so energy costs are down, and there’s no need to purchase paper filters to enjoy it.
- Saves money – This is one of the cheapest methods for brewing coffee, and if you’re used to buying barista-made drinks then you’ll certainly notice the savings. The costs for making coffee are low, and the price for a coffee press is extremely affordable.
- Can make a lot or a little – Unlike machines where you’re limited to how much you can make, the coffee press can make one or more cups depending on what you need. You can buy large devices to suit many, or something smaller for single servings each morning.
- Lots of variations – Every single step in the coffee press process allows you to perfect your drink. This means the one device can create a myriad of tastes, depending on your water temperature, the grind of beans, and how long you leave it to steep.
- Better taste – Fans of coffee press makers will testify to the strong aromas and essences of this brewing method. As the coffee press takes all of the oils and flavors with it, nothing is lost in a paper filter or machine along the way.
Step 1: Select Your Coffee Press
Most homes have the traditional coffee press made from glass, but there are actually quite a few variations available. Depending on your personal circumstances and taste, you might want to consider any of these models too.
- Glass models – The most common of them all, a glass coffee press features laboratory grade materials that allow it to withstand heat without breaking.
- Plastic models – These are made from heat resistant and shatterproof plastic, so they’re ideal if you’re worried about breakages.
- Ceramic models – Ceramic coffee press makers are generally more elegant to look at but feature the same heating qualities as their glass counterpart.
- Stainless steel models – If you’re after durability and something that won’t break, a stainless steel coffee press is ideal.
- Travel coffee press – Generally made from stainless steel too, these travel coffee press designs allow you to plunge on the go so they’re great for busy people.
- Automatic coffee press – To take the hard work out of this process, these machines do every step for you at the push of a button.
Step 2: Grind the Beans
The consistency of your beans will be crucial to the end result, so you may need to experiment to get this perfect. According to The Kitchn, a burr grinder is the best way to achieve the right consistency so it pays to invest in one.
Experts recommend the size and shape of breadcrumbs for your beans, however, this may need adjusting. If your coffee is too bitter then this means the grains have been ground too fine, so you’ll need to make them thicker. For a serving of coffee, two tablespoons of coffee for eight ounces of water is a general guide, although this can be adjusted to meet your personal taste. Once ground, pour into the coffee press.
Step 3: Heat Your Water
Just as important as the grind size is the temperature of your water. All coffee uses generally the same temperature for ideal extraction, and for the case of a coffee press this is around 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t have a thermometer handy, simply boil the jug or heat the water on the stovetop to boiling and remove from the heat. Allow it to stand for a minute before pouring into your carafe then stir in an up and down motion briefly.
Step 4: Brewing Time
As soon as your coffee and water meet, start a timer for the steeping process. Although this time can vary slightly depending on the desired strength, four minutes is a good guide. Every roast reacts differently, though, so if you’re trying new beans this may need to be adjusted.
Step 5: Plunge and Enjoy
Once the wait is over, it’s time to take the plunge. As soon as the timer goes off, hold the carafe with one hand and then gently push down the plunger with the other. Pour your coffee straight away and enjoy the bold flavors of this traditional brewing method.
When using a coffee maker, you should never let the coffee remain in the carafe once it’s been brewed. Anything left in contact with the water will continue with the extraction process, so you’ll need to pour it out immediately into a thermos or other container to enjoy later.