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How Does A French Press Work? 2022 Guide To Use

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Do you love the taste of fresh-brewed coffee, but don’t have the time or money to invest in a fancy espresso machine?

If so, then a French press may be the perfect coffee-making option for you.

In this article, we will teach you how a French press works and how to use it to make delicious cups of coffee.

We’ll also provide some tips on how to make the perfect cup of French press coffee every time.

What Exactly Is a French Press?

A French press is a coffee brewing device that consists of a cylindrical carafe, a plunger, and a filter screen.

To brew coffee with a French press, you will need to add coarsely ground coffee beans to the carafe.

Then, you will pour hot water over the grounds and stir.

After a few minutes, you will press the plunger down, which will push the grounds to the bottom of the carafe and separate them from the coffee.

It’s Not Really French

Contrary to popular belief, the French press is not French.

There’s some debate about the inventor of the device.

The debate goes back to patents from the 1920s and 1930s.

Italians Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta filed the first patent for the French press in 1928.

Another Italian, Faliero Bondanini, registered a different patent in the 1950s.

However, a Frenchman named Marcel Grateau also filed a patent for a coffee brewing device in 1930.

So, while the French press may not be French, it is European.

How to Use a French Press: Tools, Ratios, and Instructions for the Perfect Coffee

Now that you know how a French press works and a little bit about its history, let’s learn how to use it.

What Do You Need to Use a French Press?

How does a French press work? It’s a relatively simple process.

To make coffee with a French press, you will need the following items.

  • Coarsely ground coffee beans
  • Hot water
  • A spoon or stirrer
  • A timer (optional)

How Does a French Press Coffee Maker Work?

When making coffee with a French press, there are three main variables that you will need to control: the grind size of your coffee beans, the ratio of coffee grounds to water, and the brew time.

The grind size is important because it will determine how much time the coffee spends in contact with the water.

If you grind your beans too finely, the coffee will become over-extracted and taste bitter.

If you grind the beans too coarsely, you’ll end up with under-extracted coffee that tastes weak.

The ratio of coffee to water is also important.

A general rule of thumb is to use one tablespoon (seven grams) of coffee for every two cups (470 milliliters) of water.

Of course, you can adjust this ratio to suit your taste.

If you like a stronger cup of coffee, use more grounds.

If you like a weaker cup of coffee, use fewer grounds.

Finally, the brew time is important.

It will determine how much caffeine ends up in your cup of coffee.

If you want a strong cup of coffee with lots of caffeine, brew for a longer period.

Brew with your French press for a shorter period if you want a weaker cup of coffee with less caffeine.

How Much Coffee Will My French Press Make?

Most French presses will make four cups of coffee.

However, you can find them in other sizes as well.

To find out how much coffee your French press will make, simply check the capacity of the carafe.

It should come marked in cups or milliliters.

For reference, one cup is equal to 237 milliliters.

When used with two people, the standard four cup French press will typically work well.

Use it once in the morning and you can both enjoy two cups of fresh coffee.

How to Brew French Press Coffee

Now that you know how much coffee your French press will make, let’s move on to the next step: brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

French Press Method

As with any coffee brewing method, you need to learn a few simple concepts.

To make the French press method work in your favor, the first thing you need to know is which type of coffee to use.

Which Coffee Should You Use in Your French Press?

The best type of coffee to use in a French press is coarsely ground coffee.

As we mentioned earlier, the grind size is vital.

It’s a determining factor when it comes to the water interacting properly with your coffee grounds.

Most people who love using the French press method prefer using medium or dark roast beans.

Using these types of beans helps with the process for slowly extracting the flavor and oils.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which type of coffee you want to use.

Look for the following when choosing your favorite type of coffee.

  • Spicy
  • Smooth
  • Caramel
  • French roast
  • Smoky
  • Full-bodied
  • Nutty
  • Woody
  • Cocoa
  • Chocolate
  • Earthy

Tutorial

Making French press coffee is easy once you know the steps.

Here’s how to do it.

Start by heating the water to a boil.

While the water is boiling, grind your coffee beans to a coarse grind.

Once the water reaches a boil, remove it from the heat.

Let it cool for about 30 seconds.

Pour the grounds into the French press carafe.

Then, pour the hot water over the grounds.

Stir the mixture and put the lid on the French press.

Start the timer and let the coffee steep for four minutes.

After four minutes, press down on the plunger to filter the coffee.

Pour it into a cup and enjoy,

Does the French Press Make a Better Cup?

The answer is: it depends.

Some people prefer the taste of French press coffee, while others find it too strong or bitter.

Its proponents love the fact that the process helps the grounds steep.

Paper filters tend to remove oils and flavor.

A French press won’t remove the flavor offered by these oils.  

In the end, though, it comes down to personal preference.

If you like your coffee strong and bold, then the French press is probably for you.

If you prefer a lighter, more delicate flavor, then you might want to try another brewing method.

How Does French Press Coffee Compare to Other Brewing Styles?

Let’s compare the French method against other types of coffee brewing styles.

The three most common coffee brewing methods include the French press, using a drip coffee maker, and using an espresso machine.

Drip coffee: Drip coffee is the most popular type of coffee in the United States.

It’s made by pouring hot water over ground beans held in a paper filter.

The water drips through the filter and into a pot or carafe below.

The main advantage of drip coffee is that it’s quick and easy to make.

The main disadvantage is that it can be easy to over-extract the coffee, resulting in a bitter taste.

Espresso machine: An espresso machine brews coffee by forcing hot water through tightly packed, finely ground coffee beans.

The resulting shot of coffee is small but concentrated and has a thick layer of crema on top.

Espresso is the base for many other popular drinks, such as lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos.

The main advantage of espresso is that it’s concentrated.

It offers a lot of flavors.

The main disadvantage to using espresso machines is that the process takes longer than other ways to brew your coffee.

You can also try these ways to brew your coffee.

  • AeroPress
  • Moke pot (stovetop espresso maker)
  • Siphon, or vacuum, pot
  • SoftBrew
  • Steeping, or immersion

Aeropress: The Aeropress is a relatively new brewing method that gained popularity in recent years.

It brews coffee by using a plunger to force hot water through ground coffee beans.

It’s great for traveling.

You can make an “almost” espresso and regular coffee.

Moke pot: A moke pot is a stovetop espresso maker.

You can achieve a super-strong and bittersweet coffee taste with this stovetop option.

Siphon pot: A siphon pot, also known as a vacuum pot, brews coffee using two chambers.

The bottom chamber holds water and the top chamber holds the ground coffee.

The two chambers connect via a tube.

As the water in the bottom chamber boils, it creates a vacuum that forces the water into the top chamber.

The coffee grounds are then steeped in hot water.

After brewing, you place the pot back on the heat source.

The vacuum pulls the brewed coffee back down into the bottom chamber, leaving the grounds behind in the top chamber.

SoftBrew: SoftBrew is a type of coffee maker that uses an immersion brewing method.

It’s similar to French press coffee, but it doesn’t require a plunger.

Instead, you simply let the coffee steep in hot water for a few minutes before removing the grounds.

Steeping: Steeping is another term for immersion brewing.

You mix hot water directly with the coffee grinds.

Afterward, you separate the coffee grinds from the resulting coffee.

Is a French Press Stronger Than a Drip?

The coffee made from a French press is stronger than drip coffee.

All the coffee grounds get used when making coffee in a French press.

When you make drip coffee, the filter catches some of the coffee grinds.

Less caffeine ends up in your cup.

If you want a weaker cup of coffee, simply use fewer coffee grounds when making French press coffee.

Is a French Press Worth It?

The French press is a great way to make coffee if you want a strong, flavorful cup of coffee.

It’s also a relatively inexpensive brewing method.

The only disadvantage to the process?

It takes a bit more time and effort than a drip machine, for example.

If you’re looking for an easy and quick way to make coffee, then the French press might not become your favorite method.

If you’re willing to take the time to make a great cup of coffee, however, then you should walk away feeling like you made a great purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions About a French Press

Here are a few frequently asked questions about the French press.

Can I use regular coffee in a French press?  

Yes, you can use regular coffee in a French press.

Just make sure to grind the beans freshly for the best results.

Also, start with coarse coffee grounds.

Can I French press coffee twice?  

Yes, you can, but only if you don’t mind the flavor changing.

It will likely taste watered down and possibly even bitter because you’ve already extracted most of the flavor from the first press.

How do you dispose of coffee grounds in a French press?

You can dispose of coffee grounds in a French press by composting them.

Coffee grounds make good compost because they’re rich in nitrogen.

You can also use them as fertilizer for plants.

If you don’t want to compost the coffee grounds, you can throw them away in the trash.

Just make sure to put them in a biodegradable bag first.

Is French press coffee healthier?  

Some people say that French press coffee is healthier because it doesn’t use a paper filter.

Paper filters can remove some of the coffee’s natural oils.

These oils contain antioxidants, which provide health benefits.

Will French press coffee raise your cholesterol?

Coffee, in general, is not going to raise your cholesterol.

However, how you make your coffee can have an effect.

If you add cream and sugar to your coffee, that will increase the calories and fat.

French press coffee made with just water and coffee grounds will not raise your cholesterol.

Outro

How does a French press work? You now know the answer.

It’s time to get brewing!

It’s a simple method and only requires a few steps.

Plus, it’s a great way to make fresh, flavorful coffee.

Give it a try today and see for yourself how easy it is to use a French press.

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