Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How Much Coffee Goes Into A French Press

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To continue with my series on making french press coffee we need to address an all too common (and basic) question - how much coffee grind should go into a french press coffee maker?

For a novice coffee snob the answer to this can be surprisingly complex. A simple gander at common threads around the web reveals just how many different opinions there are on the topic.

Although I understand the argument for anyone's basic brewing technique I also understand that someone using a french press for the first time needs to use it a bit before feeling good about the process. It really takes a nerd to take it a step further and start analyzing the science behind coffee.

For starters you should know that french press pots (for most people) require a larger grind. If you are used to buying pre-ground coffee from normal big brands then look on the packaging for labeling that says coarse grind. Some people prefer using a finer grind than this but for starters just go with coarse.

Coarse ground coffee can also easily be made yourself at home with just about any standard coffee bean grinder. Sure there are better grinders but as long as you have one try to be happy with it until you decide you want to upgrade to the best one you can afford.

As for the amount of coffee you place in the french press this is always ripe for debate. For beginners using the french press the best and most common standard advise is to keep it super simple, get used to the process and then start experimenting changing individual variables at a time until you get the best cup of coffee for your own palate.

Basic Coffee Grind To Water Ratio For French Press Coffee

Standard wisdom is to use roughly one tablespoon of ground coffee (measure your scoop to see how big it is for reference) per 8oz of water. Obviously some people like to use more and others like to use less. If your grind is more fine or more coarse this can and will change the optimal amount of grind to use but for starters use the basic ratio - 1tbs per every 8oz of water.

If you boil 16 ounces of water then use two tablespoons of coffee the next few times you use the french press. If it's too weak then try adding a bit more or giving it a little longer to steep before pouring into your cup.

Get That Down And Then Experiment As Much As You Care

In actuality you'll find there are so many variables to experiment from this basic ratio of coffee to water that your final "optimal" french press technique may be quite unique.

For instance you can get a stronger or more flavorful cup of coffee by using a finer grind, longer steep time, stirring the press pot once or twice prior to pouring, using a different coffee, grinding it with a burr grinder as opposed to blade grinder, or you could do a mixture of all these.

Start brewing with a super simple and basic formula and then slowly experiment with that formula over time. You'll appreciate the art of making good coffee much more and your morning cup will be less of a chore and more of an experience.

Ohh yeah, if you're brewing more than you need immediately make sure to pour it from the press pot into a thermal carafe otherwise it will get cold pretty quickly. This is handy for those making a few cups of coffee for themselves in the morning. You can see this post for a list of quality thermal carafes with excellent heat retention.

Other Articles In This Series
How Hot Should The Water Be In A French Press

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