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Old 01-07-2014, 01:39 PM   #1
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Default French Press

So, I recently got a French Press and only have a basic idea on how to use it "properly". What are some basic things that I should know about this new-fangled contraption? What' be some good coffee to use in it (right now I only use the grocery store stuff)? Any other tips/ tricks are greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: French Press

If you don't have a grinder, get one.
Try small lots of different whole beans.
I've been using a press exclusively for about 6 yrs.
and I'm still trying new bean blends.
I've found that aprox. 1 scoop per 2 cups of water , but of coarse your mileage will vary to taste.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: French Press

You want a course grind when using a press unless you like grinds in your teeth
Try to find a local roaster, you really can taste a difference compared to the well known market brands.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: French Press

I do have a bean grinder (though it's a blade, not a burr grinder). I'll grab some different beans to try.

Right now I'm doing about 1 scoop per cup, maybe a bit more (I like "thick" coffee), and usually let it steep for around 4 minutes, with the water being roughly 180 degrees F. Does all that sound about right? I also believe there aren't any immediately local roasters, but I'll for sure look into it.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: French Press

Darryl (or anybody), do you ever use the aeropress? that's what I normally go with when I have time to make an individual cup, but maybe it's time I break out the old french press and play around a little, guess I don't give it enough credit.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: French Press

Been using a the same French Press for over 30 years. Once you have an idea of how much coffee goes into it, you can eyeball from there. No need to measure.

Make sure the water is off-boil, not boiling. Add a pinch of salt to the coffee. Pour in about 3 oz. of water into pot with coffee grounds already added. Stir to get it all mixed in well, add the rest of the water, plunge the coffee so all of the grinds are under water (about 1" down). Wait about 4 minute's and then plunge coffee.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: French Press

Here's a thread posted back in March 2009 by Novasurf for review that may help:

http://www.cigarasylum.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12476
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: French Press

Sa-weet!
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: French Press

Quote:
Originally Posted by stearns View Post
Darryl (or anybody), do you ever use the aeropress? that's what I normally go with when I have time to make an individual cup, but maybe it's time I break out the old french press and play around a little, guess I don't give it enough credit.

I have an aeropress and a chemex. Which one I use typically depends on how much coffee I want or need to make. I find them to be very comparable in output quality, the chemex seems to produce coffee with more body while the aeropress coffee is brighter.

Never much cared for the murky and often bitter coffee that the french press produced so I eventually gave them all away.
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: French Press

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkinCA View Post
Here's a thread posted back in March 2009 by Novasurf for review that may help:

http://www.cigarasylum.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12476
Actually just finished making a pot of coffee via the FP using Norms (Novasurf) formula from the above thread. Going with 20oz of water x .057 gave me 1.14 oz of Trader Joes House Blend (Columbian and Sumatra blend) to grind. Added the grind to the the FP followed by the 20oz of hot water, stir, and cover for app 4min. Produces a mild to medium body of coffee which would probably be drinkable to the majority of coffee consumers out there with no problem. I generally go with 1.75 oz though. But that's just me

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I have an aeropress and a chemex. Which one I use typically depends on how much coffee I want or need to make. I find them to be very comparable in output quality, the chemex seems to produce coffee with more body while the aeropress coffee is brighter.

Never much cared for the murky and often bitter coffee that the french press produced so I eventually gave them all away.
If I need just one cup, I go to my Melita One Cupper with a brown #2 cone filter. I place 3 tablespoons of coffee beans into the Mr. Coffee grinder set at "fine" and "12 cups" for a very fine grind. Love the coffee that produces. Sometimes an extra tablespoon for the fun of it depending on the coffee bean
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:53 PM   #11
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Default Re: French Press

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkinCA View Post
Produces a mild to medium body of coffee which would probably be drinkable to the majority of coffee consumers out there with no problem. I generally go with 1.75 oz though. But that's just me
No, I think that's the Navy rubbing off on you. Holy hell that was that I shock the first time I got a cup of coffee aboard a ship, it was crunchy coffee and I don't think I slept for 2 days afterwards.


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If I need just one cup, I go to my Melita One Cupper with a brown #2 cone filter. I place 3 tablespoons of coffee beans into the Mr. Coffee grinder set at "fine" and "12 cups" for a very fine grind. Love the coffee that produces. Sometimes an extra tablespoon for the fun of it depending on the coffee bean
I have four of those, two #2's, two #4's, I use them for straining soups and used fry oil before storage.

Nothing wrong with pour over, I used it for years and that's all the chemex is, it just has really, really high grade filters and they are true cones so you don't get water channels like you can in the melita semi-cones or mr coffee style flat bottomed filters. Honestly, I didn't think there would be that big a difference between the melita and the chemex - then I tried one and it was huge.

I actually prefer the aeropress and making one cup at a time, but when I'm filling 1L carafes and especially the 2.5L airpot, the chemex is so much simpler than making a bunch of americanos with the aeropress.

Last edited by T.G; 01-07-2014 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:33 PM   #12
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Default Re: French Press

A pinch of salt? What does the salt do?


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Originally Posted by mosesbotbol View Post
Been using a the same French Press for over 30 years. Once you have an idea of how much coffee goes into it, you can eyeball from there. No need to measure.

Make sure the water is off-boil, not boiling. Add a pinch of salt to the coffee. Pour in about 3 oz. of water into pot with coffee grounds already added. Stir to get it all mixed in well, add the rest of the water, plunge the coffee so all of the grinds are under water (about 1" down). Wait about 4 minute's and then plunge coffee.
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: French Press

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A pinch of salt? What does the salt do?
It can reduce the apparent bitterness.
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Old 02-18-2014, 05:59 AM   #14
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Default Re: French Press

Oh ok- interesting. I've never heard of that before but that makes sense.
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:10 AM   #15
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Default Re: French Press

Depending on the brewing / extraction method, it's effect might not be noticeable. In a french press, where nothing but coffee and water are involved for a long extraction time, it can be noticeable. Shorter brew times and/or certain filters can potentially reduce or eliminate the bitterness too. It's all rather subjective, personally, even with a pinch of salt, I still find french press coffee to often be unpalatable. YMMV.

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Old 02-18-2014, 07:00 AM   #16
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Default Re: French Press

In my rather short adventure with a French press so far, I've found I love Ethiopian yiracheffe. It to me is a bright cup, and the press brews it perfectly for me.

I'm a sucker for minimalism though. I have an espresso machine somewhere, but haven't used it in years.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:31 PM   #17
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Default Re: French Press

Another trick is wrap a towel around carafe to insulate it. We usually pour the coffee into a thermos that was pre-filled with excess boiling water. Same for the mugs.

Why waste the coffee's energy warming the mug? Rather keep my coffee warm, longer...
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:11 PM   #18
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Default Re: French Press

In my experience,bitterness derives from three sources:
1.over roasted coffee
2.water too hot
3.coffee left on the heat too long

I have the french press,a drip machine,and an espresso,and I roast my own coffee.
The drip can over cook coffee by being left on for extended periods.
The french roast will make bitter coffee if the water is too hot or the roast is too dark(burnt).
The espresso will be bitter if the roast is too dark.
Since I have been roasting my own (3+ years) there have been no problems.

Pektel,brightness in a cup is evidence of city roast,combined with freshness in the beans.I get a blueberry flavor from Yirgacheffe and Sidamo when I roast to city level.

Some beans can produce a Meyer lemon or grapefruit taste, orange zest,plums,lots of things.
Darker (city+ to full city) roasts can produce caramel,cocoa,graham cracker,cake or cookie type flavors.
You can also adjust coffee flavor profiles by changing the grind,I use an espresso grind in my drip unit and get a deeper extraction and more espresso-like cup.
Use a french press grind and get an almost delicate taste from the drip unit.
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:54 AM   #19
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Default Re: French Press

Buy a vac pump coffee maker! After spending three years in Tokyo, I finally learned how to make the best tasting coffee.

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