Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Press Pot / French Press Coffee


  • Please log in to reply
140 replies to this topic

#121 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,165 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 10 March 2010 - 07:11 AM

There are a lot of different grinds of couscous. When I make French press, I generally just go a bit coarser than for drip.

But it's always going to be a heavier bodied coffee than drip, and there will always be grounds in the bottom of your cup.
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#122 Shel_B

Shel_B
  • participating member
  • 2,189 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 10 March 2010 - 07:21 AM

There are a lot of different grinds of couscous. When I make French press, I generally just go a bit coarser than for drip.

But it's always going to be a heavier bodied coffee than drip, and there will always be grounds in the bottom of your cup.


Yep! That's one of the things that troubled/puzzled me since couscous comes in several grinds. Considering how "detailed and precise" CI tries to be, this instruction seems somewhat vague. It seems that no matter how coarse I make the grind, there's always some residue or grounds to be found.

Here's the video

Edited by Shel_B, 10 March 2010 - 07:27 AM.

.... Shel


#123 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 1,959 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 10 March 2010 - 07:23 AM

Shel_B, first is your grinder capable of producing that type of grind. Not all are. My Maestro Plus has a FP setting and I would say the grind is similar to a fine couscous. This is what I use when using my FP.

There are many preferences when preparing coffee. I know some who steep for 3 min, some use a stop watch and it has to be 3' 30", yet others who grind finer and steep shorter. Let your palate be your guide

#124 Shel_B

Shel_B
  • participating member
  • 2,189 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 10 March 2010 - 07:31 AM

Shel_B, first is your grinder capable of producing that type of grind. Not all are. My Maestro Plus has a FP setting and I would say the grind is similar to a fine couscous. This is what I use when using my FP.

There are many preferences when preparing coffee. I know some who steep for 3 min, some use a stop watch and it has to be 3' 30", yet others who grind finer and steep shorter. Let your palate be your guide


Thanks. I'm pretty content with the results I'm getting. I'm mostly interested in seeing if they can be improved and what others are doing and think about the CI method. While in some ways I'm pretty fussy about my first cup of the day, after that I can be pretty cavalier about how the coffee is brewed.

.... Shel


#125 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,165 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 10 March 2010 - 07:35 AM

It seems that no matter how coarse I make the grind, there's always some residue or grounds to be found.

That's true because even most high-end grinders produce a bit of "fines," or coffee dust, which is not filtered out by the screen in a French press pot.
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#126 bmdaniel

bmdaniel
  • participating member
  • 482 posts

Posted 10 March 2010 - 09:08 AM

I couldn't recommend the aeropress highly enough - definitely a solution to the fines issue.

#127 paulraphael

paulraphael
  • participating member
  • 2,668 posts

Posted 10 March 2010 - 10:22 AM

I've been experimenting with my coffee lately. Trying to figure out why I've been making better coffee at my girfriend's apartment with a whirly blade grinder, no measuring, and no timing, than I do at home where everything's done with laboratory precision.

I'm starting to gather that my grind is plenty coarse, and that I wasn't brewing long enough. I've always gone 4 minutes. I tried 3 minutes at the recommendation of many people and everything got exactly worse. So I went up to 5 minutes, which sounds long. Everything improved: better body, and the acidity brought into balance.

I haven't played with the grind size much ... I'm keeping things close to the coarsest setting on my Baratza Maestro burr grinder. Seems like shorter brew times give thinner body and more pronounced acidity; longer brew times more body and more bitterness.

#128 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,620 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 08 June 2011 - 11:42 AM

I've settled into 32-35g coffee (Intelligensia El Diablo) ground in the blade coffee grinder (I go by pitch now, about 15-20 seconds) with 500 ml of filtered water. Wet grinds; when they give off their aroma, I add the full dose, stir, and set the timer to 4:44. (No real reason except that I only have to press one button three times. I haven't had my caffeine, after all.)

So here's my question: determining the temperature of the water. How do people do that? If I have time, I bring it to the boil and set it aside for 1 minute, which seems to work. But the temp on the stove isn't the same as the temp off the stove isn't the same as the temp poured into the container....
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#129 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 1,959 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 08 June 2011 - 11:53 AM

I bring water off the boil and let it sit until I've ground my beans. The temp drops to about 205* at the time of pouring.

#130 Zachary

Zachary
  • participating member
  • 117 posts

Posted 08 June 2011 - 12:36 PM

Chris,

I typically use a Thermopen to measure water temp, shooting for 202-204. Add hot water to the FP and your cup to warm. I use 2 g of coffee to one ounce of water, which is about what you're using. Add the coffee to the FP, add about 4 oz of water, let it bloom for 30 seconds, and swirl the FP to knock the bloom down a bit. Add the remaining water, and time for 3:30-3:45, then press and pour into the emptied cup.

Thanks,

Zachary

#131 emannths

emannths
  • participating member
  • 268 posts
  • Location:Somerville, MA

Posted 09 June 2011 - 06:46 AM

Oh, hello french press thread!

Chris, I too use a thermapen. I measure the temperature off the heat (I remove the kettle to a spare burner and measure it there). I've considered buying one of the electric kettles that has setpoints of 1deg F, but I'm too nervous to drop $50-70 on one only to find out that they were being overly optimistic with their precision.

While I'm here, I figured I'd share two related techniques that I think really improved my FP coffee. The first is the "break and skim" technique, where you break the crust of floating grounds at the top of the press, allowing most to sink to the bottom, and then skim off the remaining foam. It turns out that this foam contains a lot of the fines, and skimming it really cleans up the taste of the resulting coffee and reduces the amount of fines in the cup. The second technique, which is related, is to treat the press much like a cupping cup, where the grounds are simply allowed to settle to the bottom and the coffee decanted off the top. In a french press, this is accomplished by breaking the crust and allowing the grounds to settle, skimming, and then not plunging the filter into the coffee. You then decant the coffee slowly through the filter into your cup or thermos, leaving the pile of grounds in the bottom of the press. Doing this again helps to clean up the cup by not stirring up the grounds, and allowing them to ask as their own filter, trapping the smaller particles.

I'm not sure how well these techniques work with blade grinders--I use a Capresso Infinity, which may be better at minimizing fines than a blade grinder. But I'd encourage your to give it a shot and see if you notice any difference. I thought the difference was huge.

Here's where I learned this stuff:
James Hoffman's French Press Technique (more info and discussion in some of his subsequent posts)
"Cupping-style" French Press technique

#132 Zachary

Zachary
  • participating member
  • 117 posts

Posted 09 June 2011 - 07:09 AM

Chris,

Because I'm going to use it here in a second, Max Gonzalez from Catalina Coffee in Houston taught me this one:

1. Disassemble your FP. You want the plunger and the filter screen assembly, but not the lid. Reassemble the plunger to the screen assembly.
2. Preheat water and grind coffee as usual.
3. Put the plunger into the FP carafe in the down position. Put the coffee on top of the filter assembly, fill with water as usual.
4. Pull up on the plunger, which should trap most of the grounds on the way up.
5. Remove plunger and set aside. Pour coffee.

This has the added benefit of getting the grounds out of the coffee immediately after brewing, and results in a much cleaner cup.

Thanks,

Zachary

#133 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 1,959 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 09 June 2011 - 11:30 AM

A reverse press. Like the clover. Well not exactly

#134 Wholemeal Crank

Wholemeal Crank
  • participating member
  • 1,651 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles, CA

Posted 20 June 2011 - 12:15 AM

For a non-coffee drinker who wants to offer guests an option of something a step up from a drip filter and a mug, any specific recommendations for a small volume (single serving) french press? I don't drink coffee either so I can't advise my mother on what to get, but it apparently has been requested by a couple of visitors.

#135 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,165 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 20 June 2011 - 07:54 AM

For a non-coffee drinker who wants to offer guests an option of something a step up from a drip filter and a mug, any specific recommendations for a small volume (single serving) french press? I don't drink coffee either so I can't advise my mother on what to get, but it apparently has been requested by a couple of visitors.

As I've writ many times, I use a drip filter for single cups and it's great. But a small french press (Bodum?) will do fine too.

More importantly, is your water good? Is it heated to the proper temperature? Is your coffee fresh? And are you grinding it right before you brew? Any of these is just as, if not more, important than the methodology you use to brew your coffee.
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#136 emannths

emannths
  • participating member
  • 268 posts
  • Location:Somerville, MA

Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:07 AM

More importantly, is your water good? Is it heated to the proper temperature? Is your coffee fresh? And are you grinding it right before you brew? Any of these is just as, if not more, important than the methodology you use to brew your coffee.


Yep, these are the questions to ask. Most modern brewing methods are approximately equivalent in the objective quality of the coffee they brew, given good ingredients and a skilled operator. The coffee each produces has a different character to it, but it's hard to say that one method is objectively superior to another.

Wholemeal Crank, Bodum makes presses at least as small at 4-4oz cups, which in practice will yield about 12-14oz of coffee. But there's no reason you couldn't buy a larger press to allow you to make larger batches and simply fill it less to make smaller batches (I do this all the time). For me, in practice, making French press coffee takes about 10 minutes of undivided attention (preheating the carafe, heating the water, grinding the beans, stirring the grounds midway through the 4 minute brew, decanting the coffee), which may make it a little less appealing than other methods while entertaining.

Pourover works well for single cups, and if your mother really wants to go coffee-geek on it, she can spring for a Hario cone, but there's some technique needed to get the most out of it. For someone that doesn't drink coffee (and thus won't have the best, freshest beans and the motivation to develop her technique), it's probably not worth it if she's already got pourover gear. Most non-Hario pourover equipment tends to limit the amount of control you have over some aspects of the brewing, which is a problem if you're striving for the best cup, but isn't an issue if you're not going to exercise the control that the Hario gives you.

Another alternative is the Aeropress [Amazon link]. It gets lots of love, it's fast, it's easy, and it's good for single cup brewing.

#137 Wholemeal Crank

Wholemeal Crank
  • participating member
  • 1,651 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles, CA

Posted 20 June 2011 - 10:27 AM

Thanks for the great tips. As it turns out, she's a bit more conservative on the subject than I suspected, and already complained the the small bodum I suggested doesn't look like the chrome and glass french press she used to have. I like the mug top aeropress, looks a lot like some of the wonderfully clever and handy gadgets coming out now for preparing tea on the go, but I don't think she'll go for it.

I think she will be happiest if we just replace the traditional style french press, so it looks the same as what she's used to. The time isn't really an issue, as I think this was requested by guests who prepare the coffee themselves when they're over (my sibling and mom's best friend, IIRC), who remember the one that got cleared out with the overwhelming accumulation of my father's kitchenwares. We got a bit too enthusiastic, it seems, in our Mom-friendly kitchen makeover.

#138 gingerpeach

gingerpeach
  • participating member
  • 60 posts

Posted 30 July 2011 - 01:39 AM

Any recommendations for a specific brand/model of French press? Our beloved Ikea one was recalled. We replaced it with a Bodum Brazil, but the plastic part that holds the filter assembly broke on our second use. A quick scan of other Bodum presses on Amazon showed similar problems with other models. Thanks!

#139 Mjx

Mjx
  • host
  • 5,670 posts

Posted 30 July 2011 - 03:51 AM

Any recommendations for a specific brand/model of French press? Our beloved Ikea one was recalled. We replaced it with a Bodum Brazil, but the plastic part that holds the filter assembly broke on our second use. A quick scan of other Bodum presses on Amazon showed similar problems with other models. Thanks!


We've had the Bodum Crema model for a couple of years, no problems or complaints, here. The only plastic parts are the ones that are visible externally; the filter+plate, shaft, and thing that holds the filter and plate in place are all metal.
Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

#140 emannths

emannths
  • participating member
  • 268 posts
  • Location:Somerville, MA

Posted 01 August 2011 - 06:46 AM

I've been using the Chambord model for years; it's also got an all-metal shaft/filter assembly. I've broken a couple carafes, but I stick to glass because it doesn't scratch or hold onto oils like plastic. I'd consider one of the stainless steel models simply for anti-breakage purposes, but since I preheat the carafe and my thermos by microwaving a carafe of water, I need a microwaveable carafe. I also like to decant the coffee without plunging, and the transparent carafe helps me see the coffee and grounds as I'm decanting. I don't like that the Chambord model feels fairly unstable since it has only four points of contact with the ground, but I've never actually broken a carafe while it was in the holder, so it may be an unfounded worry.

#141 DanM

DanM
  • participating member
  • 869 posts

Posted 21 August 2011 - 08:04 AM

I have the Bodum Bean model. It's $20ish and so far reliable.
"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.