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Brewing coffee is an art form. For some coffee connoisseurs it is more than just pressing a button on the drip coffee machine in the morning, rather it’s a chance to interact with their drinks to create the perfect cup of coffee.
A French press is an essential tool for coffee lovers who want a lot of flavor in their coffee, but unlike drip machines and espresso machines, making a cup of coffee with a French press isn’t as simple as pushing a button.
The process begins with the choice of beans, grinding the beans and adding them to the press. Water is added, and then the water is forced through the coffee grinds as the plunger is depressed. A well-made French press will keep the grounds at the bottom under the plunger, leaving you with a very nice cup of coffee.
To achieve that wonderful cup of coffee, though, the better prepared you are, the better the cup of coffee.
One of the most important aspects of brewing the perfect cup of French press coffee is making sure that you’re brewing at the right temperature.
Best Water Temperature For French Press Coffee
Oddly enough, it’s easier to burn coffee in a French press than it is to brew it at the proper temperature. Either you burn it, or it’s not hot enough. Getting the right temperature, as in exactly right, is the key to a perfect cup of coffee.
The proper brewing temperature for a French press is 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Obtaining 200 degree water isn’t easy without a thermometer, so the best way to gauge temperature is to boil your water first. Once the water is boiling, remove it from heat and let it sit for about 30 seconds. At that point, you’re right around 200 degrees and it will be ready to pour into the press.
Remember, boiling water is too hot, and not quite boiling isn’t hot enough. You want it to be right in the middle.
What To Look For In A French Press
Like standard drip coffee makers, there isn’t much that distinguishes French presses from each other. They are designed to brew coffee, plain and simple.
French press enthusiasts will tell you that there is a world of difference between presses, and though the basic design is the same the brewing experience will vary based on the model and brand of your press.
Most French presses are made of glass, but some offer double stainless steel walls with a vacuum seal that will help keep the coffee hot hours after you brew it. Some are ceramic on the outside, while others have a textured coating on the outside to give the press an expensive appearance. Some presses have plastic and rubber components in the plunger mechanism while others are entirely stainless steel.
The best advice for choosing the French press that’s right for you is to think about the amount of coffee you brew regularly to ensure that you can make enough in the press, and whether you need to keep it warm while you enjoy it. Think of it this way: If you’re a multiple cup drinker, or you’re sharing coffee with other members of your household, then getting a larger capacity, well insulated French press makes the most sense. You can always make less, but you can’t make more in a smaller press.
French Press Coffee: Tips and Tricks
A French press can froth milk and make tea, hot chocolate, moka, lattes and cappuccino. It’s possible to combine coffees and loose tea to deliver bold new flavors, and much of the fun of it comes from experimenting with it until you find what works for you.
Though French presses are not designed for use with fine grinds, some enthusiasts prefer using the finest grinds possible in order to extract every bit of flavor, just as you would when making an espresso. A good French press will make it possible for you to use those fine grinds without allowing the grounds to pass through the filter. A fine mesh filter should do the trick just fine.
In the end, no matter which French press you use, or which type of coffee that you prefer, the key to brewing the best cup of coffee possible is to make sure you’re brewing at the right temperature.