What is the Best Coffee for French Press? The Beginners Guide
In the 1800s, the French press was invented, and the world of coffee lovers was never the same again. Coarsely ground coffee is placed in a glass beaker, and almost boiling water is added for brewing. A mesh metal filter is then used to separate the grounds to give you a rich coffee cup with no residue. But what is the best coffee for the French press?
The simple answer is that you should start by using a coarse ground dark roast. We like grinding our own French roast coffee beans in a burr grinder set to one of the larger settings. This will ensure you make a fresh cup of French press coffee and is the most traditional way to make French press coffee.
But not everyone likes dark roast coffee and there are many other options you can choose from. Although the French press machine is straightforward to use, an important question arises: what is the best coffee for the French press that aligns with your taste? Do some coffee beans taste better than others when brewed in the French press?
Why is the French Press so Popular?
Before diving into the technical features of the coffee beans, one must wonder why many people love the French press so much.
The answer lies in the simplicity of the machine. Unlike other coffee machines, this one doesn’t need access to electricity. Once you’ve picked the right coffee and heated the water to an adequate temperature, your coffee will be almost ready.
With a French press, there is no need for upkeep costs. You don’t need to buy filters or to replace any parts of the machine. Proper cleaning is usually enough to guarantee that your French press will work the way it should. Most French press machines are also affordable.
Everything but the ground coffee will end up in your cup. All the flavors, aroma, texture, and taste will be released during the extraction and steeping processes. You can control your coffee’s strength by adjusting the coffee to water ratio and extending or reducing the steeping time.
The remaining ground coffee can also be used in multiple ways, so there will be no waste. You can use ground coffee to fertilize your garden, repel bugs, clean the skin of your pet, or as a natural exfoliator for your skin.
French Press Coffee is Old School
Some people would argue that there’s some work involved with brewing your coffee in a French press. Of course, nothing is easier than adding a scoop of coffee grounds to a coffee machine and let it do all the work on your behalf. You don’t need to measure the time of brewing or press the plunger.
However, the French press will provide you with an exceptional brew that is totally worth the wait and the effort. The coffee has a fuller body and richer taste than other coffee prepared using other brewing methods because the metal mesh filter presses the ground beans to release their natural oils. Your coffee will have a more intense taste and a richer aroma.
Which Coffee is Best for My French Press?
Brewing any kind of beans would work in the French press. As long as you’re buying high-quality coffee beans that have been properly stored (check out our article on how to prevent espresso from expiring), you will have tasty coffee. There are 2 factors to think about when you’re choosing coffee for your French press; the grind and the roast.
What really matters when you’re brewing coffee in the French press is the grind. For the French press, you need to stick to medium-coarse to coarse ground coffee that won’t pass through the holes in the metal filter.
During the extraction process, water needs to cover a bigger surface area to release the taste and flavor. During the steeping process, the ground coffee beans will release carbon dioxide, intensifying the taste and aroma of your coffee.
Grinding your own coffee beans works best because you can guarantee that your coffee is fresh, and you can pick how coarse the ground coffee will be. A good grinder will provide you with even yet coarse coffee that retains its natural flavor and aroma.
This will add more time to the preparation time because you will have to grind your coffee before each use. However, freshly ground coffee will guarantee the best taste.
Type of Grinder
Manual and electric grinders will work. Using a manual grinder, you will keep on grinding until you reach the desired consistency. If you’re using an electric grinder, there will be different settings, and you should pick medium-coarse to coarse ground coffee.
If you’re buying pre-ground coffee, you should stick to coarse coffee or one that is marketed to be used in a French press machine. Finely ground beans that work for your espresso shots won’t yield the desired results when you’re brewing coffee in the French press. The grounds will pass through the metal filter, leaving a gritty residue in your coffee that affects its appearance and taste.
Another good option if you don’t want to spend money on a grinder or feel that you can’t find the perfect pre-ground coffee is to buy the coffee beans and head to a local coffee house and ask them to grind the beans for you. Commercial grinders usually have a unique setting for the French press and will produce ground coffee of ideal size.
Typically, any kind of roast would work if you’re brewing coffee in a French press. However, most people choose dark roasts because they have lower acidity. The coffee brewed will have an intense “coffee” taste and less of the “grassy” taste of the green coffee beans.
Darker coffee beans will have their oils on the surface. When you use the plunger in the French press, these oils will be extracted and transferred to your brewed coffee to add more taste and texture.
However, some people feel that dark roasts can be too intense. They have a stronger taste that might not work for everyone. You can always try medium or medium-dark roasts to enjoy a full taste that is not too intense or bitter.
How to Brew the Perfect Coffee in the French Press?
The French press is a classic yet exceptional brewing method that allows you to enjoy fuller coffee with minimum costs. The machine is so simple and easy to use, but there are a few tips that can help you brew your French press coffee, just like an experienced barista.
- Always preheat your French press using hot water. This is essential whether you’re using a glass or stainless-steel model. The right temperature is essential for brewing perfect coffee, and if the temperature drops, the extraction and brewing processes will be jeopardized.
- If you’re using a burr grinder, pick the coarse setting. If you’re using a blade grinder, don’t grind as much as you would when you’re grinding coffee for a drip machine.
- Maintain consistent coffee to water ratio to enjoy the same tasty flavor every time. Use a scale if you’re not sure about the right amount, but you can also use a teaspoon.
- For an adequate cup of coffee, you should use 10 to 15 grams of water for every gram of coffee. You can experiment with different amounts until you reach your most favorite coffee to water ratio.
- If you prefer strong coffee, decrease the amount of water. If you like your coffee to be on the milder side, reduce the steeping time, increase the amount of water, or reduce the amount of ground coffee.
- Pour the water in a spiral motion to guarantee that all the beans are evenly submerged for maximum extraction. You will notice the appearance of bubbles as the carbon dioxide is released from the coffee beans to enhance the flavor and taste of your coffee.
- Let the water sit for about 30 seconds to guarantee maximum extraction. After that, gently stir the coffee to move the ground coffee that was collected on top of the water. Don’t stir too hard, as this might make your coffee too bitter or too intense.
- Press the plunger gently to separate the ground coffee from the liquid. The mesh metal filter will allow the oils to pass through, unlike a paper filter in a coffee machine. As a result, pressing too hard will push more oils through, intensifying the taste of your coffee.
- Wait for about 4 to 5 minutes to guarantee maximum extraction and steeping, then push the plunger all the way through. This will keep the ground coffee at the bottom of your French press, with no residue in your brewed coffee.
- Your coffee is ready. After pouring the coffee, you can add more hot water if you feel that the taste is too strong.
- Don’t keep the coffee in the French press for too long. Over-steeping the coffee will result in a bitter, over-extracted coffee that doesn’t taste nice. If you don’t want to consume the whole amount, you should transfer it into a carafe or thermos for future use.
A French press is a straightforward yet reliable machine that you can use to prepare delicious coffee with a rich body and taste. Using coarse or medium-coarse freshly ground coffee works best because the residue won’t pass through the mesh filter or end up in your coffee cup.
All the oils and flavors are released during the extraction and steeping phases to give your coffee more taste and body. You can control how strong your coffee is by adjusting the steeping time or water amount.
Stay caffeinated friends!