The Best French Press Brew Guide On The Internets

 
By 18 July 2011
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It’s been ages since we made a proper french press at home. But a few days ago, the Senior Staff of Sprudge.com found themselves mysteriously out of filters, with nary a Kantan disposable dripper or Woodneck replacement sock in sight. Communicating by satellite phone, we dusted off our 8 cup Bodum Chambord french presses and set them on our respective scales. But wait. How many grams go into that 8 cup french press again? And what’s Bodum’s metric for those 8 cups? Is the applicable Danish cup size 4 ounces or 5?

It hit us like a ton of bricks: We can’t find one single set of press pot instructions – on BrewMethods.com or anywhere else – that define these terms. “Use 2 rounded tablespoons of coffee for every 8 ounces of water” What does that even mean, really? Are we measuring total ounces by filling up the water to the bottom of the top band or all the way to the tippy-top? When do we plunge? Who shot JR?

We needed help from a real expert, so we turned to Four Barrel Coffee’s “Brewing Better Coffee At Home” teacher and Sprudge.com “Hunk In Residence”, Matthew P. Williams. “Don’t pay attention to French Press charlatans or voodoo magic”, Matthew told us, “just use a scale and your brain smarts.”

Let’s start with the smallest option: the 3 cup. Try using around 19 grams of coffee and use around 300ml of water. “This will make about a mug of coffee,” says Matthew, “I’m personally not a fan of the three cup FP. It loses a lot of heat very quickly so grind a little finer and do a three minute extraction. I wouldn’t define a different grind size and different brew time for each of the French Press sizes, that’s just splitting hairs for what should be really forgiving way of making coffee. But when we’re talking about brewing on this little 3-cup, I find I get better results tightening the grind and reducing the time.”

Here are the French Press brewing specs we use here at SprudgeLabs:

And here, dear readers, is a rough-and-ready SprugeLabs approach to making top notch french press in your Bodum Chambord.

1. Grind fresh coffee. Use good coffee, seriously you guys, just click on any of the words in this sentence.

2. Place the press on your scale, add the coffee and tare the scale. Use a nice scale, and if you don’t have one, buy here at Espresso Parts or your favorite local head shop.

2. Use water heated to 195-205 degrees.

3. Start your timer as soon as you add as much water as you can without having the whole thing blooming on your counter top. After around sixty seconds, stir gently to submerge all of the coffee grounds, and add the rest of the water if necessary. Secure the press pot plunger.

4. At four minutes (except for the small 3-cup), plunge the coffee.

5. Let all the fines settle to the bottom of the French Press for a minute or so and then serve into mugs or transfer to a decanter (a pre-heated Chemex works great for this).

Pro-tip: Pull the plunger up so it’s not resting on oily ground coffee. This will make clean-up easier.

And you’re done! It’s time to sip some coffee. Bye y’all, see you at the block party tonight!

 
  • I delight in, cause I found exactly what I used to be having a look for.
    You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man.
    Have a nice day. Bye

    Reply
  • Daniel says:

    Great guide. Keep in mind that the press itself is also very important. I don’t like polycarbonate presses because they tend to hold odor, for example. Metal or glass are the best French press materials. This page has a good overview of how to choose the best French press.
    http://www.coffeekrave.com/best-french-press/

    Reply
  • Gary says:

    Some of the guide may be a little brief with regards to prepping the equipment and coffee, but anyone advocating properly brewed french press coffee has my vote! Would be good to see some blind tests based on differing variables in the preparation.

    Reply
  • The Best French Press Brew Guide On The Internets http://t.co/ENun8xX

    Reply
  • Here’s a little helpful guide for all you home french press gurus. This isn’t the almighty word on press making,… http://t.co/pjWmmaP

    Reply
  • spinderella says:

    EXCUSE ME, ahem, *snort*, [adjusts glasses] excuse me, sirs, but I for one am SHOCKED and APPALLED at the poor quality of this particular, ahem, *snort*, “brewing guide.”

    Your many omissions are onerous and multitudinous, for surely you must KNOW that it is standard procedure to PRE-HEAT ALL IMPLEMENTS, including the inside of your mouth, so as to avoid the nastiness of flavor leech, heat sink night sweats, and worst of all, the dreaded Rear Admiral.

    FOR SHAME!

    Reply
  • Andrew Lopez says:

    I also urge you to consider this factor as well…the bloom.
    http://leylandjacob.com/2009/11/the-bloom/

    Reply
  • Sipster says:

    Thanks alot. I just spit out all of my Hario TCA-3 Syphon Coffee all over my keyboard after reading this drivel. Going to be constipated for a week. Thanks alot.

    Reply
  • joe says:

    195-205 degrees is a large spectrum, very odd advice… also 195deg, 4 minute extraction is naaaaaaasty…. just sayin. Stick with “just off the boil” for temp instructions.

    Reply
  • Bean Fiend says:

    Excuse me, but a liter of water isn’t going to fit an 8 cup press pot. Good luck with that one!

    Reply
  • Kevin Knox says:

    Surprisingly for you guys these brewing instructions leave a lot to be desired. Bodum is totally consistent in their “cup” definition: it’s 4 ounces. I agree the 3 cup/12 oz. model is pretty useless. The 8 (32 oz.) and the 12 (48 oz.) are fine but you absolutely have to preheat the carafe with boiling water. That’s the first and most important omission from your instructions. Otherwise the glass will absorb 10-15 degrees F. of your brew water temp – which should be close to boiling (second error) if you want 200 degrees in the pot for the 4 minutes it takes to brew (and you do). Last point: dispense with the weighing the water silliness (for this and all other brewing methods) and use a non-wimpy dose of coffee. The 8 cup pot is a liter, basically, and the dose for that amount of coffee should be 60-70 grams (CBC/SCAA range is 50-70 grams, SCAE is 60-70 and if the coffee’s good you want to turn it up loud!). Lots of solids and fines in the finished brew so forget decanting since it’s only good for 20 minutes after brewing.

    Reply
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