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:
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!