How to make great French press coffee at home
When COVID hit and we were all forced to stay home, the internet exploded with how-tos on at-home coffee-making featuring every fancy fandangled coffee device known to man. But the minimalists among us crave the simple things in life and when it comes to brewing coffee, there are few things simpler than a classic plunger pot (also known as a French press).
Rosetta Roastery – named South Africa’s best coffee roastery for two years running – gives us their five top tips for making the perfect cuppa at home.
1. Grind your coffee beans just before you brew them
After having baked your umpteenth lockdown loaf, your kitchen might smell amazing for half an hour. But half an hour later, the smell has disappeared. At a chemical level, this is because those rich volatile aromas have all dissipated. When you eat some of that bread the next day, you’ll notice that your precious sourdough has lost some of that “freshly baked” flavour.
The same is true of coffee. When you buy pre-ground coffee, you’re essentially missing out on a whole bunch of delicious aromas and flavours because a large portion of them evaporated and disappeared where the beans were ground. By grinding the beans yourself, you’ll retain all that flavour.
2. Don’t eyeball it
When dosing your plunger, counting out tablespoons of coffee may seem accurate, but the end result can vary vastly day to day. Using a kitchen scale to weigh how much coffee you use – as well as how much water you add – is a really easy way to make sure that if your coffee tasted great this morning, you can make it exactly the same way tomorrow.
3. Stir a little bit immediately after adding the water
You want to make sure that all your coffee grounds are completely wet so that the extraction process can occur evenly throughout.
4. Stir again after one minute
If you’re using freshly ground coffee, you’ll notice that a rich foam forms when you add boiling water. This foam (which is made up of coffee oils and carbon dioxide) can trap coffee grounds and prevent them from releasing coffee solubles into the brew water. By breaking up this foamy cap with a spoon, you allow the coffee grounds to be released into the water, where they can happily give up their delicious flavour compounds.
5. Decant all the coffee in one smooth pour
Unless you love mouthfuls of “coffee mud” (the fine silt at the bottom of a plunger pot), you’ll want to pour the brewed coffee into another preheated serving vessel. Pour slowly and smoothly, stopping just as you see that sneaky silt sliding towards the spout.
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