Deciding on the best coffee for French Press can be quite tricky. Why, you might ask? There is not a single definitive choice. It largely depends on your personal coffee preference.
The truth is, when it comes to using French press, you can use all sorts of coffee beans. It all boils down to the manner of preparation.
In this article, I will tell you the important things you need to know to get the most out of your French press.
Plus, I will share with you some coffee grounds and beans to try out with your own French press brewer.
The concept of a French press is simple. The process involves coffee beans getting extracted with hot water. Then, the extracted beans are filtered out by a metal mesh- all inside the same device. Since the coffee beans are fully immersed, you get more texture and oils out. This results in a thicker, fuller-bodied cup of coffee.
Although French press is simple, preparing it may not be as easy. You must pay attention to every part of the process.
Here are the things you need to remember to make the perfect cup of French Press coffee:
First things first: when you’re planning to make coffee with a French Press, you need to know that there is an optimal grind size. The right grind size for French Press coffee is a coarse grind, meaning, a grind that has a consistency similar to sea salt.
This is one of the reasons why French press is often paired with a coffee grinder. By having a grinder ready, you can adjust the grind level and make the beans suitable for the kind of coffee you wish to make.
Don't have a grinder yet? Worry not! Many pre-ground coffee are available in the market and are ready to be used directly on your French press brewer.
For you to get the best flavor out of French press, though, I highly recommend that your beans be freshly ground. The best coffee for French press is generally whole beans.
The French press brewer itself is a good indicator if the coarseness of your grind is just right. If the plunger requires too much force to press down, then the coffee grind is too fine. On the other hand, if it is almost effortless when pressing down, then the grind is too coarse.
In order to get the right coffee extraction, the water should not be too hot (as in boiling) nor should it be barely warm. Water that's too hot can lead to over extraction, giving you a bitter and flavorless outcome. On the contrary, make it mildly warm and you'll get a bland and earthy coffee. The water should be about 90 degrees Celsius or a little below boiling point.
Let the water rest for about 45 seconds to 1 minute just after reaching a boil. By then, it will be the in same temperature range ideal for French press.
If you're new to French press, I recommend starting with a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:10. That's 1 gram of coffee for every 10 grams (10 mL) of water. Then, you can work from there by adding (or dumping) water based on your preference.
If a kitchen scale is not available, a general rule you can follow is: 1 tablespoon of ground coffee is approximately 8.7 grams. 5-10 grams is good enough for a cup of coffee. Once again, it depends on how strong you want your coffee to be. It also helps to know the capacity of your French press container beforehand so that you can determine how many cups you can make.
If you're wondering if this is the part where you can finally get to have fun and press down the plunger, then you're gonna have to hang in there a bit longer.
We're almost there, but before you press down on the filter, remember that you need about 4 minutes of seep time. This will give the water and coffee grounds enough time to create a beautiful blend of rich and satisfying coffee.
After 4 minutes, you can finally press the plunger down. Remember to press down gently so as not to agitate the mixture.
Serve immediately. If you made more cups, I recommend that you remove the coffee from the container as soon as possible to prevent it from over extracting (overly bitter and dry coffee. Yikes!).
Now that you can confidently make coffee from your French press, it's time try out different coffee beans with various roast levels. Test as many as you can until you find the best coffee for French press.
As I mentioned earlier, preferences may be different for everyone. The products below work beautifully when brewed using French press:
With its 70% Arabica and 30% Robusta combination, this coffee hits the sweet spot: not too light nor too dark and oily. When I drink this coffee, I get hints of creamy chocolate and even some fruitiness.
I do not usually recommend pre-ground coffee, but this German premium variant is an exception. Made with 100% pure Arabica beans, the Dallymayr Prodomo can be readily used on your French press. It is smooth and delicious without being too bitter. However, the coffee granules in this pack may be a bit finer than the ideal French press grind. All you need to do is to adjust your brew time accordingly (a bit shorter).
An unexpected contender for the best coffee for French press is the AmazonFresh Colombia Whole Bean Coffee. This 100% Arabica roast from Colombia is refreshingly light (not bland), making it great for an everyday brew. The beans are easy on the grinder and boast a full-bodied flavor. It has hints of nuttiness and is less acidic than most coffee products you will find in the market.
It may sound like there are a lot of rules before you can finally enjoy the best coffee for French press, but always remember to enjoy the process. In time, it will be second nature to you. Coffee-making is indeed an art that requires patience. Once you taste that first sip, it's absolutely worth it.