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The Perfect French Press Coffee

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I know I said I would end my season of blogging with dessert, but what is absolutely necessary to wash down all that sweetness, I ask? Coffee, of course! Or tea, if you would rather, but we will ignore that option for the duration of this post. In particular, French pressed coffee.

A few years ago I got into the whole French pressed coffee thing. I have liked my coffee strong and pure all my life so this method fits the bill perfectly for me. That love was intensified in Europe where good coffee is the norm rather than the exception. I have devoted a lot of time and effort to perfecting my coffee brewing method and often I’m asked what I do so here goes. This is how I make coffee.

Grinding your own coffee is necessary for this so get yourself a decent grinder, a tea kettle, and a French press if you think this is your game too. The keys to good coffee are quality beans ground right, water temperature and length of brewing. Oh, and enough beans! Don’t skimp and add salt or some weird thing like that and expect a coffee aficionado not to notice. It is possible to serve French pressed coffee to groups if you have thermal carafes to keep it warm in. I have done it for groups up to 20, although that keeps me hopping.

Start by grinding the beans coarsely. I use a Cuisinart grinder that holds half a pound of beans in the hopper and have it set at about 3/4 coarseness level (see first photo above). Scoop one heaping tablespoon per cup into the press (for my one litre press I use four heaping scoops). Heat your water to just before boiling (200°F if you have a fancy teakettle with temperatures on it). Slowly pour water into the grounds just to cover. Stir with a silicone or wooden spoon and let sit for half a minute or so until it starts to thicken. Slowly pour more hot water in, stirring while doing so. It should be getting nice and foamy by now. This is what you want. Foam is good. Lightly set the plunger on top and set a timer to at least 4 minutes. Press down slowly. This is the fun part. Pour into cups and serve. Drink. This is also the fun part. So many fun parts to the Java gig.

Foam! Foam is good, remember?