This is a new category on FoodMetroManila where I depart from the usual restaurant review and just write about anything food and drink related. These could range from recipes (not a trained cook/barista/bartender though, up to you if you want to follow anything I share) to food and drink related trips I have recently been in to. This first one will be how I prepare French Press Coffee at work. Let me know what you think about it in the comments section.
Our office journey in the world of French Press Coffee started out with a pasalubong by one of our mates: She came back from a trip to Sagada bearing grinded coffee beans. It was thoughtful of her because she knows we like coffee but she didn’t know that unlike instant coffee, these grinds cannot be dissolved in water. They found this out the hard way when one dude tried to make himself a cup and was treated to a grainy cup.
After a little enlightenment, I was able to convince them that we buy a brewer we can use in the office. This was when we decided to buy a French Press.
My method was inspired by Mike Jones’ over at HowcastFoodDrink at YouTube as well as Blue Bottle’s though I do not use a scale to measure anything. It’s just eyeballing based on months of brewing. True coffee purists may cringe during this whole post, but the ordinary joe looking to make a cup o’ joe (see what I did there?) may pick up some few pointers.
First: Preheat the vessel
Not everyone does this but here’s a simple explanation from Stumptown as to why this is done. I typically wait a minute or two before throwing out the water. Some would fill the whole vesssel up with hot water and then throw it away. Please, minimal hot water will heat it up fine. Conserve water.
Second: Let the coffee bloom
The standard for the coffee to water ratio changes from whomever is telling you what to do but the only thing I measure is the coffee and just eyeball the water based on my preference.
French press asks for a coarse grind. Some say medium coarse, some describe it as something akin to rock salt. I just had the barista at Starbucks grind it for me. We’re drinking Starbucks’ Caffee Verona blend at the time of this publishing. It’s a dark roast that makes full-bodied coffee (it’s quite thick in the mouth) with hints of their Italian Roast and Dark Cocoa. The French Press allows it to be it’s full-bodied self since its mesh filter allows more of that oil to be retained by the coffee.
Coffee purists will always tell you only grind beans when you’re about to brew. Obviously we can’t do that (yet) so we have to make do with this.
I used 7 scoops for a total of about 49 grams of coffee. After adding all the coffee to the vessel I just added enough hot water (from the office water dispenser, cringe more purists!) to double the amount of beans. Stir them up gently with the wooden spoon to prevent breaking the glass and ensure all the beans are incorporated in the water.
I will then let this sit for 30 seconds to allow it to bloom. Coffee science says this is when the CO2 from the coffee is released and are replaced by water as the grinds grow and rise.
Third: Add the rest of the water and stir
After thirty seconds I then add the rest of the water. I’ll give it another gentle stir with the wooden spoon as I am now going to let the grinds steep in the hot water for the coffee to be extracted. This is really where the eyeballing of the water to coffee ratio occurs. I just know that this amount of water will be enough for my thermos and that it won’t make my coffee watery.
Fourth: Let it steep for four minutes
This is the part of the whole thing where the brewing of the coffee actually happens. After adding all the water, cover the French Press with the plunger but do not plunge it yet! Let it sit for four minutes and do something else. It’s just four minutes people, jeez!
Fifth: Plunge and Transfer – quick!
It’s essential to not keep the coffee in the Frech Press after you’ve waited four minutes and plunged. Even though the grinds will have already pushed to the bottom, they will still be in contact with the hot water. Thus, it will continue to extract and by that time it will make your brew extremely bitter. It’s like overcooking a piece of steak. It will be a waste of a fine product.
That’s why I have my handy thermos that one of my staffers bought for me on her trip to Korea. I can keep all that coffee and I’ll be good to go for the rest of the day!
Push the plunger down carefully. It’s by this time when you know if you’ve grinded the coffee correct. If you need a lot of pressure then your grind was too fine. It you don’t feel any resistance at all, your grind was too coarse or you just put the beans whole in there.
You should feel a bit of pressure but the satisfying kind. I have no idea what that means but it’s how I feel whenever I plunge.
Finally: Enjoy your coffee!
I drink my coffee with no sweeteners. If you made it right (or just immune) you won’t need to!
And that’s how I make coffee using the French Press. How do you do it? Let me know in the comments! Have a great day Metro Manila!
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