As a true coffee lover, one of my favorite things to do is unwind at a coffee shop — some of my favorites include Blue Bottle and Black Brick in New York City, Menagerie in Philadelphia and Kona Purveyors in Honolulu. Of course, my semi-weekly visits all came to a halt with the onset of Covid-19. To fill the void, I’ve been making my own coffee at home. Sometimes I opt to use my Nespresso coffee maker — a go-to when I’m in the mood for a hot latte or am otherwise feeling indulgent. While it and other single-serve coffee makers, including my Keurig (currently in storage in New York City and awaiting my return), are definitely convenient, there’s a much more satisfying and somehow personally rewarding experience I get when I break out my French press. And although I ventured into using French press coffee makers by first borrowing what was around in the kitchen, I’ve definitely come to prefer its simple-yet-substantial process and taste.
SKIP AHEAD Best French Press Coffee Makers
How to use a French press
If you’re new to French press coffee makers, you may be wondering about some basics:
- How do you use a French press? French presses use a manual brewing method, meaning the process can be more or less complex depending on how you like your coffee. If you’re like me, all this takes is adding coffee grounds and boiling water to the French press container, which is sometimes referred to as the carafe or beaker, letting it steep, then pressing down on the plunger to extract the grounds and stop the brewing.
- How long does it take? Making French press coffee requires four minutes to steep the brew. However, the time devoted to the total process is up to you. For example, it may take longer if you want to grind your own beans or let the water sit for a more precise temperature.
- What’s the proper French press coffee ratio? You’ll want to use about two tablespoons of coffee grounds for every eight ounces of water.
Otherwise, it can be fairly simple and can be broken down into five simple steps:
- Boil water.
- Add coffee grounds to the carafe.
- Pour boiling water into the carafe and place the lid on with the plunger pulled up.
- Let the brew steep for four minutes.
- Press down on the plunger slowly — and pour into your cup.
While I’m still at the pre-ground coffee beans stage of my French press journey, many people prefer using a coffee grinder on whole beans for a fresher taste. Likewise, some argue that water temperature can make a big difference in your coffee.
According to TODAY, the ideal temperature should be around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just below the true boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The general rule of thumb is to wait for the water to come to a boil and then let it sit for a minute or two. There are ample types of French press coffee makers out there, the majority differentiated by their material: Stainless steel and glass carafes are popular options.
Williams Sonoma’s stainless steel French…