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Buyer’s Guide: Your French Press How-To

When it comes to producing the most flavorful coffee, professional coffee tasters, also known as coffee cuppers, largely prefer the French Press method. If you are in the market for a new French Press, or are a first time consumer, we have put together a handy guide that will tell you why the professionals go for the French Press brewing style, what to look for in a quality French Press, and some tips on how you can get the best out of your machine. Why is the French Press Method Favored by the Pros? There are a few theories regarding why it is seen by many as the best way to extract the most flavor from your coffee. First, the water and coarse coffee grinds interact together for 2-4 minutes to bring you a consistently perfect brew. Next, compared to a drip machine, a French Press is more effective, in that there is no interaction with a paper filter. Some believe that a paper filter absorbs the flavorful oils from the coffee grounds. Finally, a French Press is said to produce a superior pot of coffee within a few minutes, AND under any circumstance. What Should You Look For in a French Press? A French Press is essentially a container in which coffee will steep with hot water, and a plunger is used to push the coffee grounds to the bottom. When deciding what kind of French Press is best for you, you should first consider who will be using it, and approximately how much it will be used. For example, if it’s just for you, go with a smaller press, like a 2-cup or 3-cup press, which brews between 12 and 15 ounces (or 1.5 cups) of coffee. On the other hand, if it’s for two people, an 8-cup French Press is a better option. For three or more people, a 16-cup French Press is the best choice for your needs. After size, you should consider the material from which the French Press is made. Ideally, you should go for those with glass pots, as they’re the easiest to clean, and consequently will prevent flavors from lingering after use. This is the main advantage over French Presses with plastic pots. There are also thermo pots, which keep the coffee warm. However, the water temperature in a thermo pot stays elevated for a longer period of time, which may result in an over-brewed coffee with a bitter flavor profile. Finally, and arguably the most important aspect to make note of is the quality of the product. Your French Press should be sturdy, reliable, and it couldn’t hurt if it looked good too! It should come as no surprise that a French Press that is cheaper in price, will more than likely be cheaper in quality. But, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune to get the best possible French Press. At CoffeeAM, we carry French Presses that are affordable, user-friendly, dependable, AND attractive from one of the top brands in the coffee industry—Bodum. How Can You Make The Best French Press Coffee? There are a few tips that you must remember when you are preparing your coffee via French Press. First, rinse your French Press with very hot water, as it helps maintain temperature when brewing. Second, make sure that you begin with a very coarse grind, which prevents over-extraction. When it comes to determining your brewing time, 5-8 minutes is considered optimal. This allows you to capture the true quality and flavor of your coffee. Also note, that after brewing, you’ll want to plunge your coffee grounds gently, rather than aggressively. If you plunge too hard, it could easily ruin the taste. It's also best to serve your coffee within 20 minutes of brewing with a French Press to ensure freshness. Now, you should feel a little more confident with your French Press knowledge, and hopefully you can be a smarter consumer. Don’t forget to visit us again for additional buyer’s guides, and more in-depth coffee how-tos! If you have coffee questions, please share them here, and our CoffeeAM team will be happy to answer them!
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