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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

01.15.2001

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the art of using a french press 
by Corey S. McFadden |
1 2 3 4 
continued from page 1

For the most part, the techniques I reviewed were almost identical, with a few minor differences and stylistic adaptations. It took two tries to get it right this time, but the final result was superb -- no, astonishing. I don't think I've ever had a cup of fresher, better-tasting coffee. And I wasn't even brewing a high-end bean!

Thereís decidedly an art to brewing the perfect cup of coffee using a French press, but follow a few basic rules, and you should be able to brew great coffee consistently:

Fail-Proof French Press Brewing
1. Some people suggest warming the glass container by running it under some hot water before starting. The primary rationale behind this is that a warm container wonít absorb as much of the hot water's heat when brewing, resulting in a warmer finished product. Though French presses are notorious for not keeping things warm (in fact, at least one company markets a thermally insulated press), my experience suggests that unless you've got a very cold kitchen, a room-temperature press will probably do a fine job.

2. Grind the appropriate measurement of coffee semi-coarse and toss it into the French press.

3. Bring your water to a boil. Take the water off the heat and let it sit until the boiling stops (when all visible bubbles have stopped rising.) If youíre using a kitchen thermometer, youíll want the temperature to be somewhere between 195-200įF. Pour the water into the French press, slowly at first (to avoid excessive sloshing).

4. After you've poured the water into the press, put on the lid. (Don't "press" yet; you just want to trap the heat for now.) Let things stand for one minute.

5. Remove the lid and stir slowly with a nonmetallic spoon. You need to get the grinds swirling around. (Some recommend swirling the press around in the air rather than stirring, but personally, Iím afraid of all that hot water.)

6. Quickly replace the lid and let the contents stand for another two minutes (go for three if your beans are really coarse.)

7. Now it's time to press the coffee. Push the plunger lightly, evenly, and very slowly so that the grounds will be less likely to get around the screen. Pour and enjoy. That's it!

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