It’s fairly common knowledge that manual methods of coffee preparation usually give you the best final results. The more automation you put into the process, the less of a hand-crafted flavor you’re going to get with the finished product. French press coffee is one of the most common manual methods that’s still used today, and for good reason: It allows the user to get the most out of what they put into it, with minimal effort, the key is to use the best coffee for French Press
The more automation you have the less control you have over the end result. The best coffee is made manually with a French Press!
Generally, even pre-ground coffee in a French press will taste better than pre-ground coffee in an inexpensive drip brewer primarily due to the longer soaking period. It’s worth noting that pre-ground coffee provides convenience at the expense of quality, though. The higher the quality of your coffee, the better your drink will taste, of course. As long as your coffee fits at least most of the following criteria, it should turn out amazing. Check out our hints to find the best coffee for French press.
Locally grown in small batches
Not only does locally-grown coffee help support small business (which is always a great thing!), you also have your best chance of getting freshly-roasted coffee this way as it will have spent less time in transit. You can also usually get a personal touch when you ask the growers about flavor profiles as they have a better idea of what each of their blends and roasts tastes like and can give you personalized recommendations. By shopping locally you can often also save on retail mark-ups and shipping fees, which is always a bonus.
2-7 days after roasting
There is a bit of debate as to what the “perfect amount of degassing” is. If you ask ten different coffee connoisseurs, you’re likely to get ten different answers. To some extent, it also depends on the type of bean, the darkness of the roast, and the method of preparation. Darker roasts, for example, will degrade faster, and should be used closer to the 2-day mark, if not earlier. Light roasts will degrade more slowly, and can benefit from a longer sitting time. As a general rule, after about a week, the coffee will start to stale, unless it was frozen shortly after roasting – this allows it to degas without breaking down the complex flavors.
Coarse, even grind
Unlike automated coffee makers, French pressing your coffee involves completely submerging the grounds in water – which means that more of the flavors will be brought out, with a much coarser grind. If your grind is too fine (such as the consistency of pre-ground coffee), you may have some trouble with the plunger sticking. It’s not a death sentence for your coffee, but it won’t be as good as if you’d left it coarse. For most burr grinders, French press coffee will probably be at the coarsest setting. If the plunger goes down too easily at that setting, try one setting finer the next time. Keep experimenting until plunging gives you a slight resistance with about 15lbs (around 7kg) of pressure.
It’s not just about the coarseness of the grind, though. For best results, your coffee should be ground no more than half an hour before you’re ready to brew. Once the coffee is ground, it will go stale much faster than when it’s in its whole-bean form, and after about an hour, it’ll be almost as stale as those giant cans you get in the grocery store. Since the French press pulls out so much of the flavor, you want to make sure that the flavors are all good!