Step by step on "How To Make French Press Coffee For One" at home every single time.
Lately, I have been religiously brewing my coffee (and tea) using my French press & thought I'd share a step by step tutorial (video included) for just one because sometimes you want to brew a cup for yourself and call it a day. I did some research on how to use a French press with some notes.
French press is a brewing device with a plunger and metal mesh filter that makes really good coffee at home. It is also referred as cafetière, cafetière à piston, Cafeteria, press pot, coffee press, or coffee plunger depending on where you are located. There is a debate as to where it actually originated; French vs. Italian although the first ever patent was done by an Italian designer in 1929.
The brewing method is pretty straightforward - pour ground coffee, hot water, let it steep and done! While it's not rocket science, it's nevertheless important to follow and understand some key steps.
TYPE OF COFFEE : It is highly recommended that you grind your coffee beans just before brewing. Once the coffee is ground, it begins to oxidize and lose and/or change it's flavor so that can impact the final taste of your coffee. For French press, the coffee grounds should be coarse and consistent in size because when the coffee grounds are steeped with the water, you want all the particles to be evenly extracted otherwise, the small particles will get over-extracted (bitter) and the large ones will be under-extracted (less flavor).A blade grinder, which is like a blender will grind coffee beans but the end result is not very consistent and the blender may overheat which could alter the taste of coffee. However, you can have better control of the grind by using 1-2 tablespoon of coffee beans at a time in pulse setting.
If you are a regular coffee drinker and really care about that cup, it might be worth getting yourself a burr grinder. Burr grinder is made up of two revolving abrasive surfaces called burrs and they ground coffee by rotating against each other. You can purchase a manual burr grinder, which are more budget friendly (and aesthetically cool) or electric ones if you want to splurge.
COFFEE TO WATER RATIO : I came across different coffee to water ratios and I think a lot of it comes down to your roast and personal preference for coffee. The most common ratios I read was between 1:15 - 1:18, which means for every 1 gram of coffee, use 15 -18 grams of water, depending on which ratio you want to follow. It is highly recommended to weigh (vs. use tablespoon) both coffee beans and water using a scale for accuracy and consistent batch of coffee.
If you don't want to get too technical or worry about weighing, go with the commonly used golden ratio "one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water"; for me I have been doing 3 tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee (breakfast blend from Central Market) for 1.5 cups of hot water to keep things simple in the morning. It makes a perfect ~12 oz. coffee!
Just experiment with your own favorite blend and play around with the ratio until to find what you like.
TEMPERATURE OF WATER : An optimal water temperature is very important to extract the flavor and aroma of coffee. If the water is tepid then it doesn't extract coffee full while boiling water will scorch the coffee grounds, resulting in bitter tasting coffee.
Use a filtered or mineral water to make your coffee. The minerals in water helps with extraction of coffee! Start with hot water that is just below boiling around 195F. You can bring your water to boil then let it sit for 30-45 seconds to bring down the temperature.
Here is a short video of "French Press Coffee For One". You can use the same steps to make larger batch, just adjust the ratios.
I don't use measurements or weighing too much but I do follow the recommendations loosely. So far the coffee has been coming out great for me so I will stick to my tablespoon ratio for now. If you are a regular coffee drinker or just want to save some $$ by brewing your own cup at home, French press is very worth it.
French Press for One
- 1 French press pot
- 1 kettle or a vessel to boil water
- 1 coffee grinder, preferred
- 1.5 cups filtered water
- 3 tablespoon coarsely ground coffee
- Bring water to a boil and set it aside.
- Pour little hot water in an empty French press and rinse it. It helps maintain temperature during extraction. Optional step.
- Pour 3 tablespoon of ground coffee into the French press and add little water to wet the coffee grounds for 30 seconds. Gently stir everything with a chopstick. Cover with the lid to maintain temperature. This is called ‘blooming’ the coffee which helps bubble up of carbon dioxide (you may see bubbling up of gas when water first contacts the grounds of recently roasted coffee – this indicates that coffee is fresh). CO2 is sour in taste so blooming helps remove that taste and allows coffee to interact with water to extract oils and aroma fully from coffee once CO2 is released.
- Add remaining hot water into the French press and push the plunger until it touches the water but do not plunge yet.
- Set timer & allow coffee to steep for 3 minute 30 seconds.
- Gently push the plunger all the way down to filter the grounds from the coffee.
- Immediately pour in a cup and enjoy. If you are making a large batch, decant your coffee otherwise, if it sits for too long in your French press it will turn bitter.
Did you know you can use French press for other things besides brewing your coffee?
- Frothing milk - I love making cold foam using French press for my latte'; simply warm the milk (or leave it cold) and pump until its frothy and enjoy with your espresso based drinks.
- Brew loose leaf tea - Just add desired amount of tea, hot water, and let it steep. Press and enjoy.
- Use it as a drink mixer if you don’t own a proper cocktail mixer
- Steep and brew cold coffee and tea.