How to Make Great Coffee with a French Press

How to Make Great Coffee with a French Press

Hello! Jessie here, part of the Team at Ron's Beans. I'm here for one reason — to convince you a French Press is the solution for all your coffee needs.

For years I looked askance at those little glass models I saw in the stores, unsure of how such a thing could make coffee at all, let alone good coffee. I grew up in a home that had an electric coffee maker that pumped out gallons of Folgers, year after year.

And there's nothing wrong with an electric coffee maker. We have one in our house even now and it makes fine coffee. It's just that I have a terrible time making just one cup in it. I tried every ratio; what I got was swill. I just can't make small amounts of coffee with any reliability in that big pot.

When I gave up on the electric coffee maker I switched to our little Bialetti espresso maker. We had brought it home after an anniversary trip to Italy, very impressed with our genuine Italian way to make coffee. (Until we realized they sell Bialettis in every Target and WalMart across the US and we could have just gone around the corner to buy one...)

The Bialetti worked beautifully until I dropped the metal filter into the black hole known as the garbage disposal. The wreckage was immense. The Bialetti was dead. I mourned.

In desperation, I rooted through a cupboard until I found the French Press I'd picked up at IKEA a few years earlier. I doubted a $4 purchase that had been sitting in a dark corner was going to be a solution, but I needed coffee the next morning and didn't have time to go shopping for a better solution. I Googled directions and decided an experiment would be good enough for one morning.

One morning is all it took for me to change my mind forever. My coffee was smooth and rich, and tasted far better than the coffee maker or the espresso maker had ever produced. It was far, far easier than I had expected, too. There are just a few simple steps:

  1. Heat enough water. (I don't let my water boil-- I take the pot off the burner juusssst before it gets that hot.)
  2. Put coffee grounds into the empty French Press beaker. Click Here for a link on ratios of water-to-grounds for a French Press.
  3. Pour the almost-boiling water over coffee grounds, to near the top of the beaker. (Don't overfill or it will splash out when you put the plunger in.)
  4. Stir well with a spoon, to make sure all the coffee grounds are well mixed with the water.
  5. Let steep for a bit, at least one minute. Sometimes I get distracted and several minutes pass. It's fine. Let's not get overwrought about coffee, shall we?
  6. Put the lid on and slowly press down on the plunger. It will gather the grounds at the bottom, leaving you with great coffee at the top.
  7. Add your favorite beverages additions and enjoy!

Please do not judge me by how pale my coffee is. I have issues, okay?

But wait — there's more! Maybe you love your current coffee method and have no plans of changing to a French Press. Fine. You do you. But here's one more consideration before we part ways. A French Press is the perfect solution for emergency coffee needs, and I mean real emergencies. If the power is out, if the stove won't light, if the apocalypse comes, all you need is a French Press, some ground coffee, and hot water.

I don't know about you, but I have backup plans for my backup plans when it comes to a county-wide blackout coffee emergency. I can boil water on the grill, in my fireplace, and even a campfire in the backyard if things get really ugly.

And then, provided that I have some coffee already ground, at least I'll have my coffee. All thanks to my French Press.

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