variations of the french press

What Is French Press? A Complete Guide

French Press is one of the best brewing methods in the world with its simplicity and ease of use. Unlike Moka pot, pour-over coffee makers, or coffee machines, almost everyone can get french press anywhere they want because it is cheap and can be found everywhere. If you are a coffee aficionado or if you like drinking coffee, you should learn the basics of the French Press and why is it one of the best brewing methods in the world.

Although the subject of what is french press coffee may seem simple, there are many things to consider such as which French Press should you use or which coffee should you use for French Press. However, you don’t need to worry because in this article we will try to give you everything you need to know about French Press.

What Is French Press?

French Press is a gadget that is designed for brewing coffee like Moka pot, Chemex, or other brewing devices. It is also known as cafetière, cafetière à piston, caffettiera a stantuffo, press pot, coffee press, or coffee plunger. However, it is not only used for brewing coffee. You can use French Press to make some tea as well.

French Press is actually a plunger that meets a strainer. It also helps you to brew ground coffee by pressing, brewing, and straining.

french press
“French Press” by Dustin Iskandar is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

History Of The French Press

Although it may seem flawless now, French Press has actually undergone a lot of changes over the years. The first coffee press that is made in France was the first draft of the French Press. It included a metal or cheesecloth screen fitted to a rod that you can press.

Two French Press inventors, Mayer and Delforge, patented the French Press in 1852. Another coffee press patented in the U.S. by Attilio Calimani in 1929 and underwent a lot of changes. The French Press coffee later popularized across Europe by a British company named Household Articled LTD. and Danish tableware and kitchenware company Bodum.

Now, the modern French Press consists of a cylindrical beaker usually made from glass or clear plastic, a lid, and a plunger that fits tightly in the cylinder.

french press stirring grounds
“French Press Cold Brew Stirring Grounds” by coffeeloversmag is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

How Does A French Press Work?

Before we begin to dive into the question of what does a French Press do or how does a French Press work, let’s give some information about the parts of the French Press.

Parts of the French Press include a plunger, lid, filter, beaker, base, and a handle. As you see, it is not as complex as you think. When it comes to the duties of these parts, it is also not complex.

The main part, the beaker, is where you place the coffee grounds and hot water. Attached to the beaker, there are the base and a handle. These parts are designed to preserve the heat and not burn yourself. Other parts are the lid, filter, and plunger. Filters and plunger are attached to the lid.

Variations Of The French Press

Although it may seem that French Press coffee maker is unique, there are actually some variations of it. For example, there is a travel mug version of the French Press which is made from tough plastic instead of glass and it has a sealed lid with a closable drinking hole.

variations of the french press
“Bodum French press coffee makers” by Bean Poet is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Other versions of the French Press include the stainless steel version. It helps you to keep your coffee hot with its insulated press similar to the thermos flasks. Another variation uses a “pull” design in which you place your coffee grounds in a mesh basket and pull them into the lid after brewing. Last but not least, you can use french press cold brew too. There are variations of the French Press that are designed to make a cold brew coffee.

Why Should You Use French Press?

Some say French Press coffee or French press espresso is the best. However, what are the reasons? Why should you use French Press?

First of all, French Press doesn’t use any paper filter. This makes coffee better because the flavor actually exists in fats and oils and paper filters take out flavors and oils. Another reason is the steeping. French Press allows you to steep which makes the coffee taste better.

Another benefit of using a French Press is that it doesn’t allow you to miss any coffee grounds which means you are getting all of the flavors in the coffee grounds. The end result gives coffee a different flavor than you get from a drip machine or a percolator.

using a french press
“time lapse photo of French press – Credit to https://myfriendscoffee.com/” by John Beans is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Which French Press Should You Use?

As we said earlier, there are some variations of French Press and it may be hard sometimes to decide which one is the best French Press so we hope we can give you some advice.

The standard press pot size is between 4 and 8 cups, and remember, cups are regarded as 4 oz in French Press. Basically, you have small, large, metal, and electric options.

  • Small French PressIf you are not looking for a big thing to brew coffee, this is ideal for you. This size include 3-4 cup presses.
  • Large French PressThis size include 8-12 cups of presses and is ideal for you if you are planning to brew coffee for your friends or family. You can produce several cups of coffee in a single batch.
  • Metal French PressUnlike other variations, this is more durable than others French Press types. What’s more, it can keep your coffee warmer.
  • Electric French PressIf you don’t like wasting time brewing coffee, you can choose this French Press type. Choosing this type of French Press may really reduce your French Press time. Heat the water, brew the coffee, and keep your coffee warm after its brewed!

Small vs Large French Press

Small French PressLarge French Press
Offers 3-4 cups per batch.Offers 8-12 cups per batch
Coffee is hardly to get stale.Coffee may over-steep and sit
Large coffee grounds to water ratioSmall coffee grounds to water ratio

Which Material Is The Best?

GlassCeramicMetal
Looks good, but it is fragile.Can retain the heat very well.Tough and can retain the heat very well.
glass french press
“French Press Adding Water – Cold Brew – Top View” by coffeeloversmag is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

What Is The Right Grind Size For French Press?

If you are wondering how to French Press coffee, you probably wonder which grind size is best too. The answer is not that hard. You can choose between a coarse grind and a medium-coarse grind.

If you started looking for a coffee grinder for French Press, you can buy a burr grinder to get this grind size.

If you mistakenly brewed the wrong grind size, don’t worry. Finer grind means stronger coffee and coarser grind means weak coffee. It doesn’t ruin your coffee at all.

Which Coffee Beans Are The Best For French Press?

Although it is a subjective matter, we can say that the best coffee for French Press would be medium and dark roasted beans. However, you can use any coffee bean you want and you should use different beans to find out which bean is the best for your taste.

How To Use A French Press?

  1. Preheat Your French PressIf you are wondering how to make French Press coffee, you should always start with heating your French Press. Preheating the French Press will help you to maintain a constant temperature throughout the brewing process. Just add some hot water to your French Press and swill around it until it is warm outside.
  2. Measure/Weight The Coffee GroundsMeasuring the coffee grounds depend on how much coffee you want and how big your French Press is.
  3. Measure/Weight The Water And Check The TemperatureWhen making french press coffee, the coffee to water ratio is 1:15, that is, 1 part of coffee for every 15 parts of water. After that, heat your water however you want and check the temperature. Approximately 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for coffee.
  4. Add Coffee Grounds and Water Into The French PressAdd your measured coffee grounds to your pre-heated French Press. If you are wondering how much coffee to use for French Press, you can check the ratio that we have given earlier, that is, 1:15 coffee to water ratio. After adding your coffee grounds, add your water slowly and give it a quick stir.
  5. Put The Lid On And Start The TimerPutting the lid on will help you to preserve the heat. After putting the lid on, start your timer and wait for it to steep for about 4 minutes.
  6. Slowly Press The Plunger DownAfter waiting for 4 minutes, slowly press the plunger down and make sure to press it all the way down, otherwise, your coffee may continue to brew into over-extraction.
  7. Pour Your CoffeeNow that you have brewed your coffee, it is time to pour it into a cup. Bon appetit!

Wrapping Up

In this article, we tried our best to give you everything you need to know about one of the best brewing methods of all time, French Press. Now you can experiment with your French Press at home and try different types of coffee and brewing techniques to improve your French Press coffee. If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments section!

What Is French Press? A Complete Guide

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