Hello to the all the Coffee lovers out there, this post I want to share 5 Tips to make coffee from a French Press taste better.
The French Press or Cafetierre as otherwise known as, is one the most common coffee brewer you will see in the household. It’s the kind of thing you will see when staying at a Airbnb or when decorating your kitchen with IKEA stuff. But the French Press is still a reliable coffee to brew speciality coffee with, especially when freshly ground.
Now the method to using a French Press is simple but there are still subtle changes as well as some major adjustments to get a more delicious brewed coffee from it. That’s why I picked up 5 tips that can improve the results from using the French Press.
1. Heat your French Press before you brew
Let’s start with an easy tip which you should be doing every time you use a French Press, which is to warm it up. As the French Press requires some time for the coffee to brew, it does lose temperature. Nothing that goes lukewarm or anything but you obviously want to enjoy your cup of coffee for longer. Warming up the French Press with hot water beforehand ensures you retain some of that heat and the temperature stays consistent during the brew.
This also gets you to rinse the French Press because cleaning it can be a pain and sometimes old coffee grounds are still there. Make sure you warm up your cup with hot water too.
2. Don’t go too coarse
Every basic French Press tutorial will tell you that your coffee needs to be ground coarse before brewing. The logic behind the coffee being coarse is so you don’t brew a really strong cup of coffee. However, it doesn’t have to be coarse. Personally I have enjoyed coffee when it’s medium grind size because I have been able to taste more flavour notes. This is more prominent when the coffee cools down.
Now, this is not to suggest that coffee ground coarse is wrong. It’s definitely dependant on what your taste buds like and potentially what coffee or roast level you have. But give a medium grind size a go and see if you get some surprising results. There are a couple more tips coming up that should help with using this grind size.
3. Use soft water not hard
This tip is the game-changer. If you want your coffee to taste better then you need to ensure you use soft water. Soft water will allow you to bring out more flavours from your coffee whilst ensuring the water is delicate, light and clear tasting. What hard water does is mask out those natural flavours of the coffee and will produce an unpleasant coffee.
Generally, tap waters in the UK are hard water or they have some sort of taste that make the water not that clear. Down South where I was born, the water is especially hard that produces limestone. I have also realised why my hair just used to flatten after showering. Now in the Midlands, the water is in between hard and soft, but they have fluoride here which masks out the coffee flavour. I have also tried the water up North where it is soft, even though it tastes nice on its own. I still found the coffee tasting off, unfortunately.
Now getting soft water is simple, get a water filter. You may even have one in your house like a Britta Filter, which works absolutely fine. There are so many to choose from but Water Filters are inexpensive and I would recommend getting one from Amazon. Now living in the Midlands, we did purchase a Klar Water Filter which removes fluoride, unlike a normal Britta Filter. So I would check the water levels in your area before purchasing. But I can guarantee using a water filter pitcher will make a drastic improvement to your coffee.
For a short term solution, you can buy still water bottles. But constantly buying bottled water can be a nuisance. But you can at least try a still water to understand why you should invest in a water filter pitcher.
4. Brew longer than 4 minutes
So here is a revelation, brewing for longer than 4 minutes with the French Press does not cause your coffee to be really strong and bitter. In fact, with soft water and freshly ground coffee, you might end up with a smoother and cleaner cup of coffee. Don’t worry, even I once thought this didn’t make any sense. How could you brew more than 4 minutes, that is the golden rule of when using the French Press. But surprisingly, brewing longer can really bring out more flavour from the coffee along with a smoother tasting cup.
I took this tip from a James Hoffman video on the Ultimate French Press Technique (please check out his video), which was slightly controversial…in the comments section. But the idea is that coffee doesn’t over-extract when brewed for longer. Instead, the coffee grounds in the French Press starts to fall to the bottom of the French Press and stops brewing. Above the coffee grounds, the coffee left should be very clean with much less sediment then you would have had when brewed for only 4 minutes. Now the ideal time to let it brew is around the 8-minute mark where most of the grounds will be collated at the bottom. But that’s a general mark, you can brew for less or for longer.
5. Pour carefully leaving a little bit of water
So the last piece of advise I would recommend to anyone who brews for 4 minutes or 8 minutes. Now, if you like the sediments or silt that can be produced from the French Press when poured in the cup then please carry on with your life. However, if you don’t like little bits of coffee or the bitter taste towards the end of the cup then you just need to take care when pouring your coffee from the French Press.
So when you are ready to pour your coffee, you need to pour gently and titling the French Press slightly to at an angle with your cup. This will allow the coffee grounds to sit at the bottom without getting through the metal sieve inside the French Press. You don’t want to pour to quickly or agitate that coffee bed as you will get bits in your coffee. Also, you should pour in one go but leave a little bit of it of coffee as that little bit will contact most of the silt. That little bit of coffee at the end will attribute to the bitterness too but you will find a better-tasting cup if you don’t pour all the coffee in.
If you are brewing more then one cup, the I would recommend decanting it but still use the above pouring method. This mistake people make is they leave the coffee in the French Press and refill theirs cups from it. This will just lead to a harsher cup of coffee but decanting will solve that problem.
So there you have some tips to improve the taste of the coffee when using a French Press. There are other things you can do to improve the taste but i wanted to focus more on the French Press itself. But if you have any sort tips you want to share then please leave a comment.