By Cat, March 2020 (Image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
I’ve not made my own coffee for years, as I can get delicious French Press or Espresso coffee where I eat my lunch. But with the new coronavirus pandemic, I’m self-isolating and eating all meals at home.
In the early 70s, I learned how to make drip coffee using a paper filter set into Melitta drip cone set above an empty cup. It was so much better than percolated coffee. That was my coffee preference until I discovered the French Press…
Years ago (late ’70s-early ’80s), I did long-term child-sitting for a couple who often went on month-long trips. The husband was from New Orleans, and taught me how to make French Press coffee, something I’d never had before. I loved it, and bought a press to use at home. The recipe, below, is basically how I learned to make it, with a few hints from The Kitchen (1) added. See also Epicurious (2) for an alternate – more detailed- way to make it.
- See also: 1. Beverages Menu; 2. Misc. Menu
- Other sites: 1. EqualExchange video: How to Make a French Press Coffee (3)
Basics for Drip Coffee
Image, right, from Melitta (5).
- Equipment: I use a Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brew Cone & Travel Mug Set (image, right Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brewer & Mug ), with a Melitta #2 paper filter. It makes enough to fill my ceramic mug twice, or I can take the original mug with me in my car.
- Alternately, you can use any brew cone with paper filter of the right size for the cone, and set it above your coffee mug.
- Coffee grounds: the general recommendation is 2 tablespoons of drip-grind coffee to six ounces of water; preferably the coffee is ground just before measuring. However, if you are making more than 2 cups at a time, you will need a lower ratio of grounds to water – experiment to determine your preference. I use 2½ Tbsp drip-grind coffee for my Melitta set.
- Use filtered water, heated to between 195°F and 205°F; 200 °F is ideal. You can bring the water to a boil (212°F), then let it sit for a minute before pouring over the grounds. I pour water over the grounds twice, to fill the travel mug.
- Let it brew for about 5 minutes before drinking.
For more information, see Coffee Brewing Methods (4).
How to make French Press Coffee
Ingredients & Equipment
- coarse-ground, dark roast coffee beans (best to grind just before using), about 2 Tbsp coarse-ground/cup water
- filtered water
- Whistling water kettle for boiling water
- French Press – a glass pot with a filter attached to the lid, that is used to press the coarse-ground coffee through the hot water to the bottom of the pot.
- Spoon for stirring before pressing
- Grind your beans to a coarse grind; measure grind for desired amount of coffee (2 Tbsp per 6 – 8 oz water) into the bottom of your press.
- Warm the press: Pour some filtered, boiled water into press to warm it.
- Add more water to kettle and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat to rest 1 minute (to allow water to cool from 212°F to 195°F); use a thermometer to check temperature, if desired.
- Pour warming water out of press.
- Add measured, ground beans to press.
- Re-fill with desired amount of water into the press;
- Alternately (2), pour part of the total hot water over the grind in the press in a circular fashion so all the grind it moistened, to off-gas the grind; then add lid (but do not press yet), and set timer for 30 seconds. Remove lid and add remaining water.
- Stir vigorously with an up/down motion to mix well.
- Steep: Place lid with attached press-filter onto press (leave filter at top – don’t press down, yet), and allow to steep 4 minutes – set a timer (as you experiment, you may need more/less time, depending on its flavor, and how strong you like it).
- When timer goes off, if desired, give it a stir again, then slowly plunge the press into the pot.
- Pour into cup(s), add milk/cream and sweetener if desired.
- If not using it all right away, pour it into a thermal carafe (or thermos) where it will keep warm.
- EqualExchange video: How to Make a French Press Coffee (youtube.com/watch?v=er12XrLMBUg&feature=youtu.be)