Introduction: Make Coffee Using the French Press

 Ah, the French Press. More properly called Cafétiére, (thank you twocvbloke for the info!!) For some it is nothing more than an enigma that only the biggest coffee connoisseurs can use, but its not! The French Press makes, in my opinion, one of the best cups of coffee imaginable! The only reason I say one is because I haven't had the privilege of using the vac-pot or siphon pot. The focus of this instructable makes such a great tasting brew because:
1) The user has complete control of brewing temps, and lengths, as well as some of the finer details
2) The mesh filters in the press itself allows much more of the oils in the coffee bean to get into the actual drink, whereas drip coffee filters absorb most of the oils.
Here is a decent read on the press,

Edit #1 Feb. 24 '10 -- Step 5 added about clean up, and additional information about whipping creamer added to step 4


So what makes me feel I am qualified to make this instructable? Well, I have never worked in a coffee shop, although I would love too, but I love coffee and have actually basically researched how to do this for weeks. I have brewed countless numbers of cups this way, so naturally I have found the just right mixture of temperatures, brew times, and bean amounts to perfectly suit my taste. This whole instructable is based on my preferences, but can easily be tweaked to meet anyone's preference. Any comments or questions would be greatly appreciated and answered ASAP.

So with out further ado, I present my instructable on how to "Make coffee using the French Press"

Step 1: Materials

 This is what you will need: 
     1. A French Press; There are many good places to get them, obviously Starbucks would be a good place, although they will cost more there.
     2. Coffee; WHOLE BEAN ONLY!!!! Yes it is important enough that it deserves to be in all caps. When you grind a bean, it starts losing flavors and oils instantly, and since that is part of what makes press coffee so good you obviously want it in the actual drink, the pre-ground tends to have less oils which means less flavor.
     3. Coffee Grinder; If you chose to ignore the all caps portion of my last ingredient then you don't need it
     4.Pyrex measuring cup; Its sort of self explanatory, see picture if you don't understand.
     5.Fork; seems odd now, but you will get it later.
     6. Coffee mug
     7. Jar or Bag; this is just to store the beans in, any air tight container will work.
     8. Half and Half or any other type of creamer
     9. Timer of some sort; not pictured.

This seems like a lot of materials and ingredients but they are all completely necessary. 

Step 2: Measure Coffee, Start Water, and Grind Beans

 The title explains the main part of it, but there are some technicalities to it. So I will have a few sub-steps. 
Materials for this step:
1. Press
2. Mug
3. Tablespoon
4. Grinder
5. Pyrex cup
6. Water
7. Microwave

     1. To start, it is a good idea to pour some hot water in both the press and cup to keep them warm to keep the coffee hot longer
     2. Measure 2 tablespoons of the beans and pour them into the grinder, DO NOT GRIND YET!! The exact amount of beans is sort of subjective, but that is the amount that I prefer, I would suggest trying my amount first, then if you want to adjust it feel free. I said not to grind it yet because the second you grind the beans, they start losing scent, which ultimately is flavor, its kind of crazy sounding, but its important.
     3. Measure 1 cup of water in the pyrex cup and put it in the microwave, on my microwave, I put it in for 3 beverage cycles, but the ultimate goal is to get it to boil for just a few seconds, so its up to you.
     4. As the water is in the microwave, grind the beans just as the water starts to boil. The trick here is getting the right grind, in the type of grinder I have, it has to be ground very fine, because the majority somehow ends up coarse, ultimately you want a coarse grind.


Many parts of these steps may seem strange, but they really do make a difference. Follow the steps exactly and you won't be disappointed.

Step 3: Pour Ground Beans Then Water and Wait

 This next part is sort of crazy to explain but I will do my best.
Materials for this step:
1. Ground beans
2. Hot water in pyrex cup
3. Thermometer or good sense of temperature
3. Press w/ grounds in it
4. Timer
5. Fork


     1. Now that you have your ground beans, pour the warm water out of the press, and pour the ground beans in.
     2. Take the just boiling water out of the microwave, be careful boiling water tends to be hot!!
     3. Wait for a few seconds for the water to cool slightly. You want the water to be just under boiling, 212F is boiling point so you want it around 200F or thereabouts. The temperature is pretty important because the sworn nemesis of coffee is too high of temperatures. The perfect temperature ensures that the maximum amount of flavor gets taken out of the coffee without any of the bitter flavors, such as excess caffeine.
     4. Look at or start your timer and pour the water over the grounds.
     5. Stir with the fork for 10 seconds. This is called "blooming" the coffee and ensures all coffee is getting brewed 
     6.  Let the coffee brew for 2 min and 30 sec and then press, pressing takes around 5 sec, as soon as it is pressed, pour it into your mug. Every second the water is on the beans is a second flavor is leeched, so make sure you pour it at 2:35. Once again brew time is sort of subjective, so start with my time then adjust to your liking.


Again, these steps have odd and nit-picky parts, but they are all important nonetheless.

Step 4: Add Creamer, and Enjoy.

 Now all that is left is to add creamer.
Materials for this step:
1. Freshly made coffee
2. Half and Half
3. Mixing instrument
4. stove 
5. small sauce pan 

I have recently discovered that using milk is about the best way to lighten the coffee and take off the bitterness. It's best to warm the amount of milk you decide to use on a stove in a small sauce pan to about 165F then froth it. At 165F the milk will get the best texture without getting too hot and frothing it adds a great texture and can be used to make latte art.  **Apparently, you can use the actual press to whip the creamer, just pour the desired amount and press the plunger up and down several times, and voila! Perfect micro-foam that can be used to make beautiful coffee art such as taught here I take no credit for the video, I am merely using it to demonstrate. There are a few other options, which are listed below.
** Update #1


     1. First off, if you really want to appreciate the amazing flavor of French Press coffee, and especially if it is your first time making it, then drink it black without half and half or sugar. 
     2. I personally don't like black coffee, and half and half is a good way of maintaining the good coffee flavor without covering it up with the flavors of creamer or sugar but at the same taking off the any bitterness you may have. I usually add enough to make the coffee have a caramel or light caramel color.
     3. If you want something a little different, although its almost an insult to mask such an amazing flavor, you can use flavored creamers.
     4. I usually whip the creamer I choose to use with a whisk then pour it in because then you get something closer to steamed milk like in a cappuccino.

Just a few notes:
     1. It is normal to have a black "sludge" in the coffee, it is just the left over very fine grounds that didn't get filtered by the mesh.
     2. Obviously be careful because this coffee is extremely hot
     3. Please rate this and leave any questions you have in a comment.

Step 5: Clean Up!

 Great everybody's favorite part right?! No, its not? Well luckily clean up is a breeze when using the french press!
1. Dirtied materials from previous steps
2. Sink
3. Wash rag
4. Trash or plants

     To start, just pour out the wet grounds left in the press, either into a trash or into a plant, I have heard that the grounds make great compost type material, I have never tried it so I can't say. Please don't pour the grounds down the drain, it may clog your drain. When you have most of  the grounds out then it is safe to rinse it. Go ahead and rinse any and all rouge grounds out, make sure you disassemble the filter portion, if your press has the ability, because grounds often get stuck in it. I would suggest wiping down the inside of the jar part of the press to get rid of any of the oils from this batch of coffee so you don't get old oil in your next batch. Don't use actual dish soap either, because it may leave a little residue that can mess up the next batch of coffee, you may or may not notice a difference if you use it, but I still wouldn't. Let it dry extremely well before putting the lid back on or your filter may get mold or other growths in it, and that's just nasty. 
     And now for the grinder. I usually just tap the grinder over the trash and try to get any loose grounds out that way, then wipe down the inside metal part with a damp paper towel. 
     Thats it, told you it wasn't bad!