The French Press is one of the most popular brewing methods for homemade coffee. French Press coffee is characterized by its unique taste and heavier body.
- 1 What Is a French Press Coffee?
- 2 Is Cowboy Coffee the Same as Using a French Press?
- 3 What Coffee Do You Use for French Press?
- 4 Why Is a Coarse Grind Typically Used?
- 5 Is Finely Ground Coffee Better for a French Press?
- 6 How Do You Grind Coffee Beans for a French Press?
- 7 Do You Have to Vary the Water Temperature Based on the Grinds?
- 8 Should You Use a Different French Press for Finely Ground Coffee?
- 9 Why Is French Press Coffee Better?
- 10 Final Thoughts
Although it’s extremely easy to make, you still need to control the coffee grind size to make the best cup of French Press coffee.
What Is a French Press Coffee?
French Press coffee is a special coffee brewing technique that’s popular around the world. The idea here is that you steep the coffee in a special coffee brewing device that has the same name as the technique.
Different parts of the world have different names for the brewing method. For example, the name “French Press” is popular in North America.
However, in France, it’s known as “cafetière à piston”. Also in other English speaking countries like Australia and New Zealand, it’s called a “Coffee Plunger”. The reason for this nomenclature comes from the design of the French Press brewing device.
The covering lid on the device’s beaker has a special piston or plunger that ends with a mesh filter at the bottom. This part has a key role in the functionality of the French Press brewing device.
How it Works
The French Press device works by immersing and steeping the coffee grounds in hot water inside a beaker for a certain amount of time. When the steeping process is finished, you use the previously mentioned plunger to press the coffee grounds.
The mesh filter in the plunger pushes the coffee grounds towards the bottom of the beaker. By doing this, it separates the coffee grounds and traps them inside the beaker, allowing the liquid coffee to pass through.
Additionally, it allows all the fine ingredients, such as natural coffee oils extra-small particles, to pass through. For these reasons, French Press coffee is usually characterized by being thick and relatively heavier than other types of coffee.
As you can see, it depends on immersion like some other brewing methods. However, French Press coffee has its own taste profile that makes it a unique method despite being popular and easy to pull off.
Despite the simplicity, a lot of factors control the final taste and quality of the French Press coffee. For example, the final product is prone to over-extraction.
To avoid that, you need to control a lot of aspects, such as the grind size, the brewing time, and more.
Is Cowboy Coffee the Same as Using a French Press?
The best way to answer this question is by explaining what cowboy coffee is, so you can see the similarities and differences yourself.
Cowboy coffee is a method that’s often linked with the spirit of camping and outdoor adventures. It’s advantageous if you forget to pack your French Press coffee maker along.
The reason behind that is that you don’t need a lot of specialty coffee equipment to prepare it, which suits the camping life. However, you can still use special tools to make the job easier.
Cowboy coffee is also one of the coffee brewing methods that depend on the immersion technique to brew the coffee. This is one of the reasons why some people confuse it with French Press coffee.
How Do You Make a Cowboy Coffee?
To make a cowboy coffee, you only need coffee grounds, water, and a pot. In most cases, you use the campfire to make the coffee.
You start by adding some water to the pot and bring it to a boil. After boiling, you take it off the fire and let it cool down to about 200 °F (about 93 °C).
When it cools down, start adding finely-ground coffee to water. As a rule of thumb, you need to add 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 8 ounces of water. After stirring for about a minute, let the brew sit for another two minutes.
Repeat the “stir then sit” cycle another time, let the coffee brew for a final of 4 minutes. The time here is arbitrary, so you don’t need to time it by the second.
You can add two spoonfuls of cold water to help the coffee grounds to settle at the bottom of the pot. When the grounds settle, pour the coffee carefully into your mug.
Similarities and Differences
As you can see, the method also depends on the immersion technique to brew the coffee. If anything, cowboy coffee is more a “pour-over” brewing method coffee than a French Press.
There are some similarities. For example, both of them require you to boil the water then add the coffee grounds. Also, you need to wait for the coffee to brew.
Another similarity between them is the consistency of the coffee. Both of them share a dense coffee due to the presence of natural coffee oils and extra-small particles in the final brew.
The difference between them is the coffee used. While cowboy coffee can be made with a wide variety of coffee grind sizes, extra finely ground coffee is the most common one used. Unlike French Press, it uses no special pots, plungers, or specific timers.
What Coffee Do You Use for French Press?
Now that you know the difference between a cowboy coffee and French Press, let’s have a closer look at the ideal coffee for French Press.
Types of coffee can be classified according to the degree of roast and the size of the grind. To make things easier for you. I’ll answer both questions
The Perfect Roast
One of the great things about the French Press is that it works quite well with almost all kinds of coffee roasts depending on your personal preference.
Coffee roasts can be classified into light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Although the French Press suits most of these kinds, the ideal ones are medium and medium-dark.
However, medium and medium-dark coffee roasts have the ideal amounts of natural coffee oils that compliment the method.
The Perfect Grind
I’m a huge advocate for grinding the coffee beans yourself. This way, you get the ideal grind size for your own taste.
As you can see, the French Press is a highly flexible coffee brewing method that works with different roasts. Surprisingly, you can also choose any kind of coffee grind according to your preference.
However, to enjoy the genuine taste and feel of a French Press coffee, a coarser grind is preferred.
Why Is a Coarse Grind Typically Used?
There are multiple reasons for coarse grind coffee to be the ideal choice if you’re making French Press.
To answer this question, we need to have a look at how the French Press works and how coffee brews in general.
Brewing the coffee means leaving it in contact with a brewing medium (which is usually hot water). This helps in extracting the content of the coffee grind to make your coffee beverage.
Coarse grinds are preferred because of the rule of extraction, which is the link between the grind size and grinding time.
This rule states that the longer you keep your coffee in the steeping process, the more extraction it gets.
This means that immersing the grounds for a long time will cause what’s known as “over-extraction”. Short extraction time is also unpreferred, as it’ll make the coffee much fainter than most drinkers enjoy.
As you already know, French Press has a filter fitted in the bottom of the plunger. This filter prevents the large particles of coffee ground from passing through. On the flip side, finer particles can escape from the filter easily.
As you know, these extra small particles are already present in the French Press coffee. These particles are bitter in taste, which gives the French Press coffee its unique taste.
Coarse grind has minimal amounts of these tiny particles, which should be kept at minimum amounts for the sake of taste, grittiness, and consistency.
Can You Use Regular Ground Coffee for French Press?
The key to making an ideal French Press coffee is to balance the brewing time with the size of the grind. In other words, you’ll only need to shorten the brewing time to 2 minutes instead of 4.
Is Finely Ground Coffee Better for a French Press?
Fine coffee particles are the secret behind the French Press’ dense consistency. However, you don’t want a lot of them in your cup, as too many of them will mask the taste of the coffee.
Also, the more particles in your French Press, the grittier it feels in your mouth. Moreover, these small particles can eventually tamper with the filter and break the plungers.
As you already know, over-extracted coffee is bitter in taste and unpleasant for the majority of coffee drinkers.
So, unless you’re a fan of extremely bitter coffee, your coffee should only have a tiny amount of them.
How Do You Grind Coffee Beans for a French Press?
A coffee grinder is your bread and butter if you want to make a good-tasting French Press coffee.
There are no limits on how to grind your coffee before brewing them in a French Press. The easiest way is to use an electric coffee grinder to get your beans ready. For example, you can use Mr. Coffee Electric Coffee Grinder. It’s one of the best electric coffee grinders on the market.
If you prefer to grind your coffee by hand, you can try the JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder. A manual one is more fun but it’ll require some elbow juice.
Can You Use Store-Bought Ground Coffee in a French Press?
Yes, you can!
However, brewing a freshly ground coffee will always grant you a better taste. Store-bought ground coffee, especially the coarse ones, will work flawlessly in a French Press.
If you buy a finer grind, you’ll only need to adjust the brewing time a bit less accordingly.
Can You Use Folgers Coffee for your French Press?
The answer is yes!
After pouring the hot water in the French Press coffee maker, you should stir the coffee well. The next step is putting the lid back on and pushing the plunger. Let it brew for 4 minutes, and your coffee will be ready for drinking.
Do You Have to Vary the Water Temperature Based on the Grinds?
To make a consistent cup of coffee, you need to control a lot of variables, including the temperature of the brew.
Changing the temperature can have a minimal effect on the process of coffee brewing. Also, it’s more cumbersome to vary the water temperature.
That’s I prefer that you keep the temperature constant and adjust the grind size accordingly.
Should You Use a Different French Press for Finely Ground Coffee?
As you know, the coarse grind is the go-to size when brewing coffee in a French Press. However, you can still use a finely ground coffee
You don’t have to use a different French Press coffee maker if you prefer a finely ground coffee. Instead, you only need to be careful not to put too much pressure on the plunger. Also, you need to brew it for less time when compared to coarse grinds.
Why Is French Press Coffee Better?
Here are some advantages that you get when brewing your coffee in a French Press:
- It’s one of the easiest methods around
- It allows you to control every aspect of your cup of coffee
- It doesn’t require exotic tools
- French Press Carafes are easy to clean and readily available
There you have it. A complete guide that answers all the questions you might have about the best coffee grind for French Press.
Ideally, you’ll enjoy the best cup of French Press coffee if you have a coarse grind that’s also freshly prepared.
However, you can still enjoy the coffee if you adjust the size of the grind. Also, you can use any kind of store-bought ground coffee.