A question posed to me by Jonathan, a regular reader, “Why does French press taste better?” For those of us that own and regularly use a French press coffee maker, it is not a question “if” coffee tastes better when using this rather iconic brewing device when compared to others, it is an unquestionable coffee lovers fact!
If you are in a rush, and as a fellow coffee aficionado, I’ll tell you right away why this is so before going into detail later.
Coffee brewed in a French press coffee maker gives you full control of all aspects of the brewing process, from water temperature to coffee grind size, brew time and which coffee beans you use and more.
This method of elaborating a coffee allows you to get the fullest flavor from the beans that you make your coffee with, extracting the most from the aromatic oils and compounds without losing them to a paper filter due to them hanging there in the metal mesh filter, the hot water and coffee grounds mix, allowing them to mix and make their way into the final brew for that full flavored coffee.
Why Use a French Press? — Advantages Of The French Press
The biggest reason stated by regular coffee drinkers and genuine coffee fans is the uniqueness and individuality of a French press machine and the resulting brew made. You can make your coffee exactly as you like it. Adjusting the brew time, amount of grounds used, the coffee to ratio, water temperature and grind size to suit your own personal taste.
Due to being able to get all the flavorsome and aromatic coffee oils that give each bean and type of bean its own unique rich taste, makes the French press plunger coffee machine one of the best brewing methods, both for new coffee drinkers and experienced fanatics and expert baristas alike.
There are very few brewing methods that I will use my expensive specialty beans with that help me to easily and effortlessly extract the full taste from them and the individual flavors.
The skill level required to make a French press coffee and to make it well is very low, ideal for a beginner. If you are new to your coffee quest you can use this iconic brewing device to sharpen up your taste buds to learn the different tastes and flavor profiles of one coffee bean to another.
Read:: Can you use espresso beans for a French press?
How Does A French Press Work?
The French press is a hot, almost boiling water steeping based method that extracts the flavor from your coffee grounds slowly thanks to the hot water extracting the coffee oils over a short period of time, typically 4 minutes.
French press coffee is unfiltered, fresh coffee which is one of the reasons that this brewing method is able to get all the coffee oils into your resulting cup of coffee. Thanks to the metal filter the tiny bits of coffee don’t make their way into your cuppa Joe.
Even though there is a metal filter, I still consider a French press coffee to be an unfiltered coffee due to the different functionality of the filter when compared to a paper filter.
With the French press the filter is there just to prevent tiny coffee particulates from making their way into your brew and does not inhibit the aromatic flavorful oils from infusing in the brew. Whereas with a paper filtered drip coffee filters out the aromatic oils that gives coffee its flavor.
Can You Use Regular Coffee In A French Press?
you can absolutely use any coffee beans in your French press. Ideally, and due to the piston like metal filter immersion strainer method of brewing, you should use your best beans that are freshly ground, and if possible, freshly roasted to get the absolute best taste out of your coffee beans.
What you can’t do is use any regular instant coffee or coffee granules as very little to no brewing is taking place and defeats the purpose of using this type of device (or any device).
How Is French Press Coffee Different From Other Coffees?
The way in which a French press differentiates from other coffee brewing systems is the way in which it uses a piston based immersion system and metal screen filter to strain the coffee grounds. It is this method that allows all of the oils that give coffee its flavor to seep into the resulting liquid and not get filtered by a paper filter out like they would with an automatic drip coffee machine.
The resulting flavor is a richer, stronger tasting cup of coffee.
Tips for Making Coffee in Your French Press
Let’s get down and get on with making the best possible French press coffee as we can and truly find out that French press does taste better.
How To Make Great Coffee In Your French Press Step 1
Starting at the very beginning of this process is to use the best possible water. This stands to reason, 98% of coffee on average is water.
Does water make a difference?
absolutely. I am not saying go out and use the very best, highest quality spring, mineral or fortified water. If your tap water is good, tastes fine then that should be fine.
Personally, at the two franchise coffee shops that I invested in, in Vietnam and Cambodia, I have all my coffee machines hooked up to aan industrial water distillation machine and have distilled water on tap in abundance. This is overkill, but I have to ensure high quality drinkable water due to the nature of the business, of course consistency in quality.
If your water doesn’t taste so well consider installing a water filtration system, using a portable water distiller or simply use bottled water.
Step 2: Use The Freshest Possible Coffee Beans
Step 2 or tip number 2 if you so wish. It simply stands to reason that using the best possible flavor rich beans will make you a more delicious cup of coffee. While taste is subjective and opinion based the freshness factor is not open for debate.
Always use freshly roasted coffee beans in any coffee that you make, regardless of the brewing method or device. Coffee is food and the same rules apply, fresh is best.
At Latte Love Brew, I encourage you to do your own roasting at home. Small home coffee roasters are easily affordable.
Use fresh beans that have been roasted no more than 7 to 10 days ago at most and stored well.
Coffee beans, like all food items, can and will start to go off. Keep your top quality beans in a cool dark place and check that they are kept in an air-tight bag or an air-tight container with a one way valve. The valve allows the CO2 gases given off by your beans to escape.
The use of an air tight container not only aids in the freshness factor but helps also to stop your beans from picking up unwanted flavors or aromas from the environment around it.
Step 3: Grind out a great result!
It stands to reason that if you are going to use the best possible freshly roasted beans, or roast them yourself, you will add to that freshness factor by using grounds that you have freshly ground only moments before.
It is a coffee fact that your grounds will start to go off not only as soon as they have been roasted they also start to degrade in quality after they have been ground due to the oxidization process.
Don’t go wild on this one and go and grind a whole bunch of beans. Just grind what you need and what you are about to use.
You are looking for a coarse grind similar in size to Kosher salt. Too large a grind and your coffee will end up weak and watery. Too small and it can end up muddy, gritty and too bitter.
Step 4: Measure Up!
Measuring is another one of the variables that you can control and keep note of to get the perfect brew every single time.
The ideal coffee to water ratio for the French press technique is 1:12 or 30 grams (1 ounce) of coffee to 360 grams (12 ounces) of water.
Starting too strong is good as you can always add a little more hot water to bring down the intensity and tone it down a little.
This is where my golden rule of T.A.F.O comes in, Taste And Find Out!
Step 5: Get It Right!
I’m talking about the water temperature, of course! Preheat your press, the carafe, plunger, metal rod and steel metal filter by immersing them in hot water.
Heat your water to 200F (93C) or boil it and let it cool down for a minute. Brewing your coffee with water that is too hot can cause it to pull out too many of the oils too soon, resulting in a bitter taste.
Too cool a temperature, and you risk not getting enough of them into your cuppa. It is a fine balance; 200F, (93C) is an ideal temperature.
Step 6: Add Your Coffee
Add your coffee grounds to the carafe and give it a shake to ensure that they are even. Pour approximately 1/3rd of your water over them, slowly and in a circular motion. Let the coffee and water mix sit for 30 seconds, allowing them to settle and bloom.
This aids the natural gases to come off the grounds and into the brew, maximizing the flavor impact. Then add the rest of the water slowly and smoothly and put the lid on your French press. Push the plunger from the top to just below the water surface
Step 7: Timing Is Everything!
Get your timer out. Using a timer app is fine. Now, the amount of time to be brewing is a variable that depends on your own personal taste. Typical brewing time will vary from 3 min to as much as 4 minutes.
The golden rule of TAFO again, Taste And Find Out. Get used to tasting the brew that you make as a quality control and ensure you get the fantastic coffee that hits the target every single time!
The longer your coffee brews, the stronger it will get and the more it will move towards becoming over brewed. The same can be said for a shorter time and under brewing.
Step 8: Taking The Plunge
When your coffee is ready and perfectly brewed. Push the plunger all the way down, slowly, the emphasis here is on slowly. Remember, it is hot coffee that is in the carafe and can spray everywhere if you press down too quickly and with too much pressure.
At this point, you are ready to pour and enjoy your coffee. I strongly suggest that you decant the coffee and put it into a thermal carafe, with or without a heater, this is your own choice.
Decanting is to prevent over brewing while the remaining undrunk coffee is sitting there with the coffee grounds, slowly getting stronger and more bitter.
What Coffee-To-Water Ratio Should You Use for French Press?
The French press works well with a coffee to hot water ration of 1:12, that you should have 12x as much water by weight as coffee used.
Typically, 30 grams (1 ounce) of coffee grinds to 360 grams (12 ounces) of water. This ratio should result in a full body flavor from your beans.
What Grind Should You Use For A French Press?
It is technically true and is claimed by many experts like James Hoffman, that even a fine grind can be used if you reduce significantly the brew time. However, for most people and due to the long contact time of the grinds surface area with the water, a coarse grind is needed.
Typically, we are looking at a breadcrumb of table salt kind of coarse grind.
What Is the Best Type of Bean for French Press?
There is no specific “best” bean type for using with a French press. What I can say from experience is that dark roasts work very well with the French press. I strongly advise and recommend using a French press to brew your best bean using this device.
How Do I Keep My French Press Coffee Hot?
The best way of keeping your French Press coffee hot is to decant it into a thermal flask when you have finished brewing it or use a double walled thermal Carafe. You can then keep your coffee hot and enjoy another mug
Frequently Asked Questions About Does French Press Taste Better?
Does French Press Coffee Taste Better Than Drip?
Both a French press coffee and a drip coffee taste very different, very different! If you love and enjoy a full-bodied, rich-tasting coffee then then a French press coffee will taste much better for you.
A drip coffee is lighter, brighter and is excellent at extracting all the nuanced flavors of origin from light roasted coffee beans. If you enjoy light roast coffee, a pour over is the better brewing method.
A French press works much better with dark roasted beans. Coffee is all about using the right beans with the right brewing method.
Does A French Press Make Coffee Taste Different?
All brewing methods and techniques produce a coffee that tastes slightly different – even when you are brewing with the exact same coffee beans.
A French press due to the full immersion technique is first class at extracting the oils from coffee beans and producing a deep, bold and rich tasting coffee. This is enhanced due to the fact that no paper filter is used.
What Are The Benefits Of French Press Coffee?
There are a number of benefits of French press coffee which can be attributed to the nutritional profile of coffee and the abundance of antioxidants.
Coffee, and not only French press coffee, is associated with improved concentration, improved liver health, cognitive function and cardio health according to a number of long term studies.
Does French Press Taste Like Espresso?
French press coffee and a shot of espresso are both strong, bold, rich and dark and rather tasty. In the overall flavor profile they are very, very different coffees with different amounts of caffeine and their ability to be used as the base for a number of other coffee beverages.
Does A French Press Make Stronger Coffee?
A French press does produce a stronger and bolder tasting and full-bodied cup of coffee and is certainly a much stronger tasting coffee.
Can You Use Coffee Grounds Twice In A French Press?
No, it is not at all possible for you to reuse your old coffee grounds in your French press.
If you could get a good quality cup of coffee with a second round of brewing, there is something wrong with your brewing technique that you are not extracting the full flavor from them the first time round.
Frappé-Ing It All Up – Does French Press Taste Better?
If you were curious and asking yourself “Does French press taste better?“, or simply wondering why French Press coffee tastes better, you now have the answer to your question and some top tips to making the best possible brew from your French press.
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