Last updated on October 27th, 2023 at 16:53
A regular reader buzzed me on our Facebook page asking “what type of coffee do you use for a French press?”
Making coffee is something we all do multiple times per day, and for those that are lucky enough to make it professionally in an artisan coffee shop get to do it several hundred times per day.
Coffee professionals, coffee geeks alike must use the right coffee for the right machine to get the great results that end us up with a fantastic cup of coffee.
Getting straight to the answer, a good quality coarse grind that is of a dark roast and full of flavor. You can get away with using a finer grind and lighter roast, fruitier taste if you do it right and, of course, based on your own personal preference.
it’s not the type of coffee that you use in your French press that matters so much. The grind that you use is far more important. I’ll talk about the grind size later in this article.
In the remainder of this article, I’ll detail the French press method, why it’s so popular, if you really do need special coffee for a French press and if you can get away with using regular ground coffee.
Let’s plunge in and get on with this and start detailing what type of coffee do you use for a French press!.
What Is French Press Coffee?
Table Of Content
- 1 What Is French Press Coffee?
- 2 Do I Need Special Coffee For A French Press?
- 3 Is A Fine Grind Better For French Press Coffee?
- 4 Why A Coarse Grind Is Usually Used
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions About What Type Of Coffee Do You Use For A French Press?
- 5.1 Are Some Beans Better Than Others For The French Press?
- 5.2 Should I Pour All The Brewed Coffee Out Of My French Press?
- 5.3 What Is The Best Type Of Coffee For A French Press?
- 5.4 Is French Press Only For Black Coffee?
- 5.5 What Is So Special About French Press Coffee?
- 5.6 What Is The Difference Between French Press And Regular Coffee?
- 5.7 Is A French Press Fine Or Coarse Coffee?
- 5.8 Should I Use Whole Beans Or Ground Coffee For French Press?
- 6 Frappé-ing It All Up – What Type Of Coffee Do You Use For A French Press?
The French press is a device designed for brewing coffee. It was based on a design by Italian Ugo Paolini for separating tomato juice from the pulp using a plunger, pressing action and filter.
The design change from tomato juice to coffee brewing was adapted and patented by Italians Giulio Moneta and Atillo Calimani at the end of the roaring 20s.
Worldwide, the French press is known as a Stanutuffo and cafetière in Italy, a Kaffepresse or Stempelkanne in Germany, a cafetière a piston or just a cafetière in France, a cafetière in my native United Kingdom and Ireland. In South Africa and Australia, it’s known as plunger coffee.
It’s only in North America that it is known as a French Press or as a Coffee Press.
French Press coffee simply refers to coffee made using this particular brewing technique.
Note, that as ironic as it sounds, the French press coffee method has no origin or association with the country.
Why Is The French Press So Popular?
By far the greatest advantage of the French press, and perhaps why it’s so popular, is because it allows you to make a cup of coffee based on your own personal preference and taste.
With the French press method of elaborating a coffee, you have control over the size and type of coffee grounds that you use, how long they are steeped for and the temperature of the water as well as other variables, including water quality, that affect the quality of your cuppa Joe.
It’s because your coffee grounds are steeped and not filtered, your coffee ends up with a fuller flavor. This method does not add tiny micro bits of coffee particulates into your coffee that get percolated into your brew. It’s also better for the flavor profile.
the way in which a French press functions and is designed, your ground beans are in direct contact with the hot water instead of just flowing through them with filter and drip coffee. This helps the essential oils and various compounds, aromas and flavors from coffee grounds to (and tea) be diffused through the hot water instead of getting captured by the filter paper.
The French press is a more “wholesome” flavor and way of making coffee and tea!
Due to the functionality of a French press, it may even be a great way of getting all the healthy compounds from herbs.
What Kind Of Coffee Should I Make in My French Press?
If you are asking what kind of coffee should you make in your French press? Occam’s razor applies here; the obvious answer is the best one.
Due to the functionality of a French press and the way in which you elaborate a cup of coffee using it you can use any type of coffee beans, be they Ethiopian coffee beans, Tanzanian, Rwandan, Guatemalan, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Brazilian or whatever.
The choice is entirely up to you, including the type of roasted coffee bean that you select. A medium roast coffee, dark roast coffee beans work well for me. This is of course, my own personal choice.
The important part is using the correct grind size.
Getting a good coffee with the French press requires you to use coarse ground coffee to get the complete and full flavor from coffee grounds using this brewing method.
I also advise, for the very best results and freshness, that you do not use Pre-Ground coffee and grind the beans yourself by either using a manual burr coffee grinder.
With your own grinder you can do some experimentation with grind size and use your beans for different coffee types as well as have a fuller, fresher, better flavor.
Keep that at the forefront of your mind. The type of coffee that you use for a French press is not so important. The important part is the grind size and that you grind them yourself for the best possible results.
It’s a myth that you must use French roast coffee.
Do I Need Special Coffee For A French Press?
you do not need any special coffee for making coffee with your French Press. It’s best that you use freshly ground beans with the right grind size for French press brewing.
If you have a favorite single origin Arabica coffee, you can, of course, use that or a particular preferred roast like a dark roast coffee, you can use it in your French press coffee maker.
Are Some Beans Better Than Others For The French Press?
despite the fact that you can use any coffee bean or roast in your French press brewing adventures, there are, naturally speaking, some coffee beans that are better than others. This is the same even with the simplest brewing methods.
If and when you use good high quality beans and roasts from a reliable coffee roaster that retains a lot of their oils, you will end up with a coffee that is richer in taste and aroma.
Can You Use Regular Ground Coffee In A French Press?
for your French Press to work properly and for you to get a top quality coffee, as a result, you need to use coarsely ground coffee. There are some people who will try a fine grind, and put forward their arguments and reasons for doing so.
If you do use finely ground beans, you will end up with sediment in your coffee if you are even able to get the plunger to go down to begin with.
You could use a filter to remove the sediment, but that negates one of the reasons for using a French press, and what gives French press coffee a fuller flavor, the full use of the aromas and oils that remain unfiltered.
Is A Fine Grind Better For French Press Coffee?
With a French press, you are depending on the immersion technique to extract the flavor, aromas and oils. This is why we use a coarse grind for slow extraction and not to over extract the components of the beans that result in a strong bitter taste.
a finer grind for pour over brewing techniques can result in the grind impeding the water flow. Which is not the case with this method, as all French press coffee lovers will tell you, which means you are free to experiment.
The Case For Finer Grinds With A French Press
Finer grinds allow for a much quicker extraction of the aroma, oils and flavor producing compounds. Due to an increase in the contact between the grounds and the coffee, the water-soluble compounds get extracted quicker.
The size of the grind does not change what is being extracted from the coffee beans. Coffee beans are coffee beans and contain all the flavor and scents that are ready to be extracted.
The size of the grind just increases or decreases the quantity of these water-soluble compounds that are in contact with the water. The result is a stronger or weaker coffee based on the grind size.
This means that with a finer grind you can, at least in theory, use a finer grind in your French press with the caveat that you reduce the brew time.
There is a point of over extraction that you need to be aware of. Your coffee will get better and better and then, at a point, it will start to get over extracted and start to become bitter. Using too fine a grind you will hit that point quicker, after which you will need to use a more coarse grind.
When your coffee is over extracted, it will start to taste bitter, too bitter and not at all pleasant to drink.
Why A Coarse Grind Is Usually Used
A coarse grind is usually used with a French press due to finer grinds ending up with a muddy and cloudy appearance and a rather bitter tasting coffee. The use of finer grinds can be done but takes practice and can require the use of a filter which lessens the flavor of the resulting coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions About What Type Of Coffee Do You Use For A French Press?
Are Some Beans Better Than Others For The French Press?
Yes, naturally speaking, some coffee beans are better with a French press than others due to the extraction technique of full immersions and letting the coffee steep for 3 to 4 minutes.
Even though you can brew with any beans of your choice, as a French press expert, this coffee brewing method excels at extracting the goodness from dark roast coffee beans as they are simply brilliant at getting all the deep, dark roasty flavors into your cup of coffee and drawing out the coffee oils.
The beans that they are not so good at are the lighter roasts and in particular a blonde roast. With these beans, a pour over is much better at coaxing out all the delicate, floral and intricate notes from the lighter roasts.
Should I Pour All The Brewed Coffee Out Of My French Press?
Yes, when you have hit that sweet spot of flavor bliss your coffee is perfect, and you should decant to a thermal carafe of your choice to keep your coffee nice and hot and with that perfect taste.
If you leave your coffee in your press it will continue to brew and extract and eventually become over brewed and start to taste bitter.
What Is The Best Type Of Coffee For A French Press?
The best type of coffee for a French press is medium-dark to dark roast specialty coffee beans. Due to the effort required for manual brewing, it’s very rewarding and worth the effort when you use top quality beans and get the rich, bold earthy flavors and chocolate tones into your cup.
The better your beans, the better your cup of coffee will be.
Is French Press Only For Black Coffee?
No, you can make a number of different coffee beverages with your French press coffee maker. In fact, you can make the most exotic of coffee drinks with it as you can use also use your French press for making frothy milk.
What Is So Special About French Press Coffee?
French press coffee is great because it uses a built-in metal mesh coffee filter, which means you get a full-bodied coffee with all the flavor and delicious coffee oils in your brew.
What Is The Difference Between French Press And Regular Coffee?
The biggest difference is your French press doesn’t use a paper filter to remove the coffee oils. Your French press is a full immersion brewing process where you have full control over all the variables associated with coffee brewing, including the temperature, brew time, grind size and coffee to water ratio.
Is A French Press Fine Or Coarse Coffee?
Your French press works best with a coarse, even grind size. A fine grind size will result in an overtly bitter coffee with the grinds getting stuck and clogging your mesh filter.
Should I Use Whole Beans Or Ground Coffee For French Press?
For all coffee brewing methods, including French press, it is best to use whole beans as you will get a better tasting coffee with fresher flavors.
Frappé-ing It All Up – What Type Of Coffee Do You Use For A French Press?
Now you know the answer to the posted question you can focus more on getting your grind right and making a fantastic French press coffee than focusing on the beans itself.
Once you have the French press mastered and the hang of making a good cuppa with it, you can progress to using your expensive specialty grade beans if you so wish.
What type of coffee do you use for a French press at home for your coffee? Will you be changing?
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