At its best, coffee brewed with a French press is richer and more full-bodied than drip; at its worst, it's bitter and gritty. This expert technique can help you avoid the pitfalls and make perfect coffee with your French press.
The feature that makes French press coffee taste so great — the amount of contact the coffee grinds have with the water — is also the one that makes it possibly problematic. Coffee oils have more time to mix with the water in a French press, contributing to stronger and more delicious coffee, but at the same time, when fine grinds continue to seep into the coffee, the result is muddied and over-extracted coffee.
Freakonomics has posted a coffee technique handed down from a former World Barista Champion (read: professional coffee geek) that can solve this dilemma. Besides the basics that many coffee aficionados already espouse (paying attention to brewing ratio, having the coffee beans ground specifically for the French press, and keeping brewing time consistent), the technique includes two interesting French press suggestions:
1. Don't cover the press during steeping, so you can allow the grounds to "bloom" as much as possible.
2. Skim the grounds at the top of the coffee before plunging.
The skimming part is key, since it rids the French press of fine particles that would otherwise continue steeping. Removing them will create a cleaner mouthfeel and a better cup of coffee overall.
Hit up the full post for more French press coffee specifics and measurements. Or check out our other coffee-perfecting posts, such as coffee extraction and ratios adjustments. Photo by Beneath_B1ue_Skies
How To Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee [Freakonomics]