I require coffee. I am not worth a darn without a cup of coffee in the morning. If you want a really good cup of coffee at home I highly recommend a French Press. All of my life, until that life-changing day when Fr. Knott gave me a French Press for Christmas, I was a drip coffee drinker. I think a French Press makes much better coffee than any drip machine. I have never tasted coffee from one of those fancy, overly expensive coffee machines that are so popular today. Maybe they make great coffee, but I am not getting suckered into buying those “pods” that are required by them. It’s a racket. It’s like printer ink. They sell you the printer cheap, below their cost because they will recoup their money 100 fold by selling you the over-priced cartridges – and they will make a killing.
A French Press takes a little more work than a drip machine, but it’s worth it. Plus, a French Press is really cheap. You do need another piece of equipment if you use a French Press – something that boils water. You can use a tea kettle, but I prefer a hot pot. Get one that automatically shuts off when it boils.There is a science to making a really good cup of coffee with a French Press, but some of the advice applies to other methods as well. Here are some things to consider …1. The Right Water.Filtered or spring water makes for better coffee. Tap water has so many minerals and additives that subvert the taste of a good cup of coffee. Distilled water doesn’t work because all the minerals are removed and you need some to extract the coffee flavor. Put water in your coffee mug or cup and add as many cups of water as you'll need for the number of cups of coffee you want to make. Coffee mugs are often different sizes so this way you boil exactly what you need. Most hot pots have measurements on the side as well.2. The CoffeeObviously, the coffee beans you use make a difference. You want a coarse grind for a French Press. Generally you need 1 coffee scoop to 6 ounces of water, but that depends on your beans. This is something you tweak as you first use your Press.3. The EquipmentThe Press needs a good filter. The filter keeps the coffee grounds in the press — not in your cup. Bodum makes some of the best French presses. They have a three piece filter that you can take apart and clean. Periodic cleaning is important to remove any build up of residue from the oils in the coffee.4. The Hot WaterAmerica’s Test Kitchen did a comparison of coffee makers and noted that the water must be between 195 and 205༠F. If it’s beyond that it will scorch the coffee beans. If it’s below that it will not sufficiently extract the fullest flavor from the beans and will actually make it more bitter. They found that most drip machines did not heat the water to a sufficient level. So, when the water comes to a boil remove it from the heat or turn it off, open the lid and let the steam escape for about 1 minute before you pour it over the beans or add a little cold water to cool it down slightly. I confess, I use boiling water and I don’t think it makes it bitter or harsh.
5. Give It a StirAfter you pour in the hot water wait for the grounds to rise to the top and form a “crust.” Then give them a stir. If you have a glass Press stir with something plastic or wood as metal can crack the hot glass.6. Let It SitLet your coffee sit for 3 to 5 minutes — depending on how strong you want your brew. Then press and pour.7. EnjoyIf you make more than one cup it will obviously cool in the Press. I find it does not get bitter or strong as it sits like drip coffee which “cooks” on the warming plate. Just zap the next cup in the microwave to reheat.
8. CleaningEmpty the grinds from the container and rinse both it and the filter under warm water. Occasionally put the filter in the dishwasher to remove any build-up of oils.