Although Dexter has worked for Capanna for over four years, we haven’t regularly brewed coffee at home until this fall. We used to have the standard Mr. Coffee machine. It was a bulky waste of space that all but desecrated the gourmet, locally-roasted coffee beans we put in it. (Seriously, the coffee was weak, but if we added more grounds they’d explode all over the inside. It was too hard for something that you’re supposed to do when you’re sleepy.)
Finally, when we moved into our house, the carafe to our coffee machine got lost in the shuffle. Instead of replacing it, we bought two coffee drippers at our favorite Des Moines cafe. We set the coffee dripper on top of a mug, put a paper filter inside, added a few scoops of coffee grounds, and poured hot water over the top. It worked fine, but we didn’t really like having to stand over them, waiting for the water to drip through so we could pour more water.
That’s why Dexter decided to ask for a French press, also called a press pot, for his birthday. Since October, we’ve been using it about every weekend to get our caffeine fix.
There are three main reasons we prefer French press coffee.
- It doesn’t require filters, so it’s eco-friendly and economical.
- Because it isn’t filtered through paper, the essential oils from the beans stay in your coffee and give it more flavor.
- You can make coffee for more than one person at a time, depending on the size of your French press.
We’re still learning about the art of French press coffee, so if you brew your coffee differently, that’s fine. We might even copy the way you do it if you tell us how. We enjoy the coffee we’ve been making this way, however, and you might, too. For more tips on how to brew a great cup of coffee, see last week’s At-Home Coffee Shop article.
- Put water on to boil.
- Scoop 2 tablespoons whole coffee beans into your grinder for every one cup of water you plan to use. We use about 24 oz. of water, so we use 6 tablespoons. If you don’t have a grinder, try starting with one tablespoon of coarse grounds per 8 oz. of water. Adjust from there to see how you enjoy your coffee.
- Grind your beans coarsely.
- Pour your grounds into the bottom of your French press.
- Let boiled water sit until it cools to between 195-205*F.
- Pour over water.
- Stir grounds into water if you don’t think they have all gotten wet. We stir with a chopstick instead of a metal spoon so we don’t damage the glass pitcher.
- Place lid on French press gently, allowing filter to sit on top of grounds.
- Wait 4 minutes.
- Press gently (or just use the weight of your arm) on the top of the French press until the filter is pushed all the way down. This should take about 30 seconds.
- Pour your coffee.
In case you were wondering, if you drink this alongside a chocolate croissant from your local gourmet bakery, it will be good. (I know that’s oatmeal in the picture…but if you have a choice, go for the chocolate croissant.)
For more tips on how to create good cafe treats at home, read the rest of my At-Home Coffee Shop series.