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Friday, August 18, 2017

Happygirl Essentials: How to Make French Press Coffee

Weekdays are typically so busy that I make a Nespresso and I'm off, energized for the day but weekends? Oh, weekends, lovely, slow, languid weekend mornings are made for French Press Coffee and homemade pastries (lemon in the spring, coconut in the summer, apple in the fall and pumpkin in the winter).  

The first time I tried French Press coffee was at a little cafe in the Village. It was a winter morning and I stopped in to a tiny restaurant to get out of the numbingly cold wind. I will never forget the way that coffee tasted paired with the brioche French toast with warm cherry compote. I think I've been chasing that flavor ever since! 

I had never considered making French Press Coffee myself until one week L and I were staying at a cottage on Martha's Vineyard. The rental didn't have an electric coffee maker, but it did have a French press and so when we stopped by Morning Glory Farm later that day, we picked up some fresh roasted coarsely ground Chilmark Coffee. I was a little baffled with the press at first but I looked up instructions online and while it's a little more complicated than using a Keurig,  the depth of flavor and even the meditative process itself, make it worth the effort. When we returned home, I picked up our own press. I like this one by Bodum, an essential for your kitchen. (Amazon, $42.49)

I've experimented with several different methods to make the perfect cup of French Press Coffee. This one, however, is tried and true.

How to Make French Press Coffee

Boil water. 

Remove top/plunger from press and set aside. 

For each cup of water, add two tablespoons of coffee to the decanter. It's key to use coarsely ground coffee. 

Pour hot water over the grounds, filling halfway. Stir and let sit for 30 seconds. This allows the grounds to bloom. Add the remaining water, leaving room at the top for the plunger. Slowly, stir the grounds and water until blended.

Gently add top, leaving plunger in the up position, resting on the water. Let steep for four minutes, then slowly push plunger and grounds down. Pour and enjoy!


If you aren't going to drink all the coffee immediately, pour the remaining coffee into a heat safe container and place in the refrigerator to enjoy iced coffee later. Leaving the coffee with the grounds in the press for an extended time will leave you with bitter coffee.

Don't use coffee made for a drip coffee maker. The grounds are too fine and will clog up your press. Either grind the coffee yourself at home or ask to have the coffee ground for a French Press, wherever you buy your coffee beans.

Be sure to thoroughly clean the press and filter, removing the oils from the coffee beans from the glass and the bits of coffee beans from the mesh filter.

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