FRENCH PRESS 101 – Confidence Builder

My favorite way to enjoy coffee each and every morning is via French Press. This is a simple and delicious way to enjoy coffee in its purest form. You can find an inexpensive French Press at Ikea for $12.99. The flavor is deeper and richer than traditional drip coffee from a brewer, and you will devour the aroma as you wait patiently (2-4 minutes depending on who you ask) to pour a cup. Please don’t be intimidated by this little device.

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1)First things first. Boil some water. As much as you need to make enough coffee. My french press holds a quart. My old one only about 3/4 of that. HANDY CONVERSION: There are 4 cups in a quart.

2) Remove the filter from your French Press, leaving only the empty glass container/jar.

3) Add ground coffee to your glass “jar”. About 1-2  tablespoons for each cup. NOTE: This is where you come in and decide how YOU like your coffee. If you like really weak coffee, use less — that’s okay. Similarly, if you like really strong coffee, add more — that’s okay too. The best thing about using a French Press is that you are having a very intimate experience with your coffee. You are controlling all of the moving parts, and the only “right” way, is the way that you best enjoy it. As with all food that you prepare in your home: you bought it, you’re making it, you need to ENJOY IT! Not some food critic, and not some maniac you watch on TV telling people that there is only one “right” way. Savor what you love. This is what makes the experience happy, and fulfilling, and enjoyable.

4) Once your water is boiling, fill the glass jar nearly full with boiling water, leave about an inch or  1 1/2 inches of room at the top so that you are able to slide the filter back in without overflow.

5) Immediately place the filter with lid over the jar. DON’T PUSH THE FILTER DOWN YET. The filter should be resting at the top of the coffee, waiting patiently just like you. DO make sure the lid is secure. You want to trap the heat and steam for best results.

6) After 2-4 minutes, gently use the handle at the top of your French Press to press the filter down. Some French Presses are tougher than others, so if you feel resistance, just go slow. No need to rush. You want to press down slowly and gently until the filter stops.

7) Now, pour yourself a hot cup of French Press coffee. Add whatever (or not) to your coffee that makes you happy. I’ve seen it all (and used it all!!):  coconut milk, half and half, soy milk, evaporated milk, hazelnut milk, hemp milk, almond milk, brown sugar, agave nectar, white sugar, raw sugar, sugar cubes, honey, maple syrup— you get the picture. I, myself, use the traditional half and half, with 2 teaspoons of sugar. That’s what makes me happy.

What makes you happy?Happy Monday!

FINER POINTS ON FRENCH PRESS THAT OUGHT NOT DISCOURAGE OR SCARE YOU:

a) There are varied schools of thought on proper grind for French Press. Some say course grind, I prefer fine. A course grind will spare you some sediment in your coffee, which some complain of being “muddy” coffee. I rather enjoy my coffee sediment, and when I see it at the bottom of my cup I think of mocha. If you buy your coffee pre-ground, please don’t be concerned, you will certainly enjoy the outcome. French Press will extract a delicious cup of coffee from nearly any grind, so don’t let that dissuade you from jumping in and trying it. I 100% guarantee it will be far better than any drip coffee you ever purchased from Starbucks or MacDonalds, and that’s solid.

b) There have been some varied opinions on length of time to brew; obviously the longer the brew, the stronger the coffee. I am a pretty advanced coffee drinker, and have been hurried into a quick few minute press, and have also accidentally let my press sit for 15 minutes while I became distracted with other morning regimens: in all cases, my coffee tasted just fine. Please don’t worry yourself over the minutia, life is too short!

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