4 Critical Mistakes when using a French press
- Poor Water Quality. If you wouldn't drink tap water from your faucet, don't use it for your coffee. Use the bottled or distilled water so you aren't polluting your coffee.
- Grind the coffee too small. It will clog the filter, making it difficult to press down as it clogs the filter screen. It's best if you grind the coffee beans just prior to use. They should be coarse ground, about the size of Kosher salt. If you have the coffee shop grind your beans, ask them to grind for use in a French press.
- Using boiling hot water. You want the temperature to be just off the boil, about 200°F. We use an electric kettle to heat the water. It shutsoff automatically when the water boils. Let the water sit for about 30-45 seconds. It'll cool slightly. Using boiling water will extract acids that'll diminish the flavor of the coffee.
- Allowing the coffee to brew too long. The optimum brew time is 4 minutes. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. Set a timer. That amount of time is ideal for flavor extraction. As you brew past 4 minutes, you'll start extracting the acid in the coffee beans and it will start flooding into your coffee, making it bitter. If you'd like a stronger coffee, use a bit more coffee grounds, don't brew longer. You'll just turn your coffee increasingly bitter if you do.
So there you have it. Avoid these little mistakes when using your French press and, as Howard Shutlz said, "you'll have the best coffee known to mankind."
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