Latest Posts

  1. Choosing a Pour Over Brewer

    Choosing a Pour Over Brewer

    Three questions you should ask yourself.

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  2. Aeropress Plunger Cleaning

    Aeropress Plunger Cleaning

    If your Aeropress plunger is excreting some sticky stuff. Don't worry, it's harmless but you probably still want to know how to clean it off, right?

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  3. Video: Metal Aeropress Filters

    Video: Metal Aeropress Filters

    Have fun pushing coffee through these metal Aeropress filters.

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  4. Moka Pot Brewing (Stovetop Espresso)

    Moka Pot Brewing (Stovetop Espresso)

    These are some basic instructions that you will, undoubtedly, adapt and refine to suit your purposes...

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  5. Espresso: Choosing the Right Coffee for Espresso

    Espresso: Choosing the Right Coffee for Espresso

    Usually, an espresso blend must be blended for balance, or particular varietal qualities that would be favorable in a drip coffee might overwhelm the espresso extract.

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  6. Espresso: The Grind

    Espresso: The Grind

    It's often said that a good grinder is the most important piece of equipment for making espresso, and I tend to agree.

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  7. Espresso: Almighty Crema

    Espresso: Almighty Crema

    The presence of crema, the foam on your espresso, means you are in the ballpark ...

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  8. Cona Vacuum Brewing Instructions from Sweet Maria's!

    Cona Vacuum Brewing Instructions from Sweet Maria's!

    Cona brewing is a wonderful visual experience that just happens to result in perfect coffee.

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  9. Chemex Brewing Instructions from Sweet Maria's

    Chemex Brewing Instructions from Sweet Maria's

    The Chemex Coffee Making System was developed by a chemist to achieve one result: brew a perfect cup of coffee every time.

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  10. Ibrik Brewing Instructions from Sweet Maria's!

    Ibrik Brewing Instructions from Sweet Maria's!

    These are intended as a "starting point" for Ibrik brewing - ultimately you will figure out the best and most convenient ways to use these brewing devices, so please remake, twist, turn, distort, decompile, torch, grind and brew these instructions to suit your own needs!.

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  11. Bodum Santos Brewing Instructions

    Bodum Santos Brewing Instructions

    Here are Bodum's instructions for using the Santos.

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  12. Clever Cleaning

    Clever Cleaning

    Here are a few ways to give your Clever Coffee Dripper the proper care it deserves

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A French Press Moment

A French Press Moment

Who would have imagined five years ago that a coffee wonk who announced proudly "I make coffee in a French Press!" (or perhaps even more so, a "Cafetiere" or "Melior") would be so unfashionable these days. With SF coffeehouses all switching en masse from French Press brewing to pour-over techniques, who would think the method you use for making a good cup of coffee would be so trendy? Maybe next  you will need to consider whether your apparel matches your brewer.

I have always had some reservations about the french press; namely, it can be tough to get the right grind to avoid the gritty "fines" in the cup, and the long steep times generally means you see a steep temperature drop while brewing. The fact that cafes would brew in French Press and then dump into a big commercial Pump Pot (that draws coffee from the bottom, where the sediment accumulates) always seemed ill-conceived.

But the fact is, French Press didn't suddenly become a bad way to brew coffee, and it's still the method that guarantees "full immersion," a complete 4 minutes, or 6 minutes, or whatever, of coffee soaking in water. The problem there is temperature drop; you don't get full flavor extraction if the brew is too cool.  You can pre-heat your press with hot water as a small measure. You can wrap the press in a towel. A few even come with a jacket. Better yet, you can use an insulated French press. These come in both all stainless, which are beautiful and unbreakable, but you can't see the brew. You can also opt for a glass double-wall French press, more spendy than the single wall, and definitely breakable, but it turns out great results but I wouldn't count on either of these to keep your coffee hot. If you like coffee hot, I say, drink fast.

I think the best results in a press can be with longer steep times and slightly coarser grinds. It takes some experimentation, but I have achieved the best extraction levels at 6 minutes in an insulated press. To deal with fines and avoid grit in the cup, I plunge slowly, then wait an additional 3 minutes and pour cups slowly and gently. That extra 3 minute wait allows particles suspended in the brew to settle out. The bottom third of the press is going to always be a little nasty. Just make sure the person who creams their coffee gets it.