Latest Posts

  1. The Return of Ethiopiques

    The Return of Ethiopiques

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  2. A Pair of Ethiopias, Cold Brewed with a Bruer.

    A Pair of Ethiopias, Cold Brewed with a Bruer.

    Cold brew coffee can have more tastes than just caramel and chocolate.

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  3. Video: Coffee Leaf Tea - ቁጢ , Kuti, Keti, Koti

    Video: Coffee Leaf Tea - ቁጢ , Kuti, Keti, Koti

    Brewing coffee leaf tea

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  4. All About Coffee Brewing

    All About Coffee Brewing

    Sign up for our coffee brewing crash course

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  5. Behmor Roast Profile: Ethiopiques 2.0

    Behmor Roast Profile: Ethiopiques 2.0

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  6. Espresso Basics & More

    Espresso Basics & More

    Sign up for our espresso basics class

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  7. All About The Clever Coffee Dripper

    All About The Clever Coffee Dripper

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  8. Choosing a Pour Over Brewer

    Choosing a Pour Over Brewer

    Three questions you should ask yourself.

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  9. 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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  10. Video: Metal Aeropress Filters

    Video: Metal Aeropress Filters

    Have fun pushing coffee through these metal Aeropress filters.

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  11. 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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  12. 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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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.
--
-Tom

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