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Buying a French Press

What Is a French Press Coffee Maker?

If your coffee routine consists of using a regular drip coffee maker, you might be wondering what is a French press coffee maker? A French press is a cylindrical glass, plastic or stainless steel container with a built-in filter and a plunger that presses hot water through ground coffee. The name comes from its immediate popularity in France. If you ask someone who uses a French press how its popularity grew globally, they might tell you this easy-to-use brewing process makes the purest, most aromatic and flavorful cup of coffee you’ve ever had.

In addition to being easy-to-use, a French press also has several other benefits, including portability and not requiring electricity, so it can be used pretty much anywhere. Plus, it's generally less expensive than other styles of coffee brewers, and you can customize each cup to your individual tastes by being able to select the type of coffee beans, water temperature and steeping time. Also, using freshly ground coffee generally leads to the best results, so if you don’t have a coffee grinder, it can be a great addition to your morning routine. If you're using one, a medium coarse grind usually leads to the best results. If you grind beans too fine, it can result in a bitterness, and if they're too coarse, it can result in weak coffee. Lastly, being a single-serve coffee maker, a French press makes having a travel coffee mug very handy, so you can take your hot and delicious java on the go.

How to Use a French Press: Tips

Now that you know what a French press is and how it works, you might be wondering how it delivers such a rich, full-flavored cup of coffee. First, the ground beans get steeped in hot water and then plunger pressure completely saturates grounds by pushing them to the bottom of the pot. This allows the natural oils found in coffee to pass through, capturing the concentrated flavors that can be lost with more traditional coffee makers.

If you want to know how to French press like a pro, it’s important to test different grounds to water ratios to figure out what formula makes the best java suited to your tastes. Also, use quality water, but not distilled water because the minerals in non-distilled water help to bring out the flavor. You’ll also want to figure out the right water temperature to begin, and this is where an electric tea kettle can help. Tea kettles heat up water quickly and inform you of the water's temperature.

Generally, grounds are steeped between three to five minutes. You also want to make sure to pour any leftover coffee into a separate container because after pressing, the coffee may get over-extracted and bitter. Finally, if you like specialty drinks, consider getting a milk frother, which can provide the finishing touch to lattes, cappuccinos and more.