Troubleshooting French Press Espresso – I Want Espresso


This text is an enlargement of the troubleshooting desk contained in the French Press Coffee Tutorial. I’ve brewed plenty of espresso utilizing the French Press. Alongside the best way, I’ve developed a guidelines of steps to take to enhance the style. There are variables which can be straightforward to appropriate and a few that take a bit of effort.

Earlier than you begin tweaking, you will need to get the fundamentals appropriate. The steps listed under must be adopted in sequence. There isn’t a level in adjusting the grind in case your water high quality is poor.

#1 Water High quality

There are just a few articles on this website that cowl water high quality. I’ve a easy rule to measure water high quality. Drink the water by itself. Does it style good? If that’s the case, then that’s adequate. If the water doesn’t style proper by itself, then your espresso will in all probability find yourself tasting off as nicely. Search out a great water supply earlier than you begin to brew your espresso.

#2 Brewing Temperature

When brewing French Press espresso, you need the temperature to be simply off a boil. This equates to 195-205 F or 90.5-96.1 C. For lighter roasts intention to be nearer to 205 F. For darker roasts try for 195 F. Utilizing a kettle such because the Bonavita will allow you to dial within the actual temperature you want. Not solely is that good for espresso, however a necessity for some teas.

#3 Contemporary Espresso

Espresso is a perishable merchandise. Because it ages, it loses taste. How a lot taste loss is appropriate is as much as you. I used to solely drink espresso that was lower than 10 days outdated, however lately I’ve been shocked by some lighter roasted espresso that also tasted excellent weeks after roast.

A common rule is the darker the espresso is roasted, the shorter the window of freshness might be. A light-weight Scandinavian roast may keep flavorful for greater than 4 weeks, whereas a darkish French roast may start to go stale lower than 1 week after roast. See our article Hacking Dark Roast – Tips on Brewing a Better Bold Coffee for a extra detailed dialogue on this subject.

In case you don’t roast your own coffee, then search for a roasted date on the bag of espresso earlier than buying. Grocery shops are infamous for placing stale espresso in entrance of recent baggage. Simply dig deeper into the pile on the lookout for a brisker date. If a roaster doesn’t put a roasted date on the bag, I assume they’re hiding one thing and the espresso is stale. As you try and make an ideal cup of French Press espresso, you’ll need to get rid of as many variables as potential. Having a high-quality recent espresso to work with will will increase your odds of success.

#4 Grind Measurement

A French Press makes use of a coarser grind than drip espresso. If the grind is just too high-quality the espresso will style bitter. If the grind is just too coarse the espresso may style weak. In terms of grinding, a espresso drinker has two selections.

Have it floor on the time of buy utilizing a commercial-grade grinder or grind it your self. Having it floor on the roaster or grocery retailer will assure that the scale is ideal, nonetheless, the flavour compounds within the espresso will begin breaking down instantly. The result’s you’ll be buying and selling a bitter espresso for a stale espresso. In different phrases, ideally, you’ll need to get a grinder. After you have your individual grinder, it takes just a bit observe to dial within the excellent grind.

French Press Grind by US nickel
Coarse Coffee Grind is mostly used for French Press espresso. Some espresso drinkers will favor it a bit of finer, however this can be a good start line.

#5 Steep Time

The commonest steep time beneficial for French Press espresso is 4 minutes. I’ve talked with many espresso professionals and the vary they use varies from 3 to six minutes. After brewing hundreds of pots of press pot espresso, my beneficial time is 3 ½ minutes. For my part, the espresso tastes brighter and extra flavorful on the decrease finish.

I’ve discovered that the physique takes over the flavour the longer the steep time. I’m within the minority opinion on the subject so it will take your individual experimentation. One other opinion is to regulate steeping time primarily based on the precise espresso. If you wish to spotlight the brilliant flavors, do a 3 ½ minute steep. In case your purpose is to develop a richer physique, add an additional minute.

#6 Dosage

Getting the dosage appropriate is the final step. The explanation it’s the final step is that the opposite steps are likely to have extra fastened guidelines. Though there’s a beneficial dosage, the dosage might be a private selection. The debates over water high quality, espresso freshness, grind dimension, and brewing temperature are over. Steep time has a sliding window of +/- 60 seconds. So the one actual variable left is the dosage.

The explanation dosage could be difficult is that folks new to press pot espresso will typically understand the style as “too sturdy”. French press espresso is meant to style richer. If that richness comes off as being “too sturdy” then these new to press pot espresso could experiment with a decrease dosage after which over time step by step transfer the dosage according to customary suggestions. However you don’t need to go too low or the espresso will style bitter.

What’s the dose? Based on Bodum, the preferred producer of the French Press espresso maker, for every 4 oz. cup (1.25 deciliter), put 1 rounded tablespoon of coarse floor espresso into the pot. My recommendation is to begin with this dose after which regulate up or down.

One other dosage choice is to weigh the beans utilizing a kitchen scale. The widespread ratios used are coated within the French Press Coffee Tutorial.

coffee 17:1 brew ratio
The espresso dosage chart photograph was taken at Batdorf and Bronson in Olympia, WA.

#7 Gradual Press or Scrape For a Cleaner Cup of Espresso

There might be espresso sediment in a mug of French press espresso. When the primary model of this text was written, my solely recommendation was to ensure the filter had a cosy match after which keep away from consuming the final mouthful from every mug. Then I realized this trick from barista Christos Andrews (@christosandrews). Thirty seconds earlier than the steep ends start slowly urgent down the French Press plunger. It ought to transfer so sluggish that it takes a full 30 seconds until it hits the underside. This mild press methodology leads to a cleaner cup of espresso.

One other tip you need to use if you need a cleaner cup is to scrape some or the entire espresso grounds from the highest of the French Press earlier than urgent down. Utilizing a big spoon or two, take away the grounds on the highest. Then proceed to press the filter down. This does require extra work, however I’ve observed that the flavour of the espresso is brighter utilizing this methodology. The draw back is the scraping methodology may make the espresso style too clear or too weak.

I favor the sluggish press method over the scraping methodology, however you might use each.

#8 Time to Purchase a New French Press?

You probably have tried all of the steps above and your espresso nonetheless doesn’t style adequate, it’s potential that the filter is not becoming tight sufficient on the French Press. The filter can turn out to be unfastened and even bent. If it’s time to exchange your French Press, take a look at our information Buying a French Press – Picking the Right One.

#9 Time to Attempt One other Brewing Technique?

In spite of everything these steps chances are you’ll uncover that you simply simply don’t just like the style of French Press espresso. In case you just like the richness however would love one thing cleaner, look into the Clever Coffee Dripper or the Bonavita Immersion Coffee Dripper.

Clever Coffee - Add Coffee

Intelligent Espresso Dripper

Final Phrases

It’s possible you’ll discover you want sure kinds of espresso in a French Press greater than others. Experiment. Personally, I don’t like something darkish roasted in a French Press. I believe brighter coffees from East Africa or Central America excel within the press pot.

Good luck along with your French Press brewing.


Buying a French Press – Picking the Right One – A information that will help you resolve which French Press espresso brewer is greatest for you.

French Press Coffee Tutorial – INeedCoffee brewing tutorial.

Making Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press – You can too make chilly brew espresso utilizing your French Press.

Keeping Your French Press Clean – Methods to get your French Press tremendous clear.

Picture by Karl Chor

Michael Allen Smith
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