Fact: I LOVE my Bodum. French press coffee makes me all giddy and I love brewing it up for the same reasons I love brewing up a pot of tea. It's all in the ritual. Choosing my favourite bean, trying new blends, grinding in my favourite grinder, pouring, stirring, smelling, sipping.
There are lots of different methods to follow when it comes to using your French press, so today, I'd like to share my a bit about my French pressing habits. Enjoy!
First, I like to start with whole beans, as fresh as possible. These particular ones happen to be from Starbucks, but I often like to buy them downtown from the roaster I used to work for.
I grind the beans as my water boils on the stove. For a French press, you generally want a coarse grind, but I like mine a wee bit finer. It's all visual for me. This grinder is a bit of a prized possession, actually... it's on its way out though. Nearly broken and try as I might, I can't find an identical replacement, so I treat her with care. (Seriously. If you ever spy a yellow Philips grinder online or at a thrift store, please let me know!) When I'm grinding, I don't actually measure my beans. I just know how full the grinder ought to be for one full Bodum. However, I measured it out today, and for my size press (an 8-cup, 32oz. Bodum) I used about 8-9 tablespoons, or about 2/3 cup beans (before grinding).
Once I have my grinds the way I like them, they go into the French press with a tiny pinch of salt. Around the holidays, I sometimes add nutmeg & cinnamon for a fun kick.
Next, I pour the water in a circular motion to soak all of the grinds, then stop once the carafe is about 1/3 full. Then I grab my trust wooden chopstick and stir til the coffee "blooms". You want to see the colour change a bit, as the ground start to steep and magic starts to happen. Once your coffee "blooms", fill your press to the top, pop the lid (press) on top, then set a timer for four minutes. At the end of four minutes, you're free to get pressing.
My trick? Place your hand on top of the press and allow the weight of your hand to do the pressing. You don't want to shove it. If it so happens that your grind is too fine, your press may be a bit tougher to get down as the grind block the flow. To rectify this, simple reverse your press to halt the blockage, then continue pressing. Never SHOVE your press down. This can end in a mess of boiling water and coffee all over you. Messy & ouch.
Once your coffee has been pressed, you're ready to savour & enjoy. Find your favourite cozy mug, pour away & add your accoutrements if so desired. I like a dollop of cream and a bit of organic sugar. Or sometimes Bailey's, if I'm feeling festive.
And that's that, mes amis. Time to sit back & enjoy your cuppa. Don't forget to pour the rest of your brew into a thermos or carafe of some description to keep it piping hot til you're ready for mug no. 2 and beyond.