A French press is a handy device for making coffee. French presses come in various sizes. They are also available as travel mugs, which are portable and easy to use. Some are thermos flasks that also provide the function of keeping the fresh brew hot. A typical French press contains a glass beaker reinforced with metal (usually stainless steel) and a plunger. French presses use relatively fine coffee grounds, and it is easy to master the basics of using them. Such coffee makers are available in most high street home and kitchen stores, while eBay sellers also offer a variety of deals on different kinds of coffee makers.
Coffee beans for making coffee are available with different ground levels. Obviously, unground whole coffee beans, which are suitable for professional coffee machines that grind them in the brewing process, are not suitable for a French press. Coarsely ground coffee does not dissolve very well, either. However, the grounds used for a French press should not be as fine as the ones for coffee filters. If the grounds are too fine, they may leak through the press-down filter and float in the coffee. It is also possible to grind the coffee beans at home to the desired level. The best device for this task is a proper burr mill rather than a whirling blade grinder because the former creates more even grounds.
If using whole beans and grinding them at home, it is advisable to first boil the water before grinding the coffee beans. This allows the water to cool down to a proper temperature to avoid scalding the coffee. It is best to use filtered water for better taste. While the water is heating, it is time to prepare the press by removing the lid and filter assembly from the beaker and pulling the plunger straight up.
Once the water has boiled, it takes only a few seconds to prepare the coffee grounds with a grinder. Special ready-made varieties are also available. For half a litre of water, about 25 g of grounds is enough. However, the exact amount of grounds is a matter of taste, and depends on how strong one desires the coffee to be. On average, one heaping tablespoon of coffee for one small cup (about 150 ml) is about right.
The hot water needs careful handling in order not to burn the coffee. Gentle stirring is helpful, as most of the coffee may float on top of the water otherwise. The stirring helps the grounds to sink to the bottom.
Next, the plunger goes into its place, a few centimetres into the coffee. It stays up for a maximum of about four minutes, in the case of a large pot, or for two to three minutes if the pot is small. The longer it steeps, the stronger the coffee. While waiting for the coffee to brew, it is advisable to warm the coffee cup with some hot tap water. Once the coffee has brewed, it is time to press down the plunger with slow and steady pressure. The plunger rod needs to stay upright and there should only be a small amount of resistance. Once the plunger is down, the coffee should continue to steep for half a minute before pouring.
During the pouring, it is best to hold the lid in order to prevent scalding liquid from dripping out. For serving, the lid stays in place. For pouring, French presses have a special pour spout.
A French press is also great for brewing cups of loose leaf tea. However, if the French press is usually full of coffee, it may retain a certain distinctive taste and that affects the tea's flavour. It is important to note that tea continues to steep once the plunger is in the down position, which can result in a bitter cup of tea.
eBay has many top-rated sellers who offer a wide range of French presses for making coffee or loose leaf tea. You can start your search for a French press with the search box. Typing in the general keywords "French press" is likely to yield the most results, but if you have very specific wishes, you can perform a more detailed search. For instance, you can look for a French press that you can take on a hike and that has thermal capabilities. With a French press, you can prepare your coffee quickly if you use beans that are ground to a suitable degree. Simply boil the water, add the coffee, and mix these together in the French press. Then press the plunger down after the coffee has steeped for a few minutes.