French Press

Since not working in coffee I’ve resorted back to using the good old fashioned french press.  So simple, so basic and yet I have to make it as a complicated a task possible for the sake of complication.  I guess it all started when I saw James Hoffmann’s French Press Technique video that I started to play around with different ways of brewing with a french press. 

At first when I saw the video, with the weighting of the water and the clean afterwards, I thought that this was about as dorky it was going to get.  But then it dawned on me how by simply weighting the water you manage to control another parameter in the brewing process.  All those hours spent wondering why last cup tasted so good and the next not so good.  The whole clean off bit I figured was about mouth feel and getting rid of gritty bits of coffee but I soon became aware that wasn’t entirely the case.  With the clean off, certain subtleties in the coffees seemed to be that much more pronounced and it made for an overall more floral and nuanced cup. 

Life was good.  The new french press brewing style meant another way to enjoy the same cup of coffee  differently and it was cool to find some coffees tasting better skimmed and others whole.  Then one day I was at Cafe Crema on the North Shore and was talking to I think Chris.  He mentioned that they brewed their coffee for 3 minutes not 4.  I had read other people brewing at 3 minutes before but I just couldn’t get my head around the idea.  He went on saying that they used 21g of coffee too.  This intrigued me and the wheels started turning; less coffee meant more surface to water ratio but with less time over-extraction wasn’t a factor.  Eureka!

I’ve been playing around with different doses and times for the last couple months now.  28 to 4 min, 25 to 3.5 min and 21 to 3 min are my staples.  Sometimes I skim, sometimes I don’t.  It’s amazing the taste variations that occur with the different types of brewing methods.  Just when I thought that Kenyan coffee from Moja I was drinking wasn’t overly subtle, I found that it was a completely different coffee when I didn’t skim it, meanwhile that Flecha Roja, Costa Rica was bang on at 21g, skimmed.

It’s late and I should post this under written diarrhea.  I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and drink coffee.


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