How to use a cafetière

If there’s one bit of coffee kit found in nearly every home, it’s the trusty French Press.

Brewing methods don’t get much simpler than this. It’s a big brewing chamber (made of glass, stainless steel or sometimes ceramic), a handle, and a plunger. It’s an immersion brew, meaning that you’re putting the coffee and water in the same vessel, and letting it all hang out. No technical skills needed at all!

In a world full of tech, with new coffee gadgets released seemingly every day, something that has stood the test of time like this must be pretty great. In our roastery, we find ourselves reaching for the cafetière more than any other brewer. We’re going to share with you our go-to recipe to get the most out of yours.

You will need:

  • Freshly roasted coffee
  • Good brewing water
  • Kettle
  • Set of digital scales
  • A timer
  • Burr grinder
  • Two dessert spoons
  • A little bit of patience…

The next thing to consider is the recipe. Recipes are crucial to creating great coffee – not only do they allow you to get the optimum extraction from your brew, but they also allow you to replicate it! We work to a 1:16 ratio – for every 1g of coffee you use, you’ll need 16g of water (for example, 50g of coffee to 800g water).

In terms of the best coffee to use for a cafetière, there’s no set answer! Use whatever you enjoy the most – it’s a versatile brewer that will give great results for any coffee.

The recipe:

  • Take 50g of coffee, and pop it in your grinder, aiming for a medium/coarse consistency. If you don’t have a grinder, make sure you use freshly roasted coffee!
  • Add your cafetière to your scales along with your coffee, and tare (set to 0).
  • Start pouring your water (just off the boil is fine). Briefly remove the cafetière from the scales, to swirl it around and make sure all the grounds are saturated.
  • Return the cafetière to the scales, and fill up until the scales read 800g.
  • Set a timer for 4 minutes, and wait. At this point, a crust will form at the top of the coffee.
  • After 4 minutes, push away the crust with a spoon, and watch it sink to the bottom. Using both spoons at once, scoop away the remaining bubbly layer. This will remove excess bitter compounds, and give you a cleaner-tasting brew.
  • Set a timer for 6 minutes, and let any sediment sink to the bottom of the cafetière. The longer you leave it, the cleaner it’ll be.
  • Here’s the crazy bit – you don’t need the plunger! The coffee is now nice and clear, and if you pour slowly enough, you won’t get any sediment in your cup. If you were to plunge at this point, you’d send the coffee grounds back up into the water, and extract more from the coffee. Not using the plunger avoids creating unwanted bitterness (and saves on the washing up)!

As for how to clean the cafetière, you’ve just got the main chamber to think about! Simply rinse out with hot soapy water (or the dishwasher, if the manufacturer recommends). Remember, the coffee grounds left over don’t have to go to waste – consider using them in your garden!

That’s all there is to it – a simple brewer made even simpler. Welcome, to the French Press Revolution…

Happy brewing!

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