I was having brunch with a girlfriend on Sunday at a cute little bistro in downtown Frederick, Md. If you’ve never been, Cafe Nola is a fabulous place to go for breakfast during the week and brunch on the weekends. I love supporting local small businesses, and Nola doesn’t disappoint – they have arguably the best coffee in Frederick, and they’re family-friendly. Visit Nola on a Saturday or Sunday around 11:00 a.m. and you’ll find a nice mix of families, twenty-something couples and single diners at the bar. It’s a great mix of people!
But this post isn’t about a plug for Cafe Nola and its greatness (although it is pretty great). It’s about something that stemmed from a conversation with my friend while drinking Nola’s amazing coffee the other day.
It’s about the fact that my friend is afraid of her French press coffee maker.
I’ve heard this before from friends and co-workers, “Yeah, I’ve had a coffee press for years, but I have no idea how to use it. In fact, it frightens me a bit.”
These same friends and co-workers have also admitted that their favorite type of coffee is the pressed variety. Smooth, silky, deep in flavor – there really is no match. So why do we use anything different?
Well, if you’re like me then it’s a time thing. I’m too cheap for a Keurig and all the single-serve K-Cups. But what I do have (actually it came to me for free from a Gevalia subscription years ago) is a programmable coffee maker with a reusable filter. I set that puppy up the night before, and it has the coffee brewed and ready to go for me at 5:30 a.m. every morning. It’s great! Except the coffee is mediocre, and only partially because I don’t buy expensive coffee.
The beauty of a French press is this, while it may take a little longer to brew – about 10 minutes total – it transforms regular inexpensive grinds into coffee worthy of a Parisian café. But, that 10 minutes can make or break you on a busy morning when you’re trying to get yourself and the kids ready for school. So most of us fall back into the comfort of our programmable coffee makers and simple K-Cup routines.
I wonder, however, if part of the reason the French press goes unused is that a lot of folks don’t understand the steps to brewing coffee with their French press.
- Fill the press up to the bottom of the metal ring with water.
- Pour the water into a tea kettle and set it to boil.
- Once the water boils, then let it sit for 2 minutes.
- Put 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds per 8oz of water into the bottom of the empty press (coarse grounds work best).
- Pour the hot water back into the press, and give a quick stir to get the grounds moving around.
- Place the lid on top of the press and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Gently press down on the plunger until it goes down as far as the grounds will allow.
- Pour and enjoy your beautifully brewed French press coffee!
Now you tell me – do you have a French press, and if so, are you afraid of it?