Are there any coffee lovers here? I’m sure I’m not the only one with a taste for this stuff. Well, we got rid of our automatic coffee maker and lived to tell the tale.
First, a short story.
About 8 months ago, I dragged myself out of my comfortable bed one early morning. Staggered over to the automatic drip coffee maker. Added water to the reservoir. Measured coffee grounds. Dumped the coffee grounds into the…. water reservoir. Not the coffee grounds basket. Oops. In my early morning daze, I KILLED my coffee pot. After trying unsuccessfully to unclog the water line for half an hour, I ‘fessed up to my husband, Ben. Later that day, we found ourselves shopping for a new coffee pot.
While walking through the aisles of a local store, we debated the merits of different coffee makers. After a few minutes, we both noticed a humble, small box on the top shelf. It was a French coffee press. Aaaand we bought it. We’d both heard that it produced superior coffee (and we love coffee!). Thus began our love affair with a simple French press.
If you aren’t familiar with a French press, it’s basically a glass cylinder with a handle and a strainer/plunger. That’s it. It’s funny to me now that I was so intimidated by it! In fact, I let Ben make coffee that entire first week because I was afraid to mess it up. Then I realized just how easy it really was:
Step 1: Heat water. We keep a whistling kettle on our stove and fill it every morning. Easy peasy.
Step 2: Measure 1/4 – 1/3 cup of coffee grounds and pour into the bottom of the press. It depends on how strong you like your coffee… we just experimented until we found what we liked. (Note: we have an 8 cup press.)
Step 3: Pour boiling/very hot water over the grounds until the water level is about one inch below the top edge of the press. You’ll have a gritty, soupy mess. The directions on the package say to stir the grounds and water, but I haven’t found this to be necessary.
Step 4: Wait about 3-4 minutes (again, you’ll want to experiment here to find out exactly what works for you. Get stronger coffee by letting it steep longer.).
Step 5: Push the plunger on the lid down all the way to the bottom of the press. This pushes all the coffee grounds to the bottom and allows you to filter out the coffee as you pour it into you cup. Notice the natural oils of the coffee floating around on top? It gives it such a rich, delicious taste. I wouldn’t have believed it till I tried it, folks.
A few notes:
We buy coffee in bulk at our local health food store. If you haven’t tried Kickapoo Coffee yet, you should. I never thought I was a coffee snob until I tried this stuff, and it really is amazingly better than most (if not all) of the other stuff you can buy in the grocery store. Plus, it’s roasted in nearby Viroqua, Wisconsin. You can even visit their business during the public coffee tastings once a month. We buy a pound of decaf and a pound of regular… then mix them together to make our own version of half-caffeine coffee. It’s also helpful to grind your own beans at the store – we choose a coarse grind that is better suited for a French press. The grinder machine should have helpful little illustrations that lets you know how to adjust the coarseness.
Using a French press is a very “green” way to make coffee. It has less disposable products than a traditional drip coffee maker since there are no coffee filters or little disposable cups to throw away. It uses less energy because it’s not drawing energy for hours as it keeps your pot warm (or powers a clock.) Instead, we use energy only for about 4 minutes while we heat our water. Lastly, used coffee grounds are a great source of nitrogen for your garden or compost pile.
Well, there you have it. What do you think of using a French press? Have you tried it before? Are you curious now?