Thursday, April 19, 2012

Using The French Press

French Press or French Pot. Simple as they look, it actually requires a whole understanding to use this to prepare a good (or near perfect) cup of brew coffee. My introduction to coffee was using this press or pot (depending how you want to call it). I have cycled through a few French Press and nothing come close to the one i am using now - a Bodum 0.45liter or 15oz travel press.
Taken from Bodum website here. I bought mine during a Credit Card road show where we exchanged points for this
Since I have not started or progresses to grinding my own coffee bean as there is no good burr-grinder available in the market as Malaysians typically buy their coffee ready made. Most would visit kopitiam or the more upscale cafe to get their fix - totally forgetting how to make a decent cup of coffee. Some luckier with coffee making facility in the office has the luxury of readily bought coffee machine that gives out predictable results each time - but i can bet you they will then load the coffee with condensed milk, evaporated milk and sugar. That is assuming that direct access to canned cream and chocolate chips are not readily available. Once i manage to purchase a good conical burr grinder (that will give out uniform sized coffee grains), i will blog about it. Blade grinder (or food processor) is not an option as the heat generated by the grinding will make the coffee loses it's flavor. Furthermore, using a blade grinder will not give you a consistent grain of coffee, which is essential when using a French Press.
Reason for the Bodum French Press is because of the filter sealing and also the fine mesh, that ensure you get a deep (i.e. a cup of coffee with no or minimal sludge).
Good for two shots of espresso or two cups of coffee
Back to making coffee using the French Press, you start by ensuring the pot is clean and preheated with some hot water.
Leave the hot water in the pot for about a minute and then dispose off the hot water.
You next scoop up 10grams of coffee powder for each person. As this press allows up to two cups of coffee to be made, put in 20grams or about 2 full scoop of powder (if you are using the Bodum measuring spoon)
Gloria Jean's Coffees Smooth Classic Blend, Medium Roast. 100% Coffee. 
As a level spoon is about 7grams, place in a heapful to make up the 10grams.
Make sure that the water you want to use is not 100degrees celcius (C). Acceptable temperature ranges from 85-95degrees C. This is so as not to "cook" the coffee powder. You want to extract the flavor, not cook them.
Fill up the pot to approximately 3/4 full, as you will need space for the coffee to "breathe" and for the plunger to move down without spilling the content, of shooting the content out. Getting scaled by hot coffee is definitely NOT part of the experience of drinking coffee.
One thing you will notice immediately when you put in the water is that bubbles will start forming. This is called "bloom". Typical characteristic of pure coffee when you brew them. It is actually releases of carbon dioxide when the hot water reacts with the coffee beans. Freshly roasted coffee (less than 5 days old) will create more bloom and will usually (reportedly) causes the mixture to spill if you are not too careful. Since i am using bagged grounded coffee, this will not be an issue.
Next, take a chopstick and stir the mixture. A smooth layer of "bloom" will appear. Take a deep breathe and take in the heavenly coffee smell that you will be drinking now. 

Nice Bloom...
Close the French Press/Pot lid but do not push the plunger in yet. Let the coffee steep for between 2 minutes (if you are making only a cup) and up to 4 minutes if you are making for two person. Once the coffee steep long enough, slowly and with even pressure, press the plunger down. This way, you will almost prevent any stray coffee powder from going above the filtering media. The coffee is now ready to be served.
Yes, we have two of these Bodum Travel Press and Mug
Black Liquid Gold
As you can see, there is a drop in volume, slightly due to some mixture being trapped by the filtering media. As we decided on a cup of latte, we add in full cream milk.
And with the milk, temperature goes from 90's to 60's - perfect temperature for a cup of latte
And with the different cap/attachment, these Bodum Travel Press converts into Travel Mug for that essential morning drive to work - and to distract you from killing the driver that just cut in front of your lane...
...Or you can alternatively offer them coffee so they too, will come to their senses to drive safely, and tell them to "have a nice day!"
Hope you enjoyed this post on using French Press! 
More reviews on Coffee coming up!


  1. Hey Stupe,

    Nice post bout coffee. Just a ques, the milk is at room temp?


  2. Cath - good question. Best is milk is at 65decgC (can use a heater) or room temperature also can. :)

    Warming milk will bring out the natural sugar in them, which in return, make the whole experience, richer.