My French Press Review So You Can Make Great Coffee
Well, I bought a French Press. Woohoo! I’m now a fancy coffee maker and drinker!!! My husband will be delighted and properly caffeinated.
Here are the things I needed to get started:
- Hand crank coffee grinder
- I watched a lot of reviews on grinders and I wasn’t willing to spend a few hundred without having much experience, so I thought a hand grinder would be a great starter option, and I can just keep it for travelling later on.
- Check out my post on how to chose a grinder here.
- French Press
- If you don’t know how to chose a French Press, check out this post on how make an educated buying decision when you buy a French Press. After doing some research, I chose this one. The quality, filtration system, and casing looked good given the price point.
- Kicking Horse Medium Roast, whole bean, free trade coffee
- My maxwell house pre-ground coffee isn’t going to cut it if I’m going to make amazing coffee, so I had to find some good coffee. I learned about the different types of roasts and beans so I could pick a good coffee. This brand is roasted in Canada, I’m Canadian and it is free trade, so I thought I would give it a go.
- Learn about light vs dark roast (and everything in between) here
- A Kettle (if you already have one, you can skip this step, but since temperature is important, I needed one)
- I currently have a cuisinart keurig coffee maker, I tested the temperature and it doesn’t get nearly hot enough. The kettle I bought will work well and get hot enough.
Here are the items I bought for this coffee experiment:
Zingy Hand Held Coffee Grinder
This grinder is easy to hold, small and portable and has a nice window so you can see the grinds going into the catch tray.
This particular grinder seems to come in lots of different brands. I’ve seen it called different brands in many videos, but it looks like the exact same one. This one has a nice hand grip and travel bag, so I was sold.
It was easy to use, just put the beans in the top, put the lid back on and start cranking away. You can adjust how find your grind is easily by turning the nob inside the grinder (this is all described in the instructions in case you forget).
The only downside is that it takes quite a while to get enough grinds to do an entire pot. Eventually, I will get an electric grinder, but for now, this one will do just fine. It’s a great beginner burr grinder.
I chose the this French Press because, from my research, most French Presses in this price point are pretty similar.
I wasn’t going to spend a ton of money to get a fancy brand name when I could get this French Press for a decent price and test out if I like it, and if it does make the best coffee around.
Now that my coffee beans are ground, I started the process of using the French Press for the very first time. It was surprisingly simple. I followed the instructions in the video below that I found while researching how to use a French Press.
It was fairly simple and actually didn’t take that long to do.
Steps to Use a French Press
- Fill the kettle and heat up some water. After the kettle shut itself off, I waited about 30 seconds to pour the water in with my coffee grounds.
- Pour some hot water into the French Press to heat it up (no coffee involved yet). This helps keep the coffee warm later.
- My French Press doesn’t have any measuring notches on it, so I figured out how many cups it would hold. The instructions said it would take 2 tablespoons for each 6 ounces of water. I could already tell this would be too strong for me, so I made some adjustments. My French Press holds about 4 cups of coffee, so I put 6 tablespoons. That should be enough for 3, but for me it was just about right for 4 cups of coffee.
- I put about 6 ounces of water in the bottom and stirred the water and the grounds together. I let that sit for 30 seconds with the lid on to hold the heat in.
- After the 30 seconds, I filled the rest of the French Press with hot water and let it sit for 3 minutes. The video above said 3.5 minutes, but I know I like weaker coffee, so I went with 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, I pushed the plunger down slowly and poured my first ever cup of French Press coffee.
At first I was disappointed in the smell because it was incredibly strong. I’m used to the beautiful smell of fresh brewed coffee that fills the air, but this smelled quite bitter. I usually put some milk in my coffee, but I wanted to make sure I liked the coffee black before I changed the flavors.
I waited for it to cool a bit and took my first sip. I was VERY HAPPY with the results. I usually hate black coffee, and this was pretty good. I can tell I am well on my way to making a great cup of coffee.
The thing it was missing is a bit of milk, so I did a bit of research and found out you can make some frothed milk at home with your French Press.
I watched several videos on frothing milk at home. This one by Cafe Britt is straight to the point.
I found that frothing the milk while it was cold then heating it up made it much frothier.
3 steps to frothing your own milk at home
- Pour cold milk into the french press. You only need a bit, 6oz or so (I used 1%, but I think 2% or whole milk would taste better).
- Plunge up and down for about a minute or until you see the consistency that you want. This doesn’t take long.
- Pour milk into a microwave safe cup or container. Heat for 30 seconds at first. I ended up heating for 30 seconds, then another 20 seconds. This will depend on your microwave.
This made a big difference in how smooth and delicious the coffee was. My husband was very pleased with his cup of coffee. I enjoyed it as well. I don’t think I will be able to have a regular cup of coffee without being a snob anymore.
Kris is a freelance writer, blogger, and virtual assistant that lives in the Great White North, eh!? She loves kayaking, coffee, and her two poorly behaved little dogs.