This step by step guide runs you through how to use a cafetiere. Everything you need to know from coffee selection to cleaning when finished will be covered. Now enjoy that coffee!
Here are the steps we will walk through in using a cafetière:
- Gather Your Materials
- Heat Your Water
- Grind And Then Measure Your Coffee
- Warm The Cafetiere
- Add The Ground Coffee And Water (And Stir)
- Let The Coffee Brew
- Press, Pour And Enjoy
- Cleaning The Cafetiere
Using a cafetiere, also known as a French press, can be intimidating if you do it for the first time. The amounts of water and coffee you need, the fineness of your grounds, and the time required to brew are likely different from using a coffee percolator or a draining filter. But how exactly do you use a cafetiere? This article will serve as a step-by-step guide to using a French press so that you can get the best cup of coffee out of your cafetiere.
Step One – Gather Your Materials
Here are the materials you need:
- A kettle full of tap (or perhaps filtered) water, or other filled water-boiling devices,
- An empty cafetiere, consisting of a beaker, a lid, and a plunger with a wire or mesh filter (that fits snugly in the beaker),
- Whole roasted coffee beans of your favorite coffee (perhaps French, Brazilian, or Costa Rican coffee),
- Weighing scales, or a tablespoon, or coffee scoop measure,
- A coffee grinder,
- A liquid measuring cup,
- A spoon,
- A coffee cup (preferred) or mug, and
- A timer.
Ensure all your materials are clean before you use them – besides being healthy and safe, clean materials will get your coffee as close to its original flavor as possible.
Step Two – Heat Your Water
Start your kettle or boiling device and bring the water inside to a boil. The first water that comes out of the kettle piping hot will heat the cafetiere (see Step Four).
The rest of the water will be used to make coffee. It is important to get this water — the water intended for the coffee — to a temperature of 90 to 95 degrees Celsius (194 to 203 Fahrenheit).
Overheated water will cause the coffee grounds to lose aroma or become sour or bitter. Fortunately, by the time you pour the water for the actual coffee, it will have cooled to the correct temperature.
Step Three – Grind And Then Measure Your Coffee
While you wait for the water to boil, get your coffee grinder ready. Grind your whole beans to the size of coarse salt (like Kosher salt), about 3 to 4 millimeters in diameter.
Grinding your beans too finely will cause the grounds to over-extract during brewing, making the coffee bitter.
Depending on how many cups of coffee you intend to make, you will need different ground coffee and water measurements. If you are unsure about how much water or coffee to use, consider the following:
- If you are making one coffee cup full, use 15 grams of ground coffee and 250 milliliters of water.
- If you are making two cups of coffee, use 30 grams of ground coffee and 500 milliliters of water.
- If you are making three cups of coffee, use 45 grams of ground coffee and 750 milliliters of water.
This measurement requirement is where your tablespoon, coffee scoop, or weighing scale comes in handy. Remember, a tablespoon holds about 5 grams of ground coffee, and a coffee scoop holds approximately 7 grams.
Keep the liquid measure on hand to get the right amount of water as well.
Step Four- Warm The Cafetiere
- Once the water in the kettle has boiled, open the cafetiere and pour the hot water inside.
- Put the lid on the cafetiere, with the plunger in the raised position.
- After one minute, remove the lid from the cafetiere and drain the water out.
- Wipe the cafetiere dry, if necessary.
This pre-warming is to keep the brewing process even and the contents warmer longer. If your cafetiere is cold, the coffee may not extract optimally.
Step Five – Add The Ground Coffee And Water (And Stir)
Add the amount of ground coffee you need to the empty, but heated, cafetiere.
Then get your liquid measuring cup. From the kettle, pour out the amount of water you need into the cup.
Then pour the amount of water you measure, slowly, out of the measuring cup and into the cafetiere. Pour steadily from a low height so the coffee isn’t agitated (this can affect the flavor). Pour to about one centimeter below the plunger’s filter in the raised position.
Stir the mixture gently with a spoon.
Step Six – Let The Coffee Brew
Once the mixture has been stirred once or twice, put the top on the cafetiere with the plunger in the raised position. Using a timer, let the coffee steep for four minutes.
Step Seven – Press, Pour, And Enjoy
After four minutes:
- Press down on the plunger slowly but evenly.
- Use a decent amount of pressure to filter the coffee.
- Don’t press too slowly.
You want the filter to be acting effective and even.
Leaving the plunger pressed down, immediately pour the coffee into your coffee cup. Your coffee is now ready and should be enjoyed as soon as possible.
Excess liquid coffee should be transferred to a carafe or other insulated, stand-alone container.
Step Eight – Cleaning The Cafetiere
The cafetiere should be cleaned after every time you use it and should be deep-cleaned about once a week.
For daily cleans:
- Let the cafetiere cool entirely first.
- Pull up the plunger and use your hands or a rubber scraper to remove the coffee grounds.
- Dispose of the coffee grounds into the trash or compost.
- Then, pour a water-and-dish soap mixture into the cafetiere and gently move the plunger up and down to clean the cafetiere’s interior.
- Pour the soap and water mixture out and pour in clean water.
- Do the same with the plunger until the rinse is finished.
- Pour out this water and let the cafetiere dry.
For weekly cleans:
- After the daily cleaning process, disassemble the cafetiere and plunger.
- Use a small brush or sponge to clean the plunger components with a baking soda and water mixture.
- Rinse them and dry.
- Do the same with the cafetiere’s interior, but this time use a vinegar and water mixture.
- Rinse and dry.
- Your cafetiere is now clean and ready to use again.
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