Posts Tagged ‘melitta style’

Really Good Coffee: How to Make Good Coffee with a French Press…

Really Good Coffee:  Video Making Good Coffee Using a French Press.

Really Good Coffee is always looking for ways to make good coffee and as far as flavor goes, the French press is one of the best lo-tech ways to do that.  The video here is one from YouTube and it’s a very good video. We’ll make our own in the near future.  A discussion about french press coffee follows the video.

French press is a great way to prepare a single varietal coffee because it highlights the flavors so well. As an example if you love to drink Columbian Supremo, the French press tastes excellent when you grind it course and let it brew for 4 minutes in the press. In fact, that is my very favorite way to drink Columbian Supremo – in terms of flavor. Although, you can use any type of varietal or blend you prefer in a French Press.

Most hot water brewing methods expose the bean to the water for less than a minute.

Bodum french press

Bodum French Press

Most traditional brewing methods use heat and gravity – exposing the coffee bean to water for considerably less time than the French Press method. In a melitta style pour through and most traditional coffee machines, the coffee grounds are exposed to the water for about 30-45 seconds – maybe a minute – depending on how fine you grind the beans.

Espresso extraction uses heat and boiler pressure to force hot water through a specific volume area containing a very finely ground coffee bean that is packed firmly. Actual extraction time is usually less than 30 seconds.

How the French press brewing method is different.

When you grind the coffee beans for brewing in the French press, you grind them very coarse. This factor, combined with the longer brewing time of 4 minutes, creates a very rich, satisfying flavor.

Coarse Grind for French Press - source:

Fine Grind Coffee

Fine Grind Coffee

Looking at the grind on the left, you can see how coarse it is compared to the grind on the right.

The coarse grind actually provides more surface area for the water to come in contact with the ground beans. This allows more access – in a sense – to the flavor from the bean.

The French press brewing method (as you saw in the video) basically just allows the coffee grind to sit in the hot water for four minutes.

The net result is that since there is more surface area of the coffee grinds exposed to the water for 2-3 minutes longer than other gravity brewing methods, it results in a deeper, richer flavor.

It also results in a higher concentration of caffeine per serving because you are leaving the grinds in the water longer.

Caffeine Misconceptions

There are a lot of misconceptions about caffeine in most cases simply due to a lack of knowledge.

One of the lowest portions of caffeine per serving is from properly extracted dark roast espresso. It takes 20-30 seconds per extraction depending on the beans, barista, equipment and style.

On the other side of the caffeine continuum is French press. If you want flavor and are not caffeine sensitive, it’s awesome coffee. If you are caffeine sensitive and you can find a swiss water processed decaf that you like, this might be a good application for it.

You can reduce the caffeine concentration by the adding hot water to the finished French press coffee.

It takes some experimentation to find out exactly how you like it the best. Flavor is a very personal thing.

Be sure to write down what you are trying while you are experimenting so you can duplicate what you did when you find what you like. Copious notes will eliminate frustration.

One other bummer about French Press. The glass cylinders are easy to break. Replacements are available and in stock at stores like Sur La Table. If you really like the flavor, you’ll probably want a spare at all times in case you break the original.

Properly ground and brewed French Press produces really good coffee.

Enjoy your French Press brewing and experimentation and the FLAVOR…

I AM Michael Barrett and I Love Really Good Coffee and French Press Columbian Supremo.

Really Good Coffee at Home

Really Good Coffee at Home

has become a serious issue for many of us who love really good coffee. There is nothing like the convenience of the best neighborhood drive thru coffee on the way to work or relaxing coffee houses for road warriors, and you will never hear me dispute that!

None the less, when I first get up in the morning at 5 or 6 a.m., I do not want to have to get dressed and  leave the comfort of home for a really good coffee. I am also more tuned in to how much I spend on coffee than I was in the past. Can you relate to that?

Having been on an extended search for coffee that I truly enjoy – each and every sip of – one that makes my mouth water – I have settled on whole bean because freshly ground is so much tastier and it smells deliciously divine; filling the olfactory system before you even have the first taste with your tongue!

Sexy coffee…whooo hooo! Exciting, isn’t it?

The coffee I have chosen as very reasonably priced for the deliciously robust flavor profile is:

  • French Roast
  • Whole Bean Arabica – 100%
  • Fair Trade
  • and available at Sam’s Club for (get this! hehehe) $14.98  for 2.5 lbs (price amended 3/13/12 from 12.98 and they keep telling us there is no inflation…)

How does it get any better than that?

I love this coffee! It is REALLY GOOD COFFEE.

Here is how I make and enjoy it:

First, you must boil – NOT microwave – your water. You can use gas, electric stove or an electric plug in tea pot but you must bring the water to a boil.

A tip from a real barista: Fresh filtered or pure alkaline water makes the best tasting cup of coffee. ( I prefer Kangen water for coffee and it is much better tasting!)

Next, you buy the brown paper filters , Melitta #2 or #4,  to put inside a plastic or ceramic  filter (cone) holder.  Bulk filters are a Sam’s Club item in our house.

Hamilton Beach Grinder

Then, you grind the coffee, and though I have tried several grinders. Currently, I use a Hamilton Beach HB Coffee Grinder with capacity to grind enough whole beans for about 2-3 cups depending how strong you like your coffee.

I do not grind ahead much because it defeats the purpose and it is so easy to do. I use two coffee scoops of fresh ground French Roast per cup (my husband uses three). Place the filter setup on a cup.

Then pour your boiling hot water over the coffee into the brown paper filter and plastic filter holder, and wait while it drains into your favorite cup!

Hario Coffee Dripper Melitta Style Cone

Half and half? Sugar? Black?

Whatever your personal preference, this is a remarkably good cup of coffee and you will enjoy it completely. I promise! Every cup will be delicious every single time and will drink less and enjoy more.

The Traveler’s Coffee Companion

Now this is so convenient that if you travel frequently, you can pack it up in its own bag and carry it with you! You will never have to start the day with a lousy cup o’ joe nor will  you  have to drive for an hour to have your first cup when on the road. It is not as convenient as the local Starbucks but I have missed the Starbucks exit many a time and longed for the convenience of my good old home brewed best!

Melitta Style Paper Filters

This system has me rather spoiled and it is worth the little bit of effort. I do not much care for the popular drip method coffee pots out there that sends lukewarm water rushing through over-sized coffee grinds that have been sitting on the shelves for weeks – even when they are vacuum packed! The smell of fresh ground coffee is just as important as the taste and is an essential part of how we enjoy our coffee. The American palate for coffee has become more developed thanks to the efforts of coffee roasters like Peets and Starbucks. We paid for the education with every cup, and thank you!

So head on out to find your favorite coffee and do be so kind as to let me know what you find that works for you. Consider it research,  a project to learn more about your coffee palate.  To think I was once a Folgers girl who had graduated to Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Now that just tastes bitter to me and I can’t bear to drink it. Oh well, to each his or her own!

Make it a ritual that you enjoy!  You deserve a cup of REALLY GOOD COFFEE!




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