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Getting The Most from Your Coffee with A French Press

A french press can deliver some of the most deliciously personalized coffee you've ever had. Lauded for its rich, deep flavor, the coffee flavor you get using this technique all ends up in the cup. The only thing left in the press when you're done is the grounds. Discover how to make every cup of French press exquisite.

What Is A French Press?

A french press is a manual coffee-brewing kitchen tool. Sometimes called a press pot or a coffee press, the device was popularized in Italy.

  • The press consists of a beaker-style cup with a handle and a spout.
  • A lid fits atop the beaker and has a cylindrical filter and plunger built into it.
  • French presses are almost always made of glass, but may also use stainless steel, copper finishes or high-tech matte outer layers for a nonslip grip.

How To Use Your Press

Using your press takes a few minutes more than simply hitting a button on one of your coffee machines, but the payoff is a grand cup of flavorful coffee, made exactly how you want it.

  • Start with coarse-ground coffee beans. Use a burr grinder to grind the beans.
  • Add the grounds to the bottom of your press and pour very hot water over them. Let it steep for three to five minutes.
  • Push the grounds down and pour when ready.  You want to use a fair amount of force to tamp the grounds well. This squeezes every drop of flavor from the coffee.

Getting The Right Grind for A French Press

Getting the right grind for your French press lets you enjoy your coffee's fullest flavors. This is the step that lets you identify depth and aromas from different origin beans.

  • Grind your beans on the coarsest setting. Coffee should end up somewhere between the size of coarse salt grains and steel-cut oats.
  • This is the coarsest you will ever grind -- but if you find you prefer stronger coffee, grind to the lighter end of the spectrum.
  • Using the burr grinder is important. A burr grinder won't warm the beans the way other grinders might. Warming the beans releases some of the flavor -- and you want that flavor for your coffee.
  • Place the grounds into the press immediately. Grounds begin to oxidize within as little as 30 seconds.
  • When you pour, you may experience grounds in your cup. These grounds are called fines. The fines stay suspended in your coffee and add rich thickness.

Now that you have a few tips and tricks for this delightful ritual, select the press at Williams Sonoma that's best for you.

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