What Grind to Use for French Press: A Coffee Lover’s Guide

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There are hundreds of ways to prepare coffee and tweak its flavor based on one’s preference. However, getting the perfect cup is sometimes difficult even for experienced French press enthusiasts, especially since getting the right steeping time or grind is challenging. Hence, many coffee lovers wonder what grind to use for French press coffee.

This article breaks down some important information on the different grinds that best match French press coffee makers. Does the grind have to be fine? Does it have to be coarse? What kind of grinder do you need to use to achieve the appropriate grind?

What Grind to Use for French Press?

Die-hard coffee lovers are aware that no single grind size can be used for any coffee brew. In fact, there are actually seven grind sizes for a wide range of brewing methods. Some grind sizes can be used for more than one brewing method, as all they need is a little tweak of the amount, water temperature, and other factors.

For the French press coffee maker, a coarse grind is the most appropriate. Coarse grind looks very similar to sea salt, so its size is just big enough not to get through the filter. Once you switch to coarse grind for your French press, your coffee will become better.

When it comes to plunging, a coarse grind allows just the right time and ease of pressing the plunge. Too fine grind makes plunging difficult while too coarse grind makes plunging happen fast that negatively affects the coffee flavor and aroma. Unless you are the kind of coffee driver who likes bitter coffee, use medium or medium fine grind for French press.

Potential Problems with Fine Grinds

Using a finer grind of coffee beans for French press has four possible problems. These are:

  1. The fine grind may get stuck onto the French press filter and/or get through it.
  2. With fine grinds, it will be difficult to press the filter which may lead to breakage of the jar or spillage of the coffee.
  3. Fine grinds will get their way to the coffee.
  4. The coffee may become unnecessarily bitter because some fine grinds will be steeped with the coffee for too long.

How to Achieve a Coarse Grind?

Pre-ground coffee beans are readily available in the supermarkets. They are convenient and save time when preparing coffee in the morning.

For people who want more freshness, aroma, and flavor, grinding the beans right before brewing is the best method. Freshly ground beans undergo less oxidation; hence, keeping the most aroma and flavor.

A burr grinder is a perfect tool for achieving a coarse grind. It is made of two blades, a fixed one and another that is attached to the motor and rotates.

Instead of slicing the coffee beans, the burr grinder crushes them, and the main impact is not focused on just one area. Hence, the grind is more consistent than that of a blade grinder. It can still crush the beans into fine particles and boulders, but not as fine as the blade grinder can produce.

With burr grinder, you can have more control on how coarse your coffee beans will be. It also provides better consistency and precision. Additionally, a burr grinder can yield uniform-sized, relatively big grains of coffee.

What Is the Right Water and Coffee Ratio for French Press?

Generally, a regular sized French press can make four cups or 32 ounces of coffee. Here is a more informative guide on preparing your coffee depending on the size or serving you need:

  • One serving requires one cup of water and two tablespoons of coffee beans.
  • Two servings need two cups of water and ¼ cup of coffee beans.
  • Four servings require four cups of water and ½ cup of coffee beans.
  • Eight servings need eight cups of water and one cup of coffee beans.

Take note that these coffee beans were measured before they turned into a coarse grind.

It is necessary to prepare just the right amount of French press coffee that you are going to consume soon. Leaving coffee in the French press after it has done brewing is not a good idea. It will keep on brewing even though the plunger was pushed down. It will be over-extracted, giving it a bitter taste.

How to Prepare French Press Coffee with Coarse Grind?

Prepare the right amount of coffee beans as recommended above. Set the grinder into the coarsest setting in the burr grinder.

As an alternative, you can grind the beans in a blade grinder but with short and sharp pauses, ceasing every second to shake it sharply while securing the lid on. Make sure that the coffee grounds are really coarse and rough and have even sizes.

Bring the required number of cups of water to a boil on a stovetop. Then remove the heat and let the water stand for one minute. If you are going to be too technical about it, the temperature should be 195 degrees Fahrenheit; you may need a thermometer to check.

With the coffee grounds inside the French press, add the hot water. Stir them together with up and down movement. Then, steep it for four minutes. Four-minute steeping time produces a robust brew, but you can experiment with different steeping times to achieve the flavor that best matches your taste.

When the timer goes off, just gently push the plunger all the way to the bottom. The coffee goes through the filter while you pour it into your mug and the grounds stay on the bottom. That is why it is important to use coarse coffee grounds to easily plunge the French press and ensure that the grounds don’t go through the filter.

Enjoy the coffee immediately. In case you haven’t consumed all the coffee you prepared, don’t leave it in the French press. Instead, transfer it in a carafe to keep it hot.

Conclusion

Brewing coffee in a French press coffee maker is simple. It doesn’t require any extravagant method or brewing machine.

The most important thing to remember is what grind to use for French press. Coarse or sea-salt sizes of coffee grounds are perfect. Likewise, the ratio of water and coffee is also important.

That being said, the flavor and aroma of the coffee will depend on the drinker. Hence, learn how to tweak some factors like water temperature, amount of coffee ground, and grind size so that you can achieve the quality that best matches your preference.

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