French Press Technique

Videocast #2 – French Press Technique from James Hoffmann on Vimeo.

I know I cross posted this on the Square Mile Blog, but I thought I should post it here too. Feedback is always welcome, and yes – I am still totally obsessed with brewing on scales!

Comments are open again!

110 thoughts on “French Press Technique

  1. Hi James –
    All your videos have an excellent, professional quality about them. They convey your point clearly and without any unnecessary “noise.” I’m curious what your video editing software of choice is. I’ll be doing some training and PR videos for my coffeehouse once it opens early next year and would like them to be as professional.

  2. I purchased a Rocky grinder to accompany my new Rancilio Silvia and I actually considered using the grinder for “normal” coffee as well. Your video suggests I should simply adjust it to the coarsest setting possible. Do you or any readers have experience with using espresso grinders for press coffee or drip coffee? Which setting do you use?

  3. Cool video!

    I think that song is actually Ghostwriter by Rjd2, and is there another spot on the site where you talk about hard vs. soft water, how to test it, etc?

  4. that is a lovely little scale there. I have been thinking someday I should get serious enough to do that with my brews, your video was just the motivation I needed. I noticed that is was a salter but could not seem to find one online that looked like it. Do you recommend that particular model and if so could you tell me what it is called?

  5. Adrian – The video is edited in Adobe Premier, and some nice touches put in through After Effects.

    Martin – you should get a reasonable grind from your Rocky, it may have a few extra fines so will probably benefit from the technique. Lots of people use their espresos grinders for multiple functions.

    Daniel – yup, somehow I got the track name and LP name confused. I should know better! I will try and get a short video on water up by the end of the week.

    Michael and Eric – the scales are by Salter and cost £16 in John Lewis. All of the scale is the weighing surface, despite the nice metal disc implying that only that is the weighing point. You can buy them here: Salter Scales

  6. Where did you get that coffee mug? I used to go to a diner in North Carolina called Elmo’s. Could it be the same place?

  7. I’m new to French press technique and now I wonder if I’ve been doing it right at all.

    I use a glass Bodum french press pot. And i pour water in until it reaches six cups (I’m in the states, btw) – it’s marked on the glass. Not sure if that’s as good as a scale.

    Then I stir it with a chopstick before I let it steep. You had “the break” after the steep, but it didn’t seem anywhere near like the stirring I’ve been doing. (Again, I’m new to this)

    Am I doing it wrong?

  8. Hey james,
    What is the total elapsed time for the brewing including the brew, scraping and plunging. Have to admit, I am personally not a much over 3 min. total, guy. I prefer a tighter grind with less time. I find that I get a clearer picture of what the coffee tastes like and that it doesn’t seem over extracted. I do stir but clearing the blume… Never thought of that. Kinda like the reverse press pot if you’ve seen that. However, your reputation does precede you so I will most certainly entertain your thoughts and experience.

    I really appreciate the scale to measure the water idea. Perfect! I usually preheat a measuring cup then measure out the water for accuracy and wait till it drops to the right temp to pour into the pot but this will save so much time and give me one less dish to wash.

  9. i’m curious – why did you omit the plunge from the video? seems kind of odd to have a video french PRESS technique but omit the press!

  10. It is Elmos in Carrboro, NC! right down the street from the Open Eye Cafe…ah, maybe some day our mug will be featured in a “Square Mile Production”…..
    cheers folks!

  11. […] possible for the sake of complication.  I guess it all started when I saw James Hoffmann’s French Press Technique video that I started to play around with different ways of brewing with a french […]

  12. Wow, I amazed. I am finishing my first cup of french press using this technique, it is awesome. I was of the old school pacific nw technique of pour water, stir, steep for 4 mins., press. This is so much cleaner and the coffee is more vibrant.

  13. Nice video – I’ve always dreaded drinking french press because I guess I never really knew how to make it. The coffee normally came out with lots of grinds at the bottom of the cup and tasted rather raunchy – maybe I was steeping it too long?
    I’ll try your method soon and look forward to the result!

  14. […] James Hoffamn has a great video of another brewing method that´s very different, and was originally created by Tim Wendelboe. James has left away one part of the brewing method, that we felt we wanted to have in our test. This is the part were you stir the presspot firmly after pouring 1/3 of the water. After stirring you pour the rest of the water. This helps the coffeecake to get evenly wet. […]

  15. This was the first of your videos I’ve seen. This shiz was hot !!! Thanks for posting the music credit. A must download. Srsly, @jimseven – so watchable, informative, fun, hip, groovy. You’ve got a gift, man. Gonna tweet about it for ROASTe.

  16. […] French Press Coffee, by Chris Young: Neal tells me that you’re interested in further details of the French press coffee technique that he uses. I can’t claim the technique is mine; I learned it from my friend James Hoffmann. James is a former World Barista Champion and has a wonderful blog covering all things coffee. James has a great video of the technique here. […]

  17. Excellent, I just got the urge to step away from the Aeropress and try the French again!

  18. Isn’t the golden stuff you’re scooping off the surface before the plunge the oils from the coffee? Isn’t that similar to the crema that is on the top of an espresso and to some degree desirable if not indicative of a good coffee?

    BTW in a pinch you can use a cheap rotary grinder and pulse it on and off to get a decent coarse grind.

  19. What a great video – very similar to one we are producing to show how to make the perfect cup of Kona coffee… curious if the OP ever uses Kona coffee?

  20. […] Coffee, an acquired taste! Luckily I got to know how to enjoy preparing a cup, in most of its forms and basics. Being able to spare no detail while preparing coffee should not be disregarded. My favourite spot for an ideal cup of coffee is home . It is more of a ritual rather an instant preparation! Here is a favorable French Press Technique clip. This is valuable information, I hope you appreciate it. Thank you plenty James Hoffmann. French Press Technique « « jimseven jimseven. […]

  21. Great video, and I’ve had some really good results with it.  The odd time though, when I break, almost all the grounds sink to the bottom, so when I skim or clean the surface, there’s no grounds there, I’m only getting liquid.

    Any ideas?? 

  22. just tried this technique but with blue bottles ratio, 1gram ground to 10 ml water, pretty heavy ratio but coffee came out superb (stumptown peru cecovasa)

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