Cupping Vs French Press

I like cupping coffees, especially delicious ones. I am occasionally guilty of liking a coffee so much that I swipe the bowl after we’re done for drinking. This is obviously a disgusting and shameful habit, but hey – tasty is tasty.

Cupping is something that occupies a constant pocket of my mind – the process, the purpose, the results and everything in between. Like many people who often fall in love with coffees on the cupping table I also like full immersion brewing a lot. Often that means the french press.

Cupping, as a brew method, seems to break the rules. While the brewing process is likely slowed quite a lot by the break and clean part of the process (the stir at around 4 minutes), there is still ground coffee and water sat together for 30 minutes or so. And at the end of that 30 minutes some coffees taste utterly fantastic.

If you ask most people how they grind for press, compared to cupping, they’ll say coarser. This doesn’t seem to make sense. The main part of the brew is done in a similar time – 4 minutes – and with a press pot we separate the liquid from the grounds pretty early on. How are we going to get a cup as good as the bowl when the grind is coarser and the total brew time shorter.

I wondered if the agitation of the pressing action played a part – and with traditionally brewed press pots I think it does. If you haven’t stirred and scooped the foam off then there is probably lots of ground coffee that suffers some form of percolation as the screen moves it through the liquid coffee to the bottom of the press.

So today I did a little experiment. I brewed two press pots:

The first was brewed as I usually do: 60g/l (in this case it was 24g/400g water), 4 minutes, break and clean, press and then after a minute or so I served/decanted. The grind was a little coarser than cupping (2 steps on our VTA6).

The second I treated like a cupping bowl. Cupping grind, 4 minutes, break and clean and then I left it sitting there for 10 minutes (around the time a cupping bowl starts to get really tasty). When it was time to pour I put the strainer in but didn’t plunge – I just poured it through the mesh.

I then served everyone in the roastery a sample of each in a simple blind tasting. The french press method had a higher acidity, juicier perhaps, but at the expense of some sweetness, balance and mouthfeel. 5 to 1 went with the cupping method.

For those who delight in the details I also finished up by running the numbers. The french press method had squeaked in a little over 16% extraction. The cupping bowl a little over 18%.

There were a few take home lessons:

– We’ve been underextracting most of our french press brews. With good coffee they are pretty tasty, but this needs to be fixed. Our french press grind now matches our cupping grind.
– This test would have been more interesting had I used the same grind for both presspots. I will run that one tomorrow or next week.
– It is really hard to overextract a french press when it comes to brew time. I used to firmly believe in decanting as soon as possible. I can no longer justify that idea.
– The Honduran CoE lot from Cafe Grumpy was tasty despite our mistakes. (Always fun to test with interesting coffees!) I think I’ve said before that very delicious coffees can sometimes remove the incentive to keep experimenting.
– I need to test the effects of agitation through pressing, as most people don’t do the break and clean when drinking coffee at home.
– I need to test the difference between a 4 minute, 5 minute and 6 minute brew/break time.
– French press now might be the ultimate lazy way to make coffee.

98 Comments

  1. Two thoughts:
    1) In the cupping brew-dynamic, you have to remember that you’re talking about perhaps the smallest volume single-cup brewing outside of espresso, and using glass or ceramic with an open top. That results in a naturally steep temperature decline, perhaps the steepest decline there is. It makes it wholly unique among brew methods.

    2) Ric Rhinehart told me that a classic and proper french press should be ground extra-coarse and steeped for 6 minutes. I have yet to try this, but thought I’d mention it. It’s true that most french press methods are underextracted, usually due to the narrowness of the press. The narrower the press, the more likely there’s a floating-not-brewing portion of grounds. Gentle agitation to ensure this coffee is interacting in the brew is crucial. The particulate adds what Ric likes to call “false body.”

  2. I’m confused about your break and clean. When I’ve seen cupping, after 4 minutes the cupper draps the spoon through the crust to open a line in the crust, smells it, and then about 20 seconds later, scoops the crust off the cup and tastes it a minute or so later.

    Is this what you are suggesting for the french press ( minus the siff)? And then you let it sit several minutes more before filtering it?

  3. When you are cupping, you know its a good coffee when you want to swallow it!

  4. I think our attempts at very coarse have pushed us towards the bad habit of the updosed underextraction.Just letting a press sit a while before pouring does a great deal to reduce the “false body”. Fines don’t influence cupping much, for the same reason (we drink the top, not the sludge).

    I’m not sure the temp decline is actually that steep compared to most people’s pourover methods.

  5. I think my fondness for the Cafe Solo probably stems from the same place – one of the most underrated coffee brewers out there!

    I do wonder where the habit of pressing came from now. Anyone?

  6. Try adding this as an immersion brew method for comparison. Add the near boiling water to a container containing the coffee, stir it and let it sit for 4, 5, 6+ minutes. At the end of the selected brewing time, pour the coffee through a manual drip filter to remove the grounds and taste. Somewhat similar to your french press method but with better filteration that definitely stops any brewing with the grounds and fines.

    I’ve done this and found I like it at 5 minutes. But I use a preheated tea pot to brew in, which holds the temp somewhat.

    Part of the problem/benefit with your method is the water is rapidly cooling during the immersion phase, especially if you are using the traditional tall glass press. That could be why you like the flavor after so many minutes – some of the extraction is taking place at fairly cool temps.

    But I dislike cold coffee

  7. Nick:

    Thanks for this…I have sensed the “floating-not-brewing” phenomenon in my own french press preparations but never understood just how/how much it was affecting the extraction. I have two Bodum stainless press pots — one 2-cup, one 6-cup — and have treated the crust differently at different times but never systematically compared outcomes. One approach is the gentle agitation you mention — how frequently over a 4-minute extraction? One quality-focused café here in Central America recommended gentle agitation at one minute then putting the lid in the pot and pressing down just enough to immerse the coffee to ensure continual extraction. Wonder what you think of that recommendation…

    M

  8. James,

    Once again, your blog is an inspiration to change things up! A question before the experiments begin, though:

    Assuming a relatively constant (preheated, insulated press) temperature, isn’t it possible to get the right extraction and flavors out of a coffee at several different grind::brew time settings?

    For example, with a coarser grind you would want a longer brew time to achieve the same level of extraction?

  9. It’s funny you should mention this…

    About number of months ago, my wife brewed a French Press for herself on a cheap burr grinder we have that doesn’t go very coarse. She realized she needed to run a brief errand and forgot that she had left the press brewing. She got back 45 minutes later, pressed and brewed it, then happily drank. I was in shock. How could she do such a thing!? Surely this must be disgusting!

    Though i was horrified, i was extremely curious to know how it tasted. It was surprisingly not that bad. I wouldn’t say it was delicious in any way, but i’ve definitely tasted worse coffee that had been brewed “properly”.

  10. “How are we going to get a cup as good as the bowl when the grind is coarser and the total brew time shorter.”

    The Press retains heat much better than a cupping bowl, especially if that Press is insulated, no?

  11. Could the difference in your two methods be primarily to do with grind fineness, James?

    I say that because a) I’ve always used the same grind for plunger and cupping, and b) I remember that in the cool french press video you (SQM) made, the grind *appeared* to be way coarser than I normally use…

    Your observations on the difference in taste between the two could easily be explained by the difference in grind, I reckon. Maybe? But it’s interesting to think about – reminds me of an older post where you discussed grind fineness and Aeropress, concluding that the grounds should be as fine as you can make it while avoiding bitterness with your “usual” Aeropress protocol. If the same logic applies, I suspect a plunger grind would still need to be fairly coarse (considering the 4-5 minute steep and water:coffee ratio), but possibly more like your usual cupping grind?

    Who knows? (I don’t)
    Cheers,
    Stu

  12. I agree with you cupping produces delicious results, and I often want to drink the left overs, and on more than a few occasions of complete laziness of not wanting to clean out a french press just performed a normal cupping, and drank most of it sans spoon, excluding the break. Are you using the same temperature for cupping as french press?
    Also about you break and clean technique, I often don’t need to clean the grinds on the top for french press, and can’t see exactly why I would want to. Those floating grinds are in all likelihood the ones that haven’t absorbed much water, and thus could still extract a lot more coffee, and probably good flavors at that. I thought the only reason people clean with cupping is because they are drinking it, so grinds could cause problems.I think one definitely has to the attempts at the same grind, and see how little extraction takes place at the bottom of the pot.
    I’ve noticed that agitation in a french press seems to make a huge difference, and am confused by people advocating a stirring midway, even a minute in, as I don’t get very good results from that.
    I’ve also played around with immersing the french press filter just below the surface a minute in and immediately and excluding too fresh coffee, I think it taste best if you can just pour the water in and stir enough so the bloom separates from the grinds in different layers and just break the crust 3.5 minutes and wait for grinds to settle and serve. I agree with you one the decanting immediately, but now I don’t see that as needed, and certainly enjoy a lot less sludge that comes from that.

  13. I am not an expert on this matter, but I have always ignored the suggested bean and time amount when it came to the French Press.

    4-5 scoops of beans at 5 minutes. After the coffee blooms, I will then stir it and start the timer. I have heard of people scooping the crust out before plunging, but I think that’s more for minimizing sediment.

    I have noticed as the coffee brews longer that it doesn’t over extract at all, and that it definitely makes a better cup of coffee in my opinion.

  14. Someone up there mentioned pouring the coffee through a paper cone filter after brewing. Akin to this, the method I use for perhaps my most consistently lazy/delicious cup is to brew filter ground coffee for two minutes in a carafe, then pour it through a paper cone filter, resulting in four minutes or so contact time. I figure that the pouring and filtering reduces the temperature such that extraction is slowed, resulting in a clear cup with greatly reduced fines and no bitterness. Important though, is that the grounds go into the paper filter with the liquid, this seems to (counter-intuitively I know) speed the transport of the coffee through the filter.

  15. As cupping gives great taste and sweetness often unequalled in other methods. I’ve been looking in that direction as well.
    Great results can be reached with the Clever filter cone in combination with a gold filter.
    Often really impressive.

  16. Underextracted….???

    I’m unclear if the claim that the brew was underextracted was based simply on the meter reading of 16%. I’m also unclear whether or not the 5 to 1 preference of the cupping sample over the press was actually due to preference.

    Since at The Spro we use seven different brewing methods on a regular basis, we see interesting variances within our selection of coffees from week to week. Quite simply: some coffees perform better under certain brewing condition than others.

    Note: I base all of our purchasing and brewing decisions on the actual taste performance of our coffees rather than the numbers being spewed out of an iPhone.

    I agree that it would have been more interesting (as well as more thorough) to have run the same grind for both presspots.

    The Ultimate Lazy Way To Make Coffee
    That’s a pretty myopic statement. Perhaps it’s time to consider that not all brew method are created equal, nor are they meant to produce equal results. Each brew method has it’s ups and downs. One is not necessarily “better” than the rest. That’s as absurd as saying saute is better than boiling, or that braising is the lazy way to cook.

    For someone who championed multiple brewing methods at The Penny University, I would have expected better insight.

  17. M-
    Why not try it and see how you like it? Perhaps you’ll enjoy it enough to advocate it yourself!

    Bear in mind, that there is no “one way” to do any of this.

  18. I’m not entirely convinced on the coherence of some of your arguments but I will engage…re: 16% This was measured, as I said above, after the taste tests had been done. The description of underextraction was also qualified above in terms of flavour – the FP brew lacking sweetness and balance, only having pronounced acidity on its side. Reading what I wrote again I am not sure how this was confusing.

    Quite simply: some coffees perform better under certain brewing condition than others.

    Have you never wondered why? Wouldn’t you like to explore why? Shouldn’t you perhaps have some experience of a tool that answers some of these questions than producing consistently negative statements about it? Do you really see no value in better understanding the brewers you use?No one is telling you how to serve your coffee. At The Spro you can do whatever you want, but surely you want to achieve your desired results as easily and consistently as possible. If you’d spent any time using the equipment you so publicly berate then you’d understand that this is its purpose, its value. Ironic that you go on to call me myopic…That’s a pretty myopic statement.This is where you lose me. Sometimes I want a brew method that is very little to do with technique, where quality of ingredient can easily be accessed. I could probably convince my mother to brew this way, and I am pretty sure that with little effort she’d see worthwhile results. A syphon is not that method.I am not saying one method is better than the other, I’m not sure how you made that leap. My commentary was on the ease to quality of result ratio.Finally – we weren’t championing different brew methods, we were championing different coffees. The emphasis was not on the brewers, we wanted to talk about coffee. Brewers were used sympathetically, but with the end cup in mind.

  19. I plan on trying this soon – I was also intrigued by Nick Cho’s video using both paper and gold filter in the same brew…

  20. I don’t really understand exactly what is changing when we scoop off fines – though I have noticed an improved result (plunging or not).

    Agitation does make a big difference, I think there are probably many ways to skin a cat on this one – the “right” way being the one easiest to replicate.

  21. Grind size definitely had an impact. I do need to retest with matching grinds and the only difference being the steep/plunge variance.

  22. Perhaps, though I don’t think it would be enough to overcome a grind that is too coarse. Might log some numbers on cupping bowl vs insulated press just to see…

  23. I’ve done the same thing – made a press, sat down at the desk and then had a long phone call or other distraction. Coffee often is still suspiciously good!

  24. I think this is probably true – though you’ll obviously hit a wall of coarseness where you’ll always struggle to get good extraction. I’ve often thought about the relationship between the two and the resulting window of opportunity/tolerance of that method. 30 seconds doesn’t do much damage to a press, while a 5 second variance can devastate an espresso.

  25. This should be made into a formal experiment listing greater details, more visuals, and more life. I feel like this is very interesting because I’m a fan of the french press (though never denying a great cup processed any way). I use my V60 or chemex religiously, between 2-4 times a day, but I’d like to see how this french press correction compares to a cupping.

  26. Correction…i didn’t read my post. I’m NOT a fan of french Press…sorry about the confusion

  27. Mistake to have engaged, James. Jay C.’s post reads like a willful misreading of yours.

  28. James, I had a similar realization with presses lately. I was really dissatisfied with our FP brews, but afraid to grind much finer, but ultimately I started seeing 19% with a 3:30 brew time, and a grind that is actually FINER than what we use to get the same result for a manual dripper or vacuum pot. Significantly finer grind tasted better in a blind test, too. Honestly, we’re grinding presses slightly finer than any other brew method now. My only explanation is that the agitation caused by the FP plunger is negligible compared to the turbulence of the water passing over the coffee bed in a dripper or the “draw-down” of a syphon. Does that make sense?

    With regard to cupping, perhaps the lack of agitation (compared to other brew methods), and the significant heat loss explains your observation that the coffees tend to cup best significantly after wetting (15-30 minutes)? Is extraction and hydrolysis stunted or slowed, perhaps by the loss of heat? …Perhaps I’m reaching a bit far here.

  29. Have I ever wondered why some coffees perform better under certain brewing conditions than others? Certainly. In fact, that’s something we explore further every day.

    However, what I am concerned about is the experience of drinking coffee. Meaning that we rely upon our tastes to determine when and where things may be going awry, as well as using our sense of taste to bring us back on track.

    To my mind, this is the very essence of what we do and how our customers experience the coffee we serve. They’re interested in great tasting coffee prepared for them and uninterested in what reading some meter may tell us.

    The understanding that we arrive is one derived from sensory experience and not a computerized application telling us if we’re “right” or “wrong.”

    You’re right, at The Spro we can (and do) brew and serve coffee as we see fit. And we certainly do see value in serving coffee as easily and consistently as possible. But while you may try to cast doubt over my skepticism regarding measuring equipment, I can only wonder if the defense would be as strong if you didn’t receive the equipment for free?

    On the other hand, perhaps we’re talking pears and oranges here. While most of what you deal with on a daily basis has to do with your own production, my company of baristas deal with coffees sourced from a disparate selection of roasters who’s various tastes, selections, roast styles and more comes into play. Because of this, we see a wide variety of approaches and a necessity for the various brew methods.

    For us, part of our mission is to present the coffees we like in as best a manner as possible. This entails us utilizing many different brew methods as each highlights and diminishes different aspects of the coffees.

    In fact, the more that we explore various coffees, I even wonder if cupping is the ideal way to examine a sample, but that’s a topic for another day.

  30. For press pot, many people have this false notion that a coarse grind is needed, and what is called for lies somewhere between drip and espresso. Depending on the mesh in your particular press pot, it can often be finer than what you would use for vac-pot.

    My theory is that there were “classic” methodologies developed using coffees that were nowhere near the caliber that “we” are working with today. Trying to coax good flavors out of pretty good or mediocre coffee while at the same time attempting to hide the flaws within that coffee is a different sort of dance than that of doing your best to illuminate everything the coffee has to offer. I think both in general and specific terms, brewing methodologies change because the complexity of coffees has changed.

    Is there a grind that would improve your current cupping method?
    Is there a grind that would improve your current press pot method?

    To both of these, I would say “perhaps”. Each methodology and each set of equipment is going to have a particular grind that works best, it’s no more or less complicated than testing and tasting.

    Your thinking out loud and your willingness to share your experiments that are a joy to read. Keep it up!

  31. I don’t make/drink a lot of presses but I get what you’re saying about the necessity for sameness vis-a-vis cupping. I realize part of the reason I grind finer for cupping is because I want a higher percentage extraction on the cupping table. Overextraction? I also dose a bit higher into the cupping bowls so maybe that evens itself out.

    The point is, I’m willing to risk what the numbers might say is an overextraction for the perceived benefit of a stronger signal from the coffee, especially considering how little coffee one gets in a sample. (This is obviously not the case with a press to drink for enjoyment.)

    …plus coarser grounds don’t sink to the bottom of the bowl as easily as finer grounds and I hate chewing at the cupping table.

  32. I figured going from cold brew to immersion to percolation to espresso you get a smaller window of opportunity where each second counts more and more…that seems true experimentally, at least.

    I tried your cupping method using the following recipe:

    20g water at 96c
    40g ground coffee
    Preheated ceramic canister with a rubber gasket lid.
    Brew time – 4minutes
    Grind – what we use for paper filter

    After 4 minutes, I slowly poured the liquid into a preheated chemex. There was almost no sediment as the protruding edge caught most of the sediment. I let it cool to 80C then poured and served.

    It was delicious and oily, but not sedimenty or rough in texture. Also, there were almost no fines caked on the bottom of the cup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oqcoffee/5151447484/ It was a little labor intensive, but I could imagine how to make the process smoother…

  33. I just drink coffee to feel good, but sometimes that just isn’t enough.

  34. Late to the discussion here, but I must say that I have discovered the same thing you have James, in the same way. After drinking so many cupping cups, I realized that the French Press plunger was unnecessary and perhaps was even doing bad things to my coffee. First, I believe it pushes up a big cloud of particulate, which ends up in the cup if you drink immediately after plunging (which is the normal practice). Second, have you ever smelled a French Press screen? Even when cleaned meticulously, they smell rancid after a week or two.

    Everything we’ve collectively learned in the past few years- skimming helps, crema is bitter, paper filters seem to improve flavor, settling helps a French Press taste better- point to the conclusion that suspended fines in the beverage create negative taste experiences.

    So, anyways, the French Press screen and plunging action seems to do little to help flavor, and since it stirs up the fines/sediment (which normally settles to the bottom during brewing time), it probably actually hurts.

    Of course, 150 years ago, nobody really used French Presses or paper filters, and everyone just let the grounds settle to the bottom and decanted the coffee beverage, being careful not to disturb the grounds at the bottom. So why the invention of the French Press screen? I speculate that it was an invention motivated by thrift: when decanting without a screen, you by necessity leave a few ounces of liquid coffee atop the grounds. If there is a screen holding the grounds back, then you can squeeze off every little bit of coffee beverage. Innovations in those days usually weren’t motivated by quality (Melitta Benz’s paper filter invention was driven by ease of cleanup, not clean flavor).

    Myself, I have stopped using French Press plungers altogether. I occasionally enjoy an “open pot”, which I sometimes do in a French Press beaker, and sometimes do in a coffee server. Either way, I just steep the coffee according to the recipe, stirring a minute or so into the extraction, skimming the top, and pouring the liquor into my cup. Delicious and dead simple.

    Peter G

  35. I did tell Nick Cho that 6 minutes with a grind coarser than drip is appropriate for French Press, and really always has been. This thinking is informed by my own experience tasting (and tasting, and tasting and tasting – that’s at least in part for you Jay) and by going to the trouble to filter various FP brews to remove undissolved particles and then measure the resulting clarified brew for dissolved solids. In a series of experiments performed, like yours, for my own satisfaction, I consistently found that we got 19-20% extraction at the longer (read better tasting) brewing times. I also experimented with varying degrees and types of agitation and I can tell you with certainty that agitation has an enormous impact and is almost impossible to control manually. You have probably discerned this at the cupping table, especially if you have occasion to taste cups that other people have broken right next to cups that you have broken.In any event, I love that you are experimenting, I apologize for not having the facility to formalize many of these kinds of experiments, and I encourage you to pursue this concept of value return based on simplicity (and repeatability) of methodology.

  36. Experimenting with coffee is always fun and helps to create our own perspective of what it takes to become a professional of what we do.

  37. James your experience is exactly where I have been for the last 6 months or so. For me the method of brewing by “cupping” style not only tastes great, but is also the most consistent. To be honest I just got sick of the fines of the french press, and 50% of the pour overs I taste to be over extracted or under. Lately, I have been using a pint glass to brew…no filtration. Great cup of coffee almost every time. I have been eyeballing this (http://cgi.ebay.com/Double-Wall-Glass-Cocktail-Shaker-w-SS-Top-Barware-/110608522890) though for a month, and this post inspired me to buy it. I will let you know how it brews. I thinks the double wall will keep it hot, and the lid will also help. My goal is to also use a tea filter (more porous)to put in the pour side of the shaker– to filter after the brew, I like it a little cleaner. (I have used a t-shirt before to filter my pint glass, and it is was very good.) This also brings up the clever which I feel like the only down side to it is that the liquid has to go back through the grounds…..but if you could siphon off the top—now we are talking. Great Post.

  38. Great post. I see big differences in mixture agitation between real-world french press consumption and the cupping table. At the table, the mixture is allowed to rest (as in your test) and consumption occurs from the top, without moving or disturbing the fines. French press, though, is mixed heavily as it is decanted, and then drinkers lift, tilt and often swirl the mixture as they drink.

    I imagine the extra movement may be a contributing cause to the bitterness that I’ve tasted in older cups of French press at cafes.

  39. I did the same thing with a clever once, which is kind of like a filtered french press for me. It was actually amazing. It brewed for 20 minutes or so.

  40. Can cold-brewed (toddy system) enter this discussion? It seems using coarse ground coffee, much updosed, steeped overnight, and filtered may lead to additional discussion about pressed coffee. I’ve been adjusting cold press method in our cafe, simply because I don’t feel cold press extracts enough acidity and complexity from the coffee. So, I prepare 500g of press/coarse ground coffee and steep in 1.0 liter of 145 degree filtered water for 15-17 minutes. I then filter it through our bulk brewing basket, fitted with fetco filter, into its own container and refrigerate. Served iced, I find it much more appealing than overnight, cold pressed coffee, particularly with the lighter roasts we prefer.

  41. We did in our Home Brewing Session several test with the French Press scooping and notice this general rule : with very light, clean coffee’s we have a better cup when not scooping off and a with heavier/fuller/dirtier coffees we better scoop off.

  42. Really really late to this conversation, and you’re so prolific, James, that I’m sure we’re already on to a new topic that makes this one obsolete. In the case that I’m wrong about this, I’ll share: having always liked the cupping results better than the brewed version, I had taken to doing it cupping style, then pouring through a sieve. Not the most advanced filtering device, but enough to do the trick.

    Then, you exploded my mind with your “cupping style” french press method, so I had to try it. Very nice. Then, Mark Prince was inspired by Mr Wendelboe to make a video in which he updosed and then scooped the grounds out completely with two cupping spoons. Extremely nice. Mind=Blown

    I took it a step further and removed the lid section of the plunger assembly, reassembled the post, barrel nut and filter set sans lid and started with it at the bottom of the beaker. Grounds on top, water in (I like to bloom for 45 sec, but it’s not crucial for my point), steep and then pull the grounds out (over a sink or something, as some grounds will spill over the edges as you lift out the cake). I know there’s a product for that, but pretty much the same thing, without the awkward “finding the hole for the hook” part I see in the videos trying to pitch said product. Also, why buy something additional when what you already have is capable?

    Heat retention? Towels. High tech solutions for high society.

    Thanks for being always relevant, James. (And for somehow keeping it all diplomatic, collaborative and approachable)

  43. I first read this post sometime last year but I’ve just realized that my current Aeropress brewing method is based on it. And I thought I was being all original and avant-garde. Subconscious must have been mulling it over for a while….

    Setup inverted Aeropress, with rubber foot at about the 4 mark, cap off.
    13g coffee ground at the finer end of coarse
    Fill a second Aeropress plunger with boiling water and wait a few seconds (215g just cooler than boiling)
    Pour the water gently onto the coffee, covering all grounds
    At 4 min break the crust gently and clean remaining froth and floating grounds. Most of the grounds will sink.
    Wait another 5 min
    Cap and filter on and press UP, dribbling the brew into your cup.

    If done gently, without any agitation, you’ll get a very clear cup, at a nice temperature too.

  44. Wow, I’ve never heard of this technique. I’m going to try it with our Kona coffee and see how it works out and give you an update! Thanks for the great information! Kuahana Coffee…

  45. This post has truly changed my perspective on the proper technique/s of french press brewing. I was doing this via 7grams of coffee per 4oz of water:
    1. course grind weighed exactly, 2. filtered water weighed exactly, 3. stir after one minute, 4. total brew time four minutes, 5. then plunge and 6. immediately serve into warm mug.

    Now I am adopting James’ method, along with coffeegeeks recommendations, and it has yielded by far the best french press cup I have ever had, which demonstrates how far we have come but also shows how much more we can still learn.

  46. Hi Jim,
    Nice discussion.
    Keep your eye out for the “La Tazza”. This is a whole new approach to the french press and could possibly set a new standard for the process. It is a manual device and will enable you to refine all the steps to getting what you want from a press.
    I am in Seattle…a food processing machine designer with a solution for lovers of this coffee.
    Enjoy!
    Jon

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