If you’re wondering if you can use normal ground coffee in a French press, you’ve come to the right place. Grinding coffee beans leaves you with a variety of sizes. However, not every size should be used in all the coffee brewing processes. We intend to shed light on the coffee grind size best for the machine by discussing the French press.
When using a French press, coarsely ground coffee beans are the best option. Too fine or too coarse would result in an unfavorable taste. Since it’s a French press, the brew should steep for a few minutes for great output.
Besides covering the grind size for the French press, we will also cover the recommended coffee ratio. Read on to find out.
How To Use A French Press
Before determining the grind size required for a great brew, let’s first understand the French press, what it is, and how it works.
A French press is commonly known for brewing coffee. However, the machine can prepare other beverages such as tea.
Even so, a French Press used for coffee is best for preparing coffee, not to prepare tea. This is because the tea’s flavor will not taste the same as there will be a reminiscence of coffee in the press, therefore ruining the tea’s flavor.
If you want to use a French Press to prepare other beverages, you will need to have more than one French Press to keep the flavors of the drinks.
If you must use the same French press for tea and coffee, the machine will require a deep clean to get your drink’s full flavor.
A French press goes by many various other names. These include; coffee press, coffee plunger, or press pot.
A French press can make flavorful coffee without occupying too much space or burning through pockets during purchase. In addition, unlike other coffee machines, the French press occupies minimal counter space.
Despite its flavorful output, first encounters with the coffee machine tend to intimidate people. While the French press looks complicated and uses a manual brewing method, it is easy to operate.
The complexity of the brewing process is dependent on how you prefer your coffee. The general makeup of a French press consists of a cylindrical beaker, a plunger, and a plastic or metal lid.
Ground beans go into the empty beaker, followed by hot water. Next, the plunger is slowly pushed downwards, which allows the filter to move.
During the pushing process, expect a bit of resistance. However, when the plunger moves down with little effort, this means you have a very coarse grind. On the other hand, if there is too much resistance, the grind is too fine.
French Press Coffee Grind Size
When preparing a perfect cup of coffee, the right grind size of coffee beans is paired to the suitable coffee machine. Unfortunately, the coffee preparation process does not support a one-size-fits-all when it comes to coffee grind size.
Three factors make the most difference when dealing with grind size; contact time, flow rate, and extraction rate. This means,
- A large surface area translates to a longer coffee grind extraction rate
- To get a larger surface area, the coffee grind needs to be finer
- A higher extraction rate means less contact time
- The water flow rate reduces when using finer grinds. In turn, the contact time increases.
There are different coffee grind sizes. Each grind size is preferable for a particular machine or brewing method. Below are grind sizes and the recommended coffee machines for use.
- Extra fine grind -Turkish
- Fine grind – Espresso machine
- Medium-fine grind – Aeropress
- Medium grind – Pour-over
- Medium-coarse grind – Home coffee maker
- Coarse grind – French press
- Extra coarse grind – Cold Brew Toddy
Contact time for fine ground beans is short, while coarse ground beans require more contact time.
The French press uses the immersion method of brewing coffee. This means that the coffee grind and water are left to sit for a while before filtering the brewed coffee.
Using the coarse grind setting is common for most immersion brewers. However, a longer contact time is needed to ensure water penetrates deeper into the bean. Therefore, just like in the case of the French press, you have to steep the coffee.
Can You Use Normal Ground Coffee In A French Press?
Most coffee shops use the medium (standard) grind setting to prepare regular cups of drip coffee. The ground bean has a similar consistency to sea salt.
It makes a difference when compared to coarse ground beans, which bear similarities with flaky sea salt.
French press machines require a coarse grind setting to produce a great cup of coffee. When the grind is medium or fine, the contact time is reduced.
Since you are using an immersion brewer, the output is less than satisfactory.
Also, the French press has a mesh filter that separates the brewed coffee and the grounds when using the plunger. Therefore, the chances of the medium or fine grind clogging the filter are high. Additionally, the resistance while plunging is increased, making the brewing process difficult.
French Press Coffee Ratio
Achieving the best coffee brew is dependent on having quality water and coffee beans; also, how you mix the two ingredients matters.
Many coffee experts recommend using the golden ratio when mixing the two ingredients. This includes the Specialty Coffee Association of America who agrees on the best starting point ratio; 60 grams per 1 liter of water.
The coffee ratio translates to how strong a brew is. According to experts, coffee solids that dissolve in water are 30%. Of the percentage, only 18%-22% are desirable flavors. It is, therefore, necessary to master a balance between spicy and sweet flavors, aromatics, and acidity.
For the French press coffee ratio, the Golden ratio is best. It is the 1:15 ratio of coffee to water. Therefore, for every 1 gram of coffee, you should add 15 grams of water. After that, you can proceed to experiment to find a ratio that best suits you.
Consider contact time as well. For the French Press, it typically takes 2-4 minutes. If you’re displeased with the result of your brew, you likely have either over-extracted or under-extracted.
When you over-extract, it means the brew time was too long. On the other hand, under-extracting implies the time to brew was short. Over-extracted coffee tastes too woody or bitter, while under-extracted coffee is too sour.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my French Press coffee bitter?
While coffee is known to be a bit bitter, this shouldn’t be the dominant flavor. With a proper cup, you should enjoy other flavors as well.
When compared to drip coffee, a French press uses a coarser grind. When you make your grind too fine, you risk getting bitter coffee.
How do I make the perfect French Press?
First, for great results, you should grind your coffee beans before you start brewing. With your grinds ready, add them into the French press and add ⅓ of the recommended amount of water. Wait for 30 seconds before adding the rest of the water.
After adding the water, close the French Press with a lid and give it 4 minutes. You should then press the plunger, get yourself a mug, and pour in the coffee.
What coffee should I use for French Press?
When deciding on the best coffee for the French press, medium roast and dark roast are preferred. This is because the French press reduces the bitterness associated with dark roasted beans.