In the vast panorama of aromas obtainable from the combination of water and coffee, French coffee is certainly the result of one of the most fascinating alchemies. Let’s discover the secrets of the French Press and see how it works.
It’s amazing how these few ingredients can give life to so many different taste experiences. A range of factors and methods enables you to extract a bouquet of unique fragrances from the numerous aromatic components of the coffee beans, therefore varying both the density and the taste of the beverage. The French Press, while being little known in Italy, is highly appreciated in its country of origin and by real connoisseurs all over the world. It is even said that if you have the opportunity to taste this special brew at least once you will be truly amazed and will never be able to forget it.
So what is the French Press? It’s a coffee maker that has very little to do with a Moka pot, even if it was also invented and patented by an Italian, Attilio Calimani, in 1929. Featuring an elegant design, it consists of a cylindrical glass beaker with a lid and a plunger that has a knob on the top and a wire mesh filter on the bottom. How does it work? Here are the five basic steps to make an impeccable French coffee.
- Add the coarsely ground coffee to the beaker. The coffee grind should not be too fine otherwise the smaller particles would seep through the filter, obstructing it and resulting in a murky brew.
- Bring the water to a boil, remove from the stove and wait until it stops bubbling. Pour it over the coffee that is already in the French Press. The temperature should be between 92 and 96°C or 199-205°F.
- Stir thoroughly, then put the lid on making sure that the plunger is pulled all the way up, just above the surface of the water.
- Leave in infusion for approx. 4 minutes. The longer it stays in infusion, the more oils, fats and aromas the hot water is able to extract from the grains and, therefore, the more the coffee is rich and strong.
- Finally press the plunger gently but firmly all the way down so that the ground coffee is retained on the bottom. Now you can pour the brew into your cup.
The beverage obtained is stronger, fuller in body and spicier than traditional long coffee because this method enables the aromatic and vegetable components of ground coffee to be extracted fully, giving the possibility to vary the amount of coffee and infusion time to your liking.
If you prefer, you can make a cold infusion by simply replacing hot water with water at room temperature. In this case, the infusion time is at least twelve hours. The result? A fragrant coffee that is less bitter, less strong and far less acidic and can be heated up when necessary.