Cafetière brew guide

Cafetières are a staple in most homes and a beautifully simple way to make coffee. For those make their coffee using a cafetière – also known as the French Press – there are a few simple dos and don’ts. If you usually just chuck a guesstimated amount ground coffee into your cold cafetière, slosh in some boiling water, give it a couple of minutes, press the plunger and hope for the best, then read on: this guide’s for you.

What you’ll need.

  • A cafetière. Preferably the right size - don’t make a litre of coffee and reheat it throughout the day… at least not if you want a decent tasting brew!

  • Kitchen weighing scales.

  • A wooden stirrer

The daily grind

For a cafetière brew, the beans have to be ground coarser than any other brew method. You’re looking for the consistency of grit. The coarser texture allows the flavours to release without any bitterness. Ideally buy whole beans and grind them just before use. We can supply the beans to you either whole, or, if you’ve not yet invested in a grinder, pre-ground for cafetière.

How to make the perfect cup of cafetière coffee

Step 1

Put the kettle on! Warm your cafetière using about a cupful of water that’s just off the boil (ideally around 94 degrees). This will ensure the water used for your coffee doesn’t lose temperature when it’s poured into the cafetière – something that could impair the brewing process.

Step 2

Meanwhile, if you’re using whole beans, set your grinder to a coarse setting – this will vary from machine to machine and you may need to experiment a little – and only grind as much coffee as you need for that serving. As a rule, for a filled 1 litre cafetière you’ll want around 60 - 70g of ground coffee. Use this ratio for other sizes. So for 250ml cafetière use around 17g of ground coffee.

Getting the correct ratio of ground coffee to water is key.

Getting the correct ratio of ground coffee to water is key.

Step 3

Throw away the water used to warm the cafetière and add the appropriate amount of ground coffee using the 60 - 70g per litre ratio. Pour about one third of the just off the boil water into the cafetière. If you’re not sure about getting a just off the boil temperature, just wait three to four minutes after the kettle has boiled.

Step 4

Allow the coffee to ‘bloom’ for a minute. This lets the gasses release from the coffee. Then give the mix a stir – a wooden spoon or spatula is ideal – before adding the remainder of the water.

The ‘bloom’ is the release of carbon dioxide from coffee. Blooming is an important step to producing a great tasting cup of coffee.

The ‘bloom’ is the release of carbon dioxide from coffee. Blooming is an important step to producing a great tasting cup of coffee.

Step 5

Leave for a further three minutes. Break the crust and give it another small stir then plunge! If it is very hard to plunge, your grind is probably too fine.

Step 6

Now simply serve immediately into a warmed cup, add milk if desired, and enjoy! The key is to serve it straight away. If the coffee sits too long it will become bitter and over extracted.

Eve MacFarlane