Fusion Beans
@fusionbeans

COFFEE 101

In this section of the site, I’ll try to lay out some basics about coffee. So if you want to learn how to use a French press, or learn some different dosing techniques for pulling espresso, or you want to know a bit about the history of espresso, those kinds of things can be found here. I will periodically update this section as time goes on, so feel free to email me with things you feel should be posted here, questions you have, or things you think should be edited. My email address is sean@fusionbeans.com and I’d love to hear from you.

HOW TO BREW USING A FRENCH PRESS

Let me first start out by saying that everyone has their own palate, and, subsequently, their own brewing style. The following are guidelines to help you find just that, a brewing style to fit your palate.

First, let’s start with the materials you will need:

  • Freshly roasted coffee
  • Fresh, clean drinking water (Something like Crystal Geyser, Ozarka, or the like. Stay away from distilled waters, as they don’t have the proper amounts of minerals that aid in good coffee extraction.)
  • Coffee Grinder
  • A French press
  • A tablespoon
  • A scale (Optional, however, recommended for accuracy.)
  • Digital Thermometer (Optional, however, recommended for accuracy.)
  • Electric kettle, stovetop kettle, or some other thing to boil water in
  • Electric timer, or clock

Now then, start by putting an appropriate amount of water on to boil. I would suggest boiling some extra water to use to pre-heat your press. While the water is boiling, measure out your coffee. Standard ratio of coffee to water is about 7 grams, or 0.25 ounces of coffee per cup of water. For those of you without a scale, that’s just a bit less than a tablespoon of coffee per cup of water. (This is one of those variables that can be manipulated to taste.) Grind your coffee at a course grind. Once the water has boiled, use a bit of it to pre-heat your press. Once the press is sufficiently warmed, pour the water out, and get it good and dry. Put your ground coffee in the press and get ready to add the hot water.

At this step it is important to remember your water temperature. Water that is too hot will over-extract your coffee, leaving your cup to have significantly more bitter compounds than desired. Conversely, water that is not hot enough will leave you with a weak, under-extracted cup. Suggested water temperatures run between 194°- 208° F. Using a digital thermometer will help ensure accurate and consistent water temperature, cup after cup. (Again, this step can be manipulated to taste. For example a cup brewed at 194°F will leave you with a more tea like cup of coffee with a bit more clarity, whereas a cup brewed at 208°F will leave you with more full bodied cup, although it may be a bit more muddled.)

Once you have poured your water in, the coffee grounds will “bloom” to the top. Use a spoon to quickly stir the grounds into the water, and place the plunger on top of the press. Use a timer or clock to time your brew. Standard practice is about 4 minutes. At the coffee shop, we set the timers for 3 ½ minutes to keep the cup nice and clean, but again, brew to taste here. After brew time is up, press the plunger down, pour some brew into a pre-heated cup, and savor the magical elixir that is coffee.