He is intrigued by how incredible some coffees can taste during a cupping session, even though the grounds have been left in the water for up to 30 minutes. Then he tries to translate the cupping experience to the French Press. Also keep in mind that a standard "cupping grind" is a few notches finer than traditional french press grind. Usually around 6.5 on a Ditting grinder. After reading and trying this, I'm left with a feeling that maybe what we have learnt about french press brewing is a result of old habit as opposed to research and trial/error.
For those of you not geeky enough to read through his whole post, I'm going to go straight to the method. Using Hoffmans findings, this is how I made the most delicious French Press I have yet had in my 20 years of loving coffee:
- Grind coffee to a size right between traditional French Press and Drip on a high quality burr grinder, immediately before brewing.
- Pour 340 grams of 200ºF filtered water over 22 grams of coffee into a small French Press.
- Do not agitate at all during the course of the 4 minute steep time, and don't cover up the press with the plunger lid.
- After the 4 minutes are up, break through the crust that forms on top and let grounds sink to the bottom. Remove the foam layer on top with a spoon.
Here comes the fun part:
- Let sit for 10 minutes.
That's right; do not decant, plunge or put lid on. Just wait.
After this time is up, gently pour through the mesh of the plunger without plunging.
This method goes against a lot of rules seemingly written in stone. "FP should have a course grind", "Temperature should not decline during brewing" and "quickly decant the FP after brewing, or it will overextract" None of this seems to be right.
Infact, the cup I got was sweet, full and delicious and not at all overextracted (19.2% according to the MoJo), at perfect drinking temperature, and way less sludge than normal.
Posted Sat Nov 13, 2010, 4:36am Subject: Re: French Press - simplified and revolutionized
This is James' video on the subject : CLICK HERE I didn't recall him advocating a long wait, but I haven't seen it in a while. Looks like this is another experiment (waiting 10 minutes)
I use an insulated (double-wall) press and what works for me is to steep the standard 4 minutes, then break the crust and remove the grounds and foam with my spoons (just like cupping). When that's done then I immediately plunge the press normally and decant the coffee to a thermos airpot for serving.
Posted Sat Nov 13, 2010, 6:59am Subject: Re: French Press - simplified and revolutionized
The video posted is two years old, and discusses a just slightly tweaked version of an "old school" press.
The biggest difference from the new experiments is you now don't plunge in any step in the process. And you don't decant, but wait 10 minutes after the "break and scoop" before serving. In addition to this, you use a finer grind than before. Right in between drip and traditional press.
I have compared these two methods extensively over the last week, and the non plunging method wins hands down every time. Feels like the whole plunging thing is pointless, and just stirs up the fines. This results in too much sludge and overall over agitation of the coffee.
Posted Mon Nov 22, 2010, 6:19pm Subject: Re: French Press - simplified and revolutionized
I've been meaning to try this out ever since I read Jesse Raub's similar article on French press brewing à la Café Solo, which also removes plunging from the equation. Just got some fresh coffee today; will edit this post when I get a-brewing in a few hours!
Update: I used 49th's Sidama Wottona Bultuma for testing @ a grind setting of 28 on the Maestro. Measurements were 76g/L. First impressions: acidity is a lot more pronounced that other French pressed-coffee I've had; the cup incredibly clean (way less sediment, even less than Mark Prince's modded technique). I'm liking what I'm tasting so far! However, I think I'll have to run a blind taste test w/ a control when I have the time, just so I'm not experiencing the placebo effect or anything.
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