French press perfection

I never drank coffee until I got to graduate school. And even in the beginning it wasn’t a necessary endeavor, just a social outing, a great excuse to gab with friends about life.

But these days, it’s become a bit more than a casual beverage choice.

First I bought individual packets of instant Folgers flavored coffee to bring with me to school. Add some hot water and voilà!

Then I found a coffee maker in the “free” section of our apartment complex and bought the cheapest coffee I could find at Walmart.

Next I invested in a French press and upgraded to an extra bold Starbucks ground coffee.

Pic from Jellaluna on Flickr.

What’s next? I’m investigating how to make really good pressed coffee. Here’s what I learned this morning through a little Internet research:

1.In the 1900s, the French press was called a “cafeolette,” a name not quite as cool at the “cafetière à piston”–which it’s also been called–but far better than the once common moniker: “coffee plunger.” Yuck.

2. Use a coarse grind to make sure that the mesh screen filters the coffee grounds and separates the liquid from the sediments.

Pic from Petrusia1 on Flickr.

3. Coffee is mostly water, so go for fresh, preferably filtered “high quality H2O.” According to, the ideal temperature for extracting the optimum flavor from the ground coffee is between 195 F and 200 F.

4. Aim to cover all of the grounds relatively equally so that they’re fully saturated for the most robust flavor.

5. Warm your mug with the hot water left over after pouring.

6. Steep for four minutes for a large pot, only two to three for a smaller pot.

7. Push the plunger straight down to prevent the grinds from escaping above the filter and into your coffee.

Pic from uberculture on Flickr.

8. Pour into your favorite mug, sip quietly with a good book and reflect on life.

Need pics? No worries. to the rescue.

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