Howdy my coffee friends, today I’m going to show you how to make coffee in a cafetiere. But before we get started we need to know what a cafetiere is. A cafetiere is a French press, hence the French name cafetiere, and the French press also goes by the name of coffee pot, press pot or coffee plunger depending where in the world you are located.
So this tutorial on making coffee might easily have been called how to make coffee in a French press. And with that little definition on what is a cafetiere we can get started on how to make coffee in a coffee pot. As the name would suggest, you need a coffee pot or a French press, and the one I’ve included in the image to this post is my favorite cafetiere. It is the Frieling French press, or more specifically the Frieling Ultimo stainless steel French press. You can buy this cafetiere here at a great discount.
Items needed in how to make coffee in a cafetiere
I like this particular Frieling coffee pot because it is both stainless steel and double walled. It is easy to clean and keeps your French press coffee hot for some time. Nevertheless, that is a bit of a meander, so let’s get back to how to make coffee in a coffee plunger. You need your coffee plunger as indicated, you also need a silver coffee spoon or other coffee spoon. In fact a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon will work just as well too. You will also need coffee beans of your choice, a source of hot water, a coffee grinder and a glass coffee cup or or other coffee mug of your choice.
For coffee beans, I really like 100 Kona coffee or any other high quality coffee beans. The reason for this, is because when you make coffee in a cafetiere or French press, you actually get the best coffee in my opinion. This is because all of the oils and flavors in the coffee beans are allowed to mix in the water and aren’t trapped by any filters as the would be if you make coffee in a drip coffee maker.
For the hot water I like to use a kettle either stove top or electric and if I’m really feeling fancy, the water I use to make coffee in a Bodum is distilled. At the very least I like to use filtered water as you really want the water to have no taste either from the pipes in your home or the minerals in the water itself. When you want to have the best coffee flavor profile you need to minimize any contaminants, and this includes flavor contaminants that can be found in the water itself.
Now in truth, any potable water is fine for making coffee in a coffee press, but the purer the better if you want to get all highfalutin 🙂 Another important aspect in how to make coffee in a Bodum, and the name Bodum has practically become synonymous with the French press, is to use conical burr grinder. Burr grinders work best because the burrs grind at slower rpms in relation to coffee blade grinders and they also give a more consistent coffee grind size.
As you can imagine, having more uniform coffee grounds will allow for better and more accurate flavor extraction of the espresso coffee beans or any other coffee beans you’ve chosen to use. The conical burr grinder like the Dualit coffee grinder or the Capresso Infinity burr coffee grinder, or any of the other good brands allow you to adjust the size of the coffee grind. This is important because when learning how to make coffee in a cafetiere you need the coarsest coffee grind possible so that the grinds don’t sully up the coffee you’ll be drinking.
Now you can use fine ground coffee if you wish, just remember you’ll have to adjust the time and/or the amount of coffee you use in your cafetiere if you go this route. And if you have only got a blade coffee grinder then one tip I suggest is to pulse grind the coffee and shake the blade grinder gently after every pulse of 5 to 10 seconds so as to mix up the beans and help create a more consistent coffee grind.
Alternatively, you can use the store burr grinders where you buy your coffee beans from and put the setting on “French press” or the “coarsest” coffee grind possible. That will also work.
The quick recipe for how to make coffee in a cafetiere
Here is the general rule of thumb for the amount of coffee to use per volume of water for excellent cafetiere coffee. I generally use around a heaping tablespoon of coarse ground coffee for each 8 ounces (236 ml) of water I put in the cafetiere. Now because coffee is such a personal experience and the flavors so different from each bean, you can and should experiment with this coffee to water ratio. I will often use as much as 2 or 3 tablespoons per 8 ounces of water if I’m feeling wild and crazy 🙂
Okay, so here’s how to make coffee in a cafetiere. Pull out the coffee plunger and lid which is combined as one and add your ground coffee into the bottom of the cafetiere. Then add your just boiled water to the ground coffee that is in the cafetiere and fill your cafetiere until about an inch or 2 from the top. Place the coffee plunger and lid into the cafetiere making sure to rest the coffee plunger’s screen just on the top level of the water inside the cafetiere. You want to allow the ground coffee beans to mix freely within the cafetiere with all the water so that the maximum flavor can be extracted from the particular roasted coffee beans you’re using.
Allow the cafetiere to steep the coffee for around 3 minutes. Now if you’re using finely ground coffee beans then you’ll want to let the beans and water steep for maybe around 2.5 minutes or so.
Okay, so when the 3 minutes is up, push the coffee plunger down so that the wire mesh filter on the cafetiere plunger is at the bottom having trapped all the coffee grounds with it. You can now pour your delicious coffee and enjoy.
Final tips on how to make coffee in a cafetiere
I recommend that you drink your French press coffee within the first 15 minutes or so after the coffee has brewed or steeped. So including the 3 minutes of coffee steeping, drink your coffee within 20 minutes. If you can’t do that and want to enjoy more coffee from your cafetiere later, then pour it into a separate thermos or mug to keep for later. You can reheat it later on the stove or, don’t tell the coffee snobs ;), in the microwave.
The reason to drink your coffee within 15 to 20 minutes is because the coffee grounds will turn the coffee bitter the longer the coffee grounds are kept in the coffee pot. Even though your French press plunger has separated the coffee grounds at the bottom, they’re still in contact with the hot water and all flavor including the bitterness will be leaching out after some time. Like Uncle Joe who’s coming off a bender!
For the freshest and best tasting coffee imaginable, grind your coffee just before making coffee in a French press and at the very least try and grind only as much as you can consume within one week.
If you’re trying to develop your palette for coffee tastings then aspirate coffee into your mouth by sucking in air as you drink in the coffee. This will help cool the coffee but it will also spray the coffee into your mouth so that your mouth is coated with the coffee and you can enjoy the subtle nuances in the flavor profile of the particular coffee you are enjoying. Do this without adulterating your coffee with milk and sugar.
I like sugar in my coffee, but when I’m trying new coffee beans for the first time I always take an espresso shot of the coffee brewed in a French press and then slurp it in to get the flavor characteristics of that particular coffee before I add sugar. This way I can really taste the berries, or fruits or cocoa, woods, spices in the particular coffee I’m trying.
And honestly, I used to think that coffee tasting fruity, like having undertones of blackberries or like my favorite Ethiopian Sidamos, having citrus undertones to be absolute hogwash, but honestly, when you start to develop a palette for coffee by brewing different coffee beans in the French press you get to appreciate the subtle hints of these kinds of flavors in the coffee. Scout’s honor 🙂
Well, I could go on as you can imagine about how to make coffee in a cafetiere. Everyone should try it at least once, and you should at least brew every new coffee in a French press to truly appreciate its delicate subtleties. Thanks for joining me this far if you’re still here. Bottoms up!