The cafetiere is one of the most popular ways to brew freshly ground coffee. But why is it beloved by coffee drinkers, and what sets it apart from any other brewing method? In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the cafetiere, including the best way to use it.
What is a cafetiere?
Commonly known as a cafetiere or a French press, this is a simple way to brew coffee. It is a heatproof jug that has a filter/strainer attached to the lid. You use it by plunging the strainer to the bottom of the jug once the coffee has brewed, which separates the coffee grounds from the perfectly brewed coffee at the top.
Why do home coffee drinkers love it?
- Size – One of the main reasons why the cafetiere is the perfect brewing method for some people is that it is very easy to brew multiple cups of coffee. While methods such as the Aeropress typically only make one cup of coffee at a time, the French press can easily make up to eight cups, depending on the size of you’ve purchased! This is ideal if you want to make delicious, high-quality coffee for a group. However, you can also purchase smaller cafetieres which are perfect for making one to two cups at a time.
- Flavour and body – Another way that the French press sets itself apart is the flavour that it creates. Unlike other coffee brewing methods, the cafetiere creates a coffee that has a richer body and flavour. (For an explanation of ‘body’ and other coffee terms, head to our glossary!) While this may be too rich for some people, others love the heavy mouthfeel and earthier flavours created by the cafetiere method.
- Beginner friendly – This brewing method is particularly good for people who are beginning to explore the world of speciality coffee. French presses are inexpensive, don’t take up much space in your kitchen, and are very easy to use. You can make a great cup of coffee even if you’re not a cafe-level barista! Many are also dishwasher-safe, making it a convenient way to brew regular cups of coffee.
- Portability – Finally, the cafetiere is also quite portable. While some have heat-proof glass, others are made from sturdier Pyrex, or even stainless steel or aluminium. This makes it perfect for taking to the office or when travelling.
- Household staple – here in the UK, you can almost always guarantee that someone has a cafetiere in their house. So if you’re the one in charge of coffee-making when you’re visiting your friends then this might be a good option.
How do you use it?
Here’s a quick video of our founder James showing you what the coffee coffee recipes don’t tell you using the ultimate cafetière guide.
What you’ll need:
- Digital scales – this is to weigh your coffee. It’s not absolutely essential but it’ll dramatically improve it to get the best coffee flavour out as you’ll know exactly how much coffee to water you’re using. Once you’ve mastered the recipe you can then replicate for the best cup of coffee daily.
- A cafetiere (of course)
- Freshly ground speciality coffee beans – these will need to be ground coarser than you would for other brewing methods such as the Aeropress. If you order from our shop and you don’t have a grinder at home, that’s not a problem. We grind fresh coffee beans right before shipping them to you.
- Filtered water – for more information about why filtered water is the best for brewing coffee, head here!
- Pour 500ml of hot water (approx 93 degrees) on your 30g of coarsely ground coffee and let it sit for 4 minutes.
- After 4 mins have passed, take two tablespoons and stir the coffee. The coffee crust that has formed on the top will start to fall to the bottom. Using the two tablespoons just scoop out whatever is left on the top and put it in the bin/recycle it.
- Then for the best results, let the coffee brew for a further 5 minutes so the coffee cools slightly whilst the remaining coffee sediment settles on the bottom.
- Put in your plunger, but only press it halfway. Be gentle when pouring as you don’t want to stir up the grounds that have sunk to the bottom. This will give you a much cleaner tasting coffee without any grounds floating around your cup.
How to overcome common coffee-brewing problems:
It is important that you make sure you’ve got the perfect grind for your cafetiere. If your coffee is ground too fine, it will create harsh bitter flavours in the cup leading to over-extraction plus, you’re more likely to get sediment in your cup. However, if your grind is too coarse, your coffee may under-brewed, weak in taste and it won’t unlock all those delicious flavours that have been roasted to perfection. The other common cafetiere brewing problems is to do with coffee to water ratio (link to previous article discussing this). This is a really important factor in both the body, strength and flavour in your end cup of coffee. This is why scales are so great and important for that perfect cup.
One of the few problems that you can have with a cafetiere is the coffee cooling whilst it brews. However, this is easily solved by pre-heating the cafetiere with boiling water before hand. We’d recommend adding the hot water before you grind your coffee beans, and then discarding the water from the vessel before you add your freshly ground coffee. This helps maintain a stable temperature.
Another important tip is to make sure that you thoroughly wash your French press after use. It is very easy for grounds to get stick to the coffee filter and walls of the vessel. If you don’t clean it properly, this will lead to sediment in your cup. You’ll also want to make sure that oils from the coffee also haven’t built up, as this will give every subsequent cup an off flavour.
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