French Press Technique

French Press, Vac Pot, Drip or any other - air your views and results

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Postby Gouezeri » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:52 pm

Yes but in the technique that we're discussing here, you've scooped off a lot anyway. That, and I would also think it would be easy to use a finer screen as there should be much less resistance.
It would be interesting to see whether there was any difference on extraction, more than any fines at the bottom of the cup.

Thanks for the link Sys. Damn my gadget-ways, I'm half tempted out of sheer curiosity :lol: Unless Jim has already got one, wouldn't put it past him :wink: From some of the comments I've read, it does look as though they had a nice idea, but didn't quite sort out the execution. Pity.
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Postby kingseven » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:59 pm

Anette had a Tirra, which I broke. It was rubbish though - a lot of the water would sit underneath the mesh and never infuse properly, which looked weird and tasted bad.
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Postby Gouezeri » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:09 pm

Heh, now there's a surprise, who'd have guessed that there was a coffee gadget you guys hadn't tried! :wink:
Implementation aside, did the principle seem to have any merit?
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Postby charmon » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:17 pm

sometimes it doesnt matter if its good or bad, you just end up buying it anyway... ;)
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Postby Hiwakey » Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:12 pm

RE the hard water, always used a Pozzani twin filter setup when I lived in a hard water area. Never had a problem after that.
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Postby KahawaShaun » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:30 pm

Great idea on the skimming - I've always done it when cupping samples, why the hell not at home??? Mad. Another point - clean the filter/mesh!!
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Postby syscrusher » Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:26 am

Coffeegeek weighing in on this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfN116i4mVg

I'd be interested to hear what other home users are finding using these techniques - is there less sludge in the end? For me, maybe it's less, but it's still there.
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Postby al_bongo » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:56 pm

I'm unconvined myself about significantly less "sludge" using the "skimming" method.

What I skim off the top seems to be pretty coarsely ground material. It would seem to me that the fines would be more evenly distributed throughout the whole pot, more like a suspension.

Technique might come in here, but the major source of fines in the brew has to come at the end of the pressing stage, when you are in effect pressing down on a plug of coffee. The end pressure on the compacted coffee grounds must then force more of the fines through the mesh of the filter.

Granted this can be minimized by not fully pressing down on the "puck" but it's still goning to happen.

These techniqes smack more of ritual than science to me. And you end up with a couple of dirty spoons, which you could have used for your cereal!
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Postby lukas » Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:42 pm

I'm all for rituals and stuff, but side-by-side testing clearly shows the difference here. Having less fines in the beginning also massively helps the taste. I have brewed one normal FP, and one with grounds sifted through a kitchen sieve. The second one tasted so very much nicer than the first one ...
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Postby al_bongo » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:10 pm

[quote="lukas" side-by-side testing clearly shows the difference here.[/quote]

Wondered what for you the clear difference was? Taste? Residual fines in the cup? Both?
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Postby lukas » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:33 am

Sludge (very badly affecting the mouthfeel, and contributing to a more bitter taste) on the unsifted press, and a very crispy clear cup on the sifted side - without the sludge and bitterness it creates, it is much more easy for me to enjoy the coffee. I think that's also one of the reasons I often go for paper filtered coffee at the moment - my grinder is not really up to grinding consistently coarse (after all it's an espresso grinder), and after James gave me a cup of his french pressed Muchoki Peaberry I was kind of ruined for the 'usual' french press. Hell freezes over before I go back to the sludgy, muddy, bitter and unclean cup profile! :)
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Postby bruceb » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:31 am

lukas wrote:Hell freezes over before I go back to the sludgy, muddy, bitter and unclean cup profile! :)


It's possible that at the temperatures we are seeing around here hell will freeze over anyway, but Lukas, I would be happy to send you the Aeropress if you would like a clean cup of coffee. :D
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Postby lukas » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:06 am

Your predictions tend to become true Bruce, please be careful with that ;)
Thanks to Alan, my Aeropress is now back in working condition - when I say paper filtered I use it both for normal melitta filtered and aeropress'ed when I press a full mug, as the flavour profile is quite similar (the latter one being more tasty if all goes well, but worse if I mess up).

But a very coarsely ground Muchoki, prepared like in James video ... that one is a whole different class of 'crisp and clean cup' than anything else. Darn, now I want one of those again!
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Postby dsc » Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:49 pm

Hi guys,

I just bought some lovely Yirgacheffe Sidamo from Monmouth, tried it as french press and I have to say it was absolutely rubbish. Bitter, none of that lovely fruit taste that I was surprised by today when tasting it with Jason (thanks again!) from a paper filter. I'm guessing there's something wrong with either my grind (rather coarse) or the FP (the method). In addition recently I can't really get any coffee sludge to gather on top of the brew. After 4min almost everything sinks and I'm left with only around 5mm of sludge on top. Does this mean the grind is too coarse? That Yirga from today was really fresh and the water I used for the brew was 92*C (24g for 400ml).

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Postby Bombcup » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:06 am

I think grinders could be causing folks problems here. The common wisdom seems to be that anything less than commercial quality kit is no good for espresso but you could use a pestle and mortar for press. Consistency of grind size is just as vital for press as it is for espresso (in fact some variation in espresso grind is desirable to produce a nicely mottled head) and because espresso grinders are not designed to grind coarsely they produce wild varitions in particle size when you open up the space between the burrs.

Take a look at a FP grind from an espresso type grinder and compare it to that from a big dinner plate burr 3 phase mo-fo Ditting and the Ditting looks almost perfectly uniform. Brew both of them and the difference in flavour profile and mouthfeel is quite astonishing, which suggests to me that grind quality is the single most important factor in FP brewing.
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