How Does a French Press Work?


Quick Answer

A French press is a type of coffee maker made of a glass or metal carafe and a plunger that features a stainless-steel mesh screen. When the plunger is pushed down, the screen keeps the grounds separated at the bottom of the carafe, so only coffee can pour out.

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Full Answer

To make coffee in a French press, coarsely grind the coffee beans, and pour the proper amount into the carafe. Next, pour hot but not boiling water over the beans, and put the lid on the press, with the plunger fully raised and the filter on the lid pointed away from the spout to keep the heat in. Keep the plunger raised for around 4 or 5 minutes to allow the coffee to brew. When the coffee is ready, depress the plunger to separate the grounds from the coffee, and then serve immediately.

With a French press, it's important to only make the amount of coffee that can be drunk in 10 to 15 minutes or pour the coffee into a separated insulated carafe as soon as it's ready. This is because the grounds continue to infuse into the coffee even though they are technically separated, which leads to the coffee becoming quite bitter in a short time.

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