Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 10:53am Subject: Hello all, new here with some Q's about dialing in French Press
First off, Hello to you all. I've been reading these forums for a bit and thought I should join. I've only recently been getting into better coffee. I've always just used supermarket coffee with a drip machine or the keurig. I've discovered a whole new world with good beans and freshly grinding them...I'm hooked. I've made some good drip coffee so far.
So I picked up a 32oz french press last week. I've had NO luck with the recommended 7 scoops for it. The coffee was extremely weak. BTW I was doing a 4 min steep. I got a scale the other day and thermometer. This morning I think I got the coffee in the ballpark of where I want it. I used 32oz water heated to 205 and 64g of Thailand beans. I poured 1/2 way. 1 min. Poured the rest of the water and steeped for 3 minutes. The added beans made a huge improvement in the body of the coffee. I really dig the way FP coffee feels but I'm not quite at the rich boldness that I read about. Could It be possible that I need to use even more beans than 8g/ 4oz.?
Now about my grind. I'm using a Hairo Skerton. The grinds are very inconsistent at these coarser levels. I would say about 75% are the right size and the other 25% are smaller, even powder like. I'm no coffee tasting expert by any means but todays coffee tasted somewhat bitter. This could be due to over-extraction from the smaller or powder part of the grind right? Would a real grinder make a difference with this? I've been reading about grinders and will post some specific questions in the grinder section of the forum.
The 32oz press is just way to much coffee for me. Can i just use less water with this one or invest in a smaller one. I would like to get a 16oz espro.
I really appreciate any advice you all can give me.
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 12:55pm Subject: Re: Hello all, new here with some Q's about dialing in French Press
Weigh the water as well as the beans. Then use a ratio of 17:1 water to beans. (To start, you might want to adjust later.)
Pour half the water, wait 1 minute, then push the bloom down back under water with the back of a spoon or something. Pour the rest of the water. Put the press cover on and plunge just enough to get all the grounds under water.
At 3:30 start plunging *slowly* so it takes 30 seconds. Pour gently. This will reduce the amount of fine grinds in the cup.
How fresh are the beans? Using fresh beans is key. Check the roast date on the bag. If the bag doesn't have one then you have no idea when they were roasted, so find better beans. Generally you want to be done with the beans within 2 weeks of the roast date, so buy accordingly. (Yes, you can go longer, but for now use the rule of 2 weeks.)
If the 32oz press is making too much, you can make less. But the plunger will only go so far down so you will be wasting some coffee. If you wish for 16oz of coffee in your cup, plan on losing about 4oz between what soaks into the grinds and what is wasted below the plunger's lowest point. Try 580 grams of water, which would means about 34 grams of coffee at 17:1.
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 4:48pm Subject: Re: Hello all, new here with some Q's about dialing in French Press
I will try out the 580 grams of water>34 grams of coffee tomorrow morning. The beans were roasted on 1/24 so I'm right out of the 2 week mark. I'll be ordering more this week. I have beans from La Colombe now. Gonna try something different next time.
MWJB Senior Member Joined: 1 Jun 2013 Posts: 205 Location: UK Expertise: I like coffee
Grinder: Rocky, Lido, Porlex, Hario... Drip: Not enough room to list...
Posted Mon Feb 10, 2014, 1:24am Subject: Re: Hello all, new here with some Q's about dialing in French Press
Now about my grind. I'm using a Hario Skerton. The grinds are very inconsistent at these coarser levels. I would say about 75% are the right size and the other 25% are smaller, even powder like. I'm no coffee tasting expert by any means but todays coffee tasted somewhat bitter. This could be due to over-extraction from the smaller or powder part of the grind right? Would a real grinder make a difference with this? I've been reading about grinders and will post some specific questions in the grinder section of the forum.
It's very unlikely indeed that you are overextracting. If you have a very large difference between large & smaller particles (normal at coarse settings for Hario & Porlex grinders) then grind in a finer range, or as fine as you can tolerate before you start getting an unpleasant amount of solids in the cup. Maybe a click, or two either side of a turn out may work for you? I typically grind around 6 clicks out on the Hario Slim for French press & steep much longer than 4 minutes.
It's a good idea to taste the steeping coffee intermittently and pour when you are happy, reduces the odds of unpleasant results.
Posted Mon Feb 10, 2014, 5:55am Subject: Re: Hello all, new here with some Q's about dialing in French Press
Just did the ratio you recommended this am. What a great cup of coffee. For some reason my grind seemed slightly more consistent also. I don't know if it actually was or not. You advised me to push the plunger down slightly so the grounds are completely submerged. I never did this before but it makes sense. This may have improved it as well. My previous ratio was about 15:1 (if my math is correct) so maybe that attributed to my slightly bitter taste. I'm not sure.
MWJB I will try grinding finer with a little longer steep also.
Posted Mon Feb 10, 2014, 6:59am Subject: Re: Hello all, new here with some Q's about dialing in French Press
A technique that I also learned from MWJB to slightly reduce the solids when grinding finer, is to pour through the filter without pressing it to the bottom of the french press. I sometimes use this with my daughter's Bodum.
This technique forces much of the coffee through a thicker layer of coffee grounds and therefore filters out more fine particles.
When you do reach the point of wanting to make a further improvement in your coffee, the Espo press you mentioned is definitely the way to go. Because of the Espro's very effective two stage filtering you can use your hand grinder, which lacks a lower bearing support, at finer and therefore more consistent setting.
emradguy Senior Member Joined: 31 Mar 2011 Posts: 3,303 Location: Houston Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2 Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,... Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon Feb 10, 2014, 3:31pm Subject: Re: Hello all, new here with some Q's about dialing in French Press
Orphan Espresso sells a lower bearing mod for the Skerton to improve it's press performance. The mod is $15 from them, and they have a video tutorial showing how to install it on their website. This mod will give you more consistency in coarse grind. With or without it though, I agree the Espro press is a great way to further improve the cup.
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
Posted Mon Feb 10, 2014, 5:15pm Subject: Re: Hello all, new here with some Q's about dialing in French Press
MWJB- I just got done doing some test grinds with the skerton. I was about 1 1/2 turns out this am, where the grind size was inconsistent. I have it around 3/4 turn out now and the particles seem much more uniform in size. A lot smaller though. Tomorrow morning I will try this finer grind with the same steep time. I have a few questions. Is the only reason people grind coarse with a press, because of solids in the cup? What happens extraction wise when you have a finer grind? Also what happens to taste with a longer steep in general?
VernS- I will give what your saying a try. So far I haven't had any issues with fine particles in my press...probably because I haven't tried it with a finer grind. We'll see what happens tomorrow morning.
emradguy- I've seen the lower bearing mod and read about the claims to its improvement with coarse grinding. I know its only $15 but I don't think hand grinding is for me lol. I'm looking to get a grinder (maybe Vario) in the near future. I'm going to play around with my current press for a few more weeks and see what I can get out of it then maybe pony up for the Espro.
One other thing I forgot to mention...not to get off track....but I was saying how good my morning cup of coffee was. So immediately after pouring my morning cup I poured the remainder into my Stanley thermos. I took a swig out of it after it being in there for 20-30 mins and it had an...."off" taste. I can't put my finger on it but it wasn't right. Maybe the SS is affecting it. I don't know.
Pourista Senior Member Joined: 20 Dec 2012 Posts: 19 Location: Davis, CA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Mishka's Medium Roast
Posted Mon Feb 10, 2014, 8:24pm Subject: Re: Hello all, new here with some Q's about dialing in French Press
I agree with you that french press is by far the way to go for home brewed coffee. I've noticed with my fp that if my cup sits for a few minutes, the taste changes much quicker than machined brew or pour over. I believe it has to do with the grinds settling in the cup ( I usually have a nice layer at the bottom of my cup). As far as a SS cup, mine always adds a weird "tinge" to the taste. If you go from a porcelain cup to a SS thermos, the taste difference is noticeable. That's my experience anyway.
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