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A Cafetiere Brewing Guide

cafetiere (french press) brewing guide

How to make the perfect cafetiere coffee

How to use a cafetiere to get the best results from your coffee.

Using a cafetiere, or french press, to brew your coffee is a fantastic and cost effective way of achieving a really nice cup of coffee. You can pick up a cheap cafetiere pretty much anywhere, although be aware that the filter mesh may not be fine enough in the cheaper ones to trap the finer granules; so you may end up with some stray grounds floating around in your cup. My advice for using a cafetiere is to go for the most expensive one you can afford that can be taken apart for easy cleaning. Coffee grounds tend to get stuck in the gap between the filter mesh and the metal plate and they're a nuisance to remove if you can't dismantle it.

The cafetiere is a very simple method to use, but there's still a technique to get the very best results. Here is the definitive guide to brewing a great cup of our speciality coffee in the cafetiere.

Equipment to use

  • Pebble and Pine freshly roasted coffee beans or medium coarse ground coffee
  • A cafetiere
  • A coffee grinder (if you have coffee beans)
  • A kettle
  • A kitchen Scale (with tare function)

The Cafetiere Brewing Process

  1. Fill the kettle and boil. Make sure there is more water than is needed to fill the cafetiere. You'll need some of the extra water to pre-warm the cafetiere - it'll improve the extraction.

  2. If you have whole coffee beans, while the kettle is boiling, grind the beans on a fairly coarse setting. Since the cafetiere employs the immersion method the coffee beans need to be coarsely ground. Too fine and the plunger will be hard to push down and the coffee will be over-extracted.

  3. Once the kettle has boiled, pre-heat the cafetiere by pouring some of the boiling water into it and swirling around. Discard the hot water.

  4. Using the scales, measure out the coffee. If the scales are the flat kind you can stand the cafetiere on them and tare (i.e. reset to zero).  As a rough guide you'll need approximately 30 to 35 grams of ground coffee to 500ml of water. You can experiment with the amount of coffee you use to get the strength you like.

  5. Now pour the hot water into the cafetiere so that it just covers the ground coffee granules in the bottom. It should have been at least 45 seconds since the kettle finished boiling. This is important because you don't want to pour boiling water over the coffee. You should see the ground coffee expand and bubbles appear on the surface. This is the "bloom" and lets you know that the coffee is fresh. The bubbles are from trapped Carbon Dioxide that is escaping. If there are no bubbles, don't worry - you'll still get a nice cup of coffee.

  6. Give the grounds a gentle stir with a wooden spoon and allow them to bloom for 30 seconds. This time allows most of the gas to escape and ensures you get a fresh tasting cup.

  7. Add the rest of the water to the top of the cafetiere and position the lid on top. But don't plunge just yet. We need to wait for it to brew!

  8. Wait for 4 minutes to allow the coffee to brew inside your cafetiere. Again you can vary the amount of time to suit your taste.

  9. Now push the cafetiere plunger gently down. There should be a small amount of resistance. If it's hard to push down then the coffee is too finely ground. If there is absolutely no resistance then it is too coarse. How you grind your coffee is extremely important for getting the best results.

  10. When the cafetiere plunger is all the way down, serve immediately and enjoy!

As you can see, the cafetiere is a simple and effective method to use and it allows for some experimentation until you get your perfect cup. If you want some fresh coffee beans to go in it, why not check out our freshly roasted coffee beans in our online shop.