Coffee & Tea

French Press

To all FRENCH PRESS coffee masters.... in desperate need of your help!


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To all FRENCH PRESS coffee masters.... in desperate need of your help!

Mr Taster | Apr 17, 2008 03:48 PM

Hello 'hounds

At my LTA's (that's Lovely Tasting Assistant's) behest, I have decided to venture into the area of home barista.

To date, I have been failing miserably.

As one who is always up for a new food challenge and discovery, I invested in an 8 cup capacity Bodum french press ($31) and a Breville conical burr coffee grinder ($80).

I have done my research, but the coffee I have produced over the past few days has been terribly sour and bitter.

Here's my process-- please tell me what I am doing wrong:

1. Weigh out 4 oz of Brita filtered water per cup... 4 cups generally equates to two small coffee mugs' worth, or 16 oz in total. (Note that I am only brewing at approx 1/2 capacity of the total volume of the french press.

2. Please water in tea kettle and heat on stove.

3. Weigh out 8.5 grams per cup of whole beans (I have been alternating between Trader Joe's fair trade Ethiopian and French Roast)... that's 34 grams of whole beans in total

4. Place beans in hopper of grinder. NOTE: on the Breville, "medium grind" is recommended for french press, and "coarse grind" is recommended for percolator. I have my setting halfway between these two marks.

5. When water begins to boil, I grind beans (takes about 50 seconds in total).

6. Pour beans into french press and settle so they lay evenly.

7. Now that water has cooled a bit, I pour the hot water slowly and evenly on top of the grounds in the french press.

8. Stir about 6-8 times with a chopstick until brown froth appears at top

9. Add lid and plunger to unit and start 4 minute timer

10. After 4 minute alarm goes off, I slowly and evenly press down the plunger over about 15 seconds. (remember, french press is only 1/2 full)

11. Pour into 2 coffee cups and add (heated) milk

12. Coffee tasted both sour and bitter.

Please help-- what am I doing wrong here? And what precisely causes this sour and bitter flavor to begin with? I had always associated this flavor with old, stale diner coffee and never dreamed you could get it from a fresh home brew.

Please note that there are some local coffee shops near me which make great coffee, so I know what a good cup is supposed to taste like. I love a good smoky, slightly bitter dark roast but what I'm coming up with is truly foul.

Many thanks in advance!

Mr Taster

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