Step One recommended that I pour heated water (not boiling) into the press and the mug I plan to use, to warm it up. What was I supposed to do after the minute of warming up? Do I just dump out the water into the sink? That felt wasteful, and I just spent time warming up that water. Plus, I have like the world’s smallest kettle and if I didn’t have enough water to fill the press, I would have to start all over. I decided to pour it into a tall mug that I wasn’t planning to drink my coffee from.
After adding the grounds of a mere 2.5 teaspoons and filling the press with water, I then poured the rest of the water from the kettle into the tall mug to see how much was actually left in the kettle. It wasn’t a lot. Next time I’ll just reuse the water that I poured to warm up the press. Or maybe I’ll just skip that step, I’m not sure if that actually helped.
I stirred the grounds with a wooden spoon and placed the cover on top of the press and set the clock. Let’s start at 3.5 minutes, I thought, a good measurement between the suggested 3-5 minutes. After the timer went off, I pushed down the plunger and poured out the first cup.
Overall, the process wasn’t too intimidating for my first try. But I would definitely need to tweak it a little on my next brewing session. I might be able to multi-task my morning routine, preparing the coffee while I feed the cats, but it’s a few more steps than my Trader Joe’s instant coffee.
Final result: the flavor was great, but it somehow tasted watery at the same time. I was torn between hating it and liking it, so I planned to make some changes and try it again.
Now I know that some coffee aficionados out there might be crying because I didn’t grind the coffee fresh from beans, but let me explain. I’m already taking 10 minutes out of my day to make this coffee (time to warm up the water, wait a minute for the press to warm up, add the coffee, wait another 3-5 minutes for it to brew), I rationalized that for my first time using a press, I should use some already ground coffee.
I do have an electric hand-me-down grinder from the days when this beige-yellow color, Harvest Gold, was all the rage in appliances (my crock pot totally matches). A friend asked if I had a manual grinder. If I’m not taking the time to grind beans, there is no way I’m going to hand grind my beans.
For my second attempt at the French press, I made several changes including:
- Pumped up the amount of grounds from 2.5 teaspoons to 2.5 tablespoons.
- Did not warm up mug or french press
- Increased brewing time from 3.5 to 5 minutes
I felt confident that after only one read through the instructions, I could complete the process from memory. I put the kettle on the stove, and warmed the water. This time I added the new amount of grounds. It was way more than what the instructions recommended, but that’s how I like it — like mud. In my single serve coffee machine at work, I put about 3.5 to 4 tablespoons of coffee for 16 oz of water. Even the TJ’s instant recommends I use only 1 teaspoon and I always use about 1 tablespoon.
I placed the cover on and waited 5 minutes for the coffee to brew. Then I pushed the plunger down and poured a cup. The coffee was steamy, and the odor was rich with the scent of strong coffee, which I took as a good sign. But I was once again disappointed. The coffee tasted weak. How was this possible? How did it taste watery and strong at the same time? I was at a loss. Oh, shoot, I realized I missed a step and forgot to stir the grounds.