The popularity of the french press is due to the fact that it is very simple to use and requires only a small amount of equipment.
While there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to coffee, there are generally accepted ratios that work most of the time.
Below, we outline the optimal coffee to water ratio for brewing plunger coffee.
We also walk you through some simple steps on how to make better plunger coffee and answer some frequently asked questions.
What coffee to water ratio should you use for plunger coffee?
The rule of thumb is a 1:15 coffee to water ratio for plunger coffee.
This means one gram of coffee for every 15 grams of water. This ratio is roughly equal to 3 tablespoons of coarse grounds for every 1 cup of water.
Adding more coffee will turn out in a more concentrated brew and vice versa.
We recommend that you experiment when brewing with your coffee plunger and figure out which ratio you prefer.
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Recipe: How to make plunger coffee for 2 people
1. Preheat your french press by adding freshly boiled water to the base and swirling it around with a spoon. Discard the water. This step will help by keeping your coffee warm for longer by tempering the glass of the plunger.
2. Grind the beans to a coarse size. As we are making a plunger for two people, we will be using six tablespoons of coffee (roughly 30 grams) and 2 cups (500ml) of water. Grind size is important to ensure the desired extraction of flavours and aromas.
3. Add your freshly ground coffee into the french press and pour a small amount of water on top. Make sure all the grounds are wet by doing a gentle stir with a spoon. Wait for 30 seconds. This step is called blooming.
4. Fill the plunger with the remaining water and leave it to sit for one minute without the lid on. The water temperature should be around 92 degrees celsius, just off the boil.
5. Place the lid on top of the plunger and wait. The standard brew time is 4 minutes but you can go up to 8 minutes depending on your flavour preferences.
6. After the desired time has passed, your brew should be ready. Push the plunger down slowly, making sure it goes almost all the way down.
7. Serve immediately and enjoy. If you feel that the coffee is too weak, add another tablespoon for a stronger brew or pour in less water next time you make it.
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Plunger Coffee FAQ
How much coffee should you use per person for plunger coffee?
The standard rule when it comes to making a french press is to use three tablespoons of coffee for each cup of water (250ml). So if you only want one cup per person, then three tablespoons of coffee are usually enough to use per person. If you prefer to measure by weight, one tablespoon is about 5 grams of coffee.
How does a coffee plunger work?
A coffee plunger or french press works by immersion. Immersion means that the coffee is in constant contact with hot water. Coffee plungers extract the flavours of the coffee by letting it sit in hot water for several minutes before filtering it through a mesh or metal filter. This method of brewing also requires agitation to release the CO2, which we do at the beginning of our brewing process when we add water to our pre-ground coffee (blooming).
How long do you leave plunger coffee to steep?
A minimum of 4 minutes is suggested. Leaving the coffee for a shorter period of time may negatively affect the extraction. We suggest a total brew time of 6 to 8 minutes in order to get the perfect cup of coffee. Your brewing time should not exceed 8 minutes, as the coffee will start over extracting, leading to a bitter taste.
Is plunger coffee better than instant?
Yes, plunger coffee is significantly better than instant coffee. Instant coffee is usually made with lower quality beans that have been dehydrated so that they can dissolve with water. With plunger coffee, on the other hand, you can choose the coffee beans you want to use and grind yourself, resulting in a fresher cup of coffee.
Should you stir plunger coffee?
Most people agree that you should stir your coffee at least once when brewing in order to make sure all the grounds are in contact with the water. This process should happen after you have added boiling water to the grounds, right at the beginning.
Can you use instant coffee in a plunger?
Instant coffee dissolves in water so there is no need for a plunger or a mesh filter. Plungers are designed to be used with coarsely ground whole beans.