Because caffeine is a non-negotiable.

By Betty Gold
Updated April 02, 2020
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As many of us are adjusting to working from home and staying indoors, chances are our morning routines are changing as well. If you normally rely on the brewing magic of a barista at a coffee shop or your office espresso machine and now find yourself struggling to craft decent-tasting coffee at home, we empathize. We’ll get through this. Because figuring out how to make coffee is hard enough with caffeine in your system, you know?

The French press is a low-lift way to make a delicious cup of coffee at home, and we’re willing to bet you already have one stashed away in your kitchen cupboard from that time your in-laws insisted upon buying you one years ago. The press pot offers direct infusion for full-bodied coffee, and is an ideal companion for dark roasts. Here are step-by-step instructions for making a rich and complex cup of French press coffee, according to Patrick Main, the beverage innovator at Peet’s Coffee.

1. Heat fresh water to 200° F. If you don't have a thermometer on hand, you can bring water to a boil and then let it stand for 30 seconds.

2. Weigh out 55 grams of freshly roasted coffee beans. Preheat the French press with hot water and let it sit. If you don't own a scale, you can measure out 5.5 standard coffee scoops—or 11 tablespoons—of beans. Preheating helps the temperature stay more consistent throughout the brewing process.

3. Grind coffee to the consistency of coarse sea salt. A consistent grind enables even extraction. If the plunger is difficult to push down at the end of the brew, try a slightly coarser grind next time.

4. Discard hot water and place the French press on your scale. Add coffee grounds and then zero out or "tare" your scale. Set your timer for four minutes and pour in just enough water to saturate the grounds. (110 grams, or twice the weight of the coffee). Give the French press a quick swirl, and then wait 30 seconds. "When hot water meets coffee grounds, carbon dioxide escapes and expands, creating a 'bloom,'" explains Main. "Once the off-gassing is complete, the grounds are more receptive to absorbing water, resulting in a better extraction of flavors."

5. Resume pouring hot water over the grounds until the scale reaches 880 grams (or the water reaches the middle of the metal band, about 1 inch below the rim). According to Main, the secret to perfect coffee is the right ratio of coffee to water, which is 1:16, or 1 gram of coffee for every 16 grams of water.

6. Place the plunger on top of grounds, then slowly push it halfway down and pull back up to just below the surface. Plunging halfway keeps the grounds fully saturated, enabling even extraction. It also helps prevent a surface crust of dry grounds from forming, making the final plunge easier.

7. Once four minutes have passed, press the plunger to the bottom. Your coffee is ready to be poured.