c) Once the coffee has been ground, place it into the French press. When the water has reached the desired temperature, fill the coffee maker with it up to the upper metal support of the coffee maker. Start counting four minutes with the timer to allow the coffee brew. Stir with a wooden shaker (a utensil made of any other material may add unpleasant flavours at this delicate moment), and place the lid of the press with the sieve barely touching the surface of the coffee.
d) Once those four minutes have passed, slowly lower the plunger (and sieve) until reaching bottom... and you are ready to taste the best coffee you have ever drunk... (Enjoy!)
Although if you think that this first time the coffee is too strong, put less grains the next time. If it is too smooth, put more grains in the grinder until you achieve the best results. These quantities vary depending on the kind and origin of the coffee that you are using. Always remember that the coffee made by this method has a maximum life span of 20 minutes.
Other feature of the French press coffee maker is that it allows you to make three-part blends, e.g. in Mexico, the coffee from Chiapas is in general smooth and delicate. Coffee from Oaxaca is strong and spicy. The coffee coming from Veracruz is exquisitely aromatic... make your own blend!
Take my advice, making your coffee as I recommend may become a small, daily personal ritual, allowing you to taste in detail all what a good coffee has to offer.
by Paco Hernández-Castañeda
Pictures by the Author