Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How To Use a French Press

You can save a lot of money when you use a french press to make your coffee instead of other brewers. Here's how:

Until recently, I had not known much about a french press. I did an article on coffee brewing styles, makers, and methods, and it really piqued my interest about how to use one. I had been all set to purchase a one-cup drip brewer because I was so tired of wasting coffee in a regular brewer. I never knew how much ground coffee to put in, how much water, etc. 

My problem was, the individual packages that are necessary for those one-cup brewers are so very expensive. It ends up being somewhere near one dollar per serving. Sometimes more, sometimes a little bit less. Now, that will save you money over going to a coffee shop every day, yes; but, if you're on a tight budget and already drink your cup 'o joe at home each morning, then you're spending at least thirty dollars a month per person. For my family of three, my water bill is around thirty dollars a month. You can get a month's worth of Vonage phone service for $24.99. You get the point...that thirty dollars could pay a bill! For those of us who really struggle to make ends meet, thirty dollars is too much to pay every month for a daily morning cup of coffee.

Then I looked at one-cup brewers that used ground coffee instead of the individual packages. I was going to buy one that used a "scoop" with your own choice of ground coffee. The machine was sixty dollars, and the scoop was rather large. I wondered to myself if that still wasn't wasting coffee by having to use such a large scoop of it. Before I made my purchase, I happened to write up the article about the brewing styles. That changed my mind. I just had to try a french press!

I went to my favorite online store, amazon...and ordered a french press and a coffee scoop with  a bag clip on it. My total was somewhere around $20 which was already $40 less than I was going to spend on the one-cup drip brewer machine. The press I ordered was only about thirteen dollars...and I absolutely love it, but other customers apparently have had trouble with it; so, amazon doesn't sell it through the prime program any longer. If you shop there, just check the reviews to find the best one for you.

To use a french press, you need a coarsely ground coffee. You can grind your own, but I have found Dunkin Donuts brand is already ground coarsley enough to use. You may have another favorite brand that can be used, just make sure it's not a finely ground coffee. It takes a little more effort than using a one-cup drip brewer, but not much! (See photo above.) You simply heat your cup of water in the microwave (I set it for about two minutes), add one scoop of coffee to the press, add your hot water, let it brew, and then push the plunger down to trap the grounds at the bottom while you pour out your deliciously brewed cup 'o joe. Seriously. I have to say, the flavor is richer, even with the pre-ground coffee!

What I love most is that there is no waste and the cup of coffee costs around twenty cents. Yep! You only need one scoop of it per cup of coffee. If you like a stronger taste, you just let it brew longer! After about twenty minutes, it will start to get bitter so you don't want to let it brew over that time...but you can customize your brewing time to your taste. Isn't that awesome?! If it's not hot enough to drink after you've allowed it to brew a while, just put the brewed cup back in the microwave for about 30 seconds to a minute. 

You're going to get roughly forty cups of coffee from one bag (that's using the scoop to measure out about one tablespoon of ground coffee about 40 times). If you pay $7.99 for the bag, that's about twenty cents a cup. If you buy cheaper coffee, it will be even cheaper. At twenty cents a day (if you only drink one cup) that's about $6 a month per person and it's better tasting coffee! What could you do with that extra $24 a month? I can pay my trash pick up bill for two months on that!

I do recommend that whatever brand you buy says 100% arabica on the label. The cheaper brands like Folgers and Maxwell House are a blend of arabica and robusta. (You can learn more about that in my types of coffee article). But if you already buy and love those brands go for it...as long as you can get a coarsely ground blend. Or like I said...grind your own, it will probably taste even better and cost even less. 

I hope you have gained some insight with this information and if you try a french press I hope you love yours as much as I love mine!


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