How to brew great coffee with a Plunger.
The French press has been around in one form or another for quite some time. The coffee press was first patented by Milanese designer Attilio Calimani in 1929. Falerio Bondanini made some design changes and patented his own version in 1958. Use of the Plunger might have been popularised by the 1965 Michael Caine film The Ipcress File.
The Plunger creates a coffee with body, suspending particles in the brew for a fuller, composed Java. As it comes in different sizes, it can be used for a coffee for one, but also perfect for when friends come over, making multiple cups without sacrificing quality.
Here’s how to brew the plunger perfectly:
- Heat the Water:
Boil your water, and let stand for about 30 seconds to cool down to the perfect temperature: 96 degrees Celsius
- Grind the beans.
Use between 15 and 20 grams of coffee per cup. Personally, I find 18 grams to be the perfect number. Only grind what you need, so that your coffee is as fresh as possible. The grind you are looking for is ‘medium coarse’: about as coarse as kosher salt.
- Pre-heat the Press
Rinse the Plunger with some of the hot water. This serves to preheat your vessel. Also see that the wire plunger is clean and free of old coffee.
- Bloom and Steep.
Add the coffee to the Plunger. Add just enough hot water to saturate the coffee grounds. Leave it there to ‘bloom’ for 1 minute. (Blooming allows carbon dioxide build-up in the coffee to escape). Next, evenly pour the rest of the water over the coffee, and let it steep for 3 minutes.
- Press and Serve
- Using only the weight of your hand, depress the Plunger.
You are now ready to serve the coffee immediately, or decant into an insulated vessel. Whatever you do, do not leave the coffee in the Plunger – it will over brew, leading to bad taste and sludge.