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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Banjo does French Press Coffee

French Press is also known as a 'Press Pot'.

With our latest escapades regarding the Keurig Model B60 coffee machine causing consternation, we have decided to try making coffee via the French Press method.

This will be updated daily, as we work our way through the process of discovery on making the best cup of coffee.

Basis of Comparison
We used to frequent a local Italian restaurant (owned and operated by Iranians' !) that simply had the best coffee we have ever had.  Unfortunately, in a recent trip there, their coffee had lost all of its exquisiteness.  We have fond memories of it, and it will constitute our basis for comparison.


  • Coffee: Starbucks brand.  Whole bean, which we ground in the store.  Note: the coffee bean chosen has one of the biggest, if not the biggest, impact on the flavor of the coffee.

This is where the majority of the variation will occur, so the different tests will center around the various aspects of preparation.  Some of the elements associated with method are:

  • Bean choice - Starbucks Espresso Roast Whole Bean Coffee
  • Grinding method (e.g., using the in-store grinder will mean you have some carryover flavor from other, previous grinds.  Same with at-home grinding, but you can better control how much of the previous grind is cleaned out).
  • Size of grind (how fine the coffee beans ground)
  • Water temperature.  Currently, we are bringing it to a full boil before placing into brew carafe.
  • Water choice.  We have the option of using tap water, filtered tap water, bottled distilled water, branded bottled water.
  • Amount of coffee grinds placed into the carafe.
  • Length of time coffee grinds sit in carafe with hot water.
  • Heated utensils.  E.g., whether the carafe, plunger, cups are all heated prior to use (prior heating will keep the utensil from cooling down the coffee)
  • What the coffee is stored in.  We have a vacuum sealer, so I may try to get the attachment that will allow us to place the coffee into Mason Jars and then vacuum out the air between each use.  Currently, we are using a big ceramic jar made for storing coffee (it has a clasped lid with gasket), but does not provide the ability to remove air.
Note: our tests are not scientific - they are just documenting our search for our perfect cup of coffee; see links for other sites that may offer you more information. 

  • Coffee: Starbucks Espresso Roast Whole Bean, ground at grocery, course grind.
  • Water: Filtered tap water.
  • Number of cups: 2
  • 8 scoops (7 gram scoop) placed into French Press
  • Cups and French Press preheated with hot water.
  • Water brought to boil, then poured over coffee and cap placed on.
  • Mixture stirred with wooden spoon
  • Timer set for 4 minutes.
  • Results: a little too strong for us, but not bitter.


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