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For the coffee connoisseur, a French press is an easy, simplistic way to create a fresh cup of Joe. Featuring a carafe, plunger and strainer, the French coffee press allows you to mix hot water and ground beans almost anywhere — at home, at the office and even on the go. If you’re looking for a simple way to create a cup of morning brew, read on to discover a few tips for selecting the perfect French press coffee maker for a delicious cup.

What type of material is best for my French press?

Your French coffee press will typically be made of glass or plastic. Though a few stoneware varieties exist, they are not nearly as common. Glass is the material of choice as it doesn’t alter the taste of your brew. However, if you plan to take your French press on the go, plastic will hold up better.

How do I use my French press coffee maker?

• Step 1: Coarsely grind your beans. The resulting grounds should look similar to coarse salt. It’s a good idea to note how coarse your grind was so you can duplicate the results next time — or adjust them if you find your coffee’s taste to be just a bit off. Typically, if your decoction tastes weak you’ll want to grind your beans a bit finer, and if the taste is too strong or unpleasant, a bit coarser. As for the amount, a good ratio to follow is 2 tablespoons of ground beans per 6 ounces of water. Once they’re ground and measured out, add them to the carafe.
• Step 2: Pour your water. It’s recommended you use fresh spring or filtered tap water. Demineralized water won’t have enough dissolved minerals to give it that “crystal clear” taste. If your French coffee press is insulated or double-walled, wait 30 seconds after boiling the water to pour it in. If yours isn’t insulated or double-walled, you can pour the water in right after it reaches boiling.
• Step 3: Grab a stopwatch or use a timer on your smartphone or watch and start it. You’ll want to stir your grounds and water mixture about 30 to 45 seconds after adding the water. Once most of the coffee grounds have sunk to the bottom, you can top off the French press with its lid. Make sure the plunger is at its highest position.
• Step 4: Let your coffee brew between 6 to 8 minutes for the fullest flavor. Once time is up, gently push the plunger down into the French press carafe. If it becomes harder to push it down, lift the plunger back up about an inch, then begin plunging again. Push the coffee grounds all the way so they’re packed tightly against the bottom of the carafe.
• Step 5: Serve up some coffee and enjoy. You can pour the remainder into an insulated container to keep it from getting cold.

Why should I use freshly ground beans?

If you ask any brewing pro, they’ll recommend the use of freshly ground beans every time. This is because grinding releases fragrant aromatics that add flavor and that delicious scent to your coffee. If you don’t own a grinder, you may be able to ask your local coffee shop to grind your beans for you. While storing solid beans, be sure to keep them in an airtight container stored in a dark area — though not in the refrigerator or freezer since any moisture can cause them to go stale much quicker.