Some people call it a cafetiere, some people call it a French press. No matter what you call it, it makes really great coffee. In a world of complicated coffee kit, the cafetiere keeps things simple, as coffee is meant to be… coffee and water!
Yet, as simple as it is, sometimes things can go wrong… and bad coffee is just such a let down (although I’d still take a really bad cup of coffee over nothing at all!!).
To get a really great brew,Â try toÂ avoid these 4 common mistakes…
Mistake #4: Â The wrong grind
When it comes to making good coffee, it’s really important to get the grind right based on the brewing method you’re using. For a cafetiere, you need to make sure that the grind isn’t too fine, and isn’t too coarse… It needs to be just right to get the best brew. What you’re looking for is a coarse, even grind. See the picture below.
If your grind is too fine, it will be quite tricky to push the plunger down. When this happens, you need to be extra careful that the coffee doesn’t bubble up unexpectedly and ‘jump’ out of the pot and scald you.
What you’ll also find with a too-fine grind is that the brew ends upÂ being a bitÂ silty and sludgy, with a greater than normal amount of fine coffee grinds in your cup.
If your coffee grind is too coarse, the coffee won’t extract properly during the brewing process, leaving you with a bit a thin, weak, under-brewed coffee.
Mistake #3: Using the wrong amount of coffee
The key to great coffee in a cafetiere is the extraction process, so you want to be sure you have enough coffee in the pot for the amount of water you’re pouring in.
The general guideline is 1 part coffee to 10 parts water – or about 1 tablespoon of coffee for every cup of water. Now, obviously you’ll need to adjust this if you like your coffee a bit stronger or a bit weaker. To give you an idea, I put about 4 heaped tablespoons of coffee into my 12 cup cafetiere, and it’s just perfect!
Mistake #2: Using water that is the wrong temperature
Did you know that coffee can burn? When you pour boiling water into your coffee pot, the heat of the water can actually scald the oils in the beans and ruin your brew.
The best temperature for coffee brewing is a few degrees off the boil (that’s the technical temperature reading of course!!). When making your coffee, boil your water and then let it sit for 30 seconds to a minute to allow the temperature to come down slightly before your pour it into the pot.
Mistake #1: Cold coffee
This is what I’d consider the biggest mistake for cafetiere coffee. I can’t think of anything more disappointing than a long-anticipated cup of coffee that has gone cold. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but still mighty disappointing! And I’m not talking about a cup that has been left to go stone cold. I’m talking about that cup of coffee that is kind of hot, but sort of lukewarm, and starting to get a bit cool on the top.
Part of the brewing process is to leave the coffee grinds to extract for about 4 minutes. In that time, the glass walls of a cafetiere will let the a considerable amount of heat escape. By the time the coffee is ready to pour, the temperature will have decreased by quite a lot. Add in your milk (if you don’t take the time to heat it up), and your brew has already lost much of its vital heat.
Or what about going back for another cup from the cafetiere, only to find that the intensity of heat has gone out of the brew, leaving it warm and blah. And we all know that it’s a “no no” to pop that coffee in the microwave!
So what is a person to do?!
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