Of all the different coffee brewing methods, the one I’ve used over the years the most has been the Cafetiere. Let's face it, we all have one sitting at the back of a cupboard somewhere!
The Cafetiere, or French Press, is a low tech portable coffee brewing method. Let hot water steep over coarsely ground coffee for 3 minutes before pressing down the filter and serving. It doesn’t get more simple than that. This however is my guide to the Silver Service way of making a Cafetiere...
1. Dosing the coffee
The most common question I get asked about using a Cafetiere is "How much do I use?". Going by volume, a good starting point is to use 1 tablespoon of coffee for every 4 fluid ounces of water. So to put it simply - here's my guide to size and quantity:
3 cup = 3-4 tablespoons
4 cup = 4-5 tablespoons
8 cup = 9-10 tablespoons
12 cup = 13-15 tablespoons
2. Grind the coffee and heat water
Before you start grinding the coffee, heat up some water.
The Cafetiere uses a coarse grind so don't make it too fine or the coffee will taste muddy. To find out more check out our grind guide.
3. Add coffee and water to the Cafetiere
Add the ground coffee into the French Press. Once the water reaches boil, wait about 30 seconds before pouring onto the coffee. This will lower the temperature from boiling to around 93°C, which is ideal for brewing.
Start a timer and pour water onto the coffee grounds.
When you pour the water into the Cafetiere, there may be a bloom at the top where the coffee is either clumped or not making contact with the water. You can minimize that by pouring slowly in a controlled manner.
4. Stir (or not)
Even if you pour slowly, there might be coffee grounds clumped at the top that aren’t in contact with water. A gentle stir will solve that problem, you just need to stir the top inch. Use a chopstick or spoon.
TOP TIP: use a wooden spoon as there have been cases where a metal spoon has cracked the glass of the Cafetiere. The goal here is to get all the coffee making contact with water.
After this, place the plunger on top of the coffee pot and depress it into the water about an inch. Leave for three minuets.
5. After three minutes - tug up and plunge
You'll notice that after the three minuet wait - a band of coffee has formed under the disc of the plunger. This has created a barrier, so if you plunge now it will be very difficult to force the plunger through the water. The reason for keeping the plunger in about an inch, allowing this band of coffee to form, is that over the three minuets the coffee granules absorb the hot water and will release more of their oils.
To release the band of coffee, keep one hand on the plunger lid and give it a sharp tug upwards. You'll see coffee is now swirling and mixing in with the water below. Wait about 10 seconds and then you can now slowly depress the plunger with ease!
6. Serve coffee
Pour and serve.
TOP TIP: Cafetiere coffee will have some sediment. To minimize getting the grit into the drink, I usually leave 1/2-1 inch of coffee in the bottom of the Cafetiere. Also don't waste the grounds - tip them on the garden to deter slugs.