The Art of Making Coffee

IKEA Kaffe
I'm really one to talk about making coffee..... it's odd, since I've only been drinking this stuff in the last couple of years. And though I have various good quality grinds in my cupboard, I rarely make myself a coffee, usually drinking it when my friend makes a jar for me (yes, a jar). I drink out of a jar because I can mix the milk and sugar well in that, and because I don't like hot coffee, just cold. However, I did learn how to make good coffee, and what it takes to saturate the grains well. It turns out, the best coffee maker isn't the fancy Krups at $150, that wakes you up in the morning, plays your entire Peter Frampton collection, and gets the car warmed up. No, it's a glass jar. It has one speed: manual. It's officially called a French press, and coloquially called a "Bodum" (after the most popular maker). It was around over a century ago. So much for progress.

If you like coffee, and drink ground coffee (not instant), and have always used something other than a Bodum to make your coffee, you might also find a French press to offer a superior taste. It's what the most dedicated of javaheads use. Their sites can explain in great detail why they prefer it to a filter-type coffee machine (or worse, a percolator). It doesn't have to be by "Bodum" either. IKEA makes a French press that also makes a good cup of coffee. Although the quality isn't quite the same, and may not last quite as long. The important thing to know is, the French press pot doesn't destroy your precious grains, if you use it correctly. That part is easy, just follow the instructions below.


1. Boil water, cool 30 seconds before pouring into the glass of the Bodum. The temperature of the water should be 195-205F.
2. Add 5 Tablespoons coarse ground (non-instant) coffee to the press (this will do 1.4 litres (48oz/6c) water). (Coarse grind creates less problems from sediment).
3. Pour just enough hot water into the press to cover the grounds. Stir gently with a (non-metallic) chopstick. Then slowly pour the rest of the water in, to no more than 1" from the top of the press.
4. Put the Bodum's top on, but do not press down on the plunger, leaving the filter up.
5. Let coffee steep for 1m-4minutes, with a max. of 4m (steep towards the longer value, for coarse grind).
6. Stir again, wait 30 seconds (for the sediment to settle).
7. Press filter down evenly and slowly, taking a minimum of 10 seconds from top to bottom.
8. Wait 30 seconds again (for sediment to settle), then pour slowly into a cup or jar (to avoid sediment from leaving the press). Do not let coffee sit in Bodum for any longer than necessary, to avoid bitterness from oversaturation of the grains.
9. Let sit in cup for 1m to allow settling of sediment, before drinking.


As above, except only use -cold- water in the press, and do not press the plunger. Instead, place the Bodum in the fridge overnight (12-24 hrs) with the plunger raised at the top of the press. When ready, plunge to retain sediment, pour in another container. Prepare as you desire your iced coffee (milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, syrup, etc). Alternatively, you can use 1 coffee scoop per 4 oz. cold water.


Yes, the super-economic and multi-versatile French press can be used to make tea as well.

1. Boil water, cool 30 seconds before pouring into the glass of the Bodum. The temperature of the water should be 195-205F.
Fill press with 1/4 c. loose, dried tea.
2. Add 3 Tablespoons (1/4c) of loose dry tea.
3. Add the water to the press.
4. Let tea steep for about 30 seconds.
5. You can hasten the brew time by lowering and raising the plunger, once or twice.
6. Pour, and prepare as you desire your tea (milk, cream, sugar, lemon, cardamom, etc)

Notes: Clean your French press between uses. Remove the filter immediately after pouring your cup and rinse. To disassemble the filter for cleaning, hold the bottom with one hand and unscrew the handle with the other. There will be several parts. Remember what order they go in so you can put it back together! Baking soda and scrubbing works well to get rid of lingering coffee odors. The filter should have a neutral smell; otherwise it will impinge the flavor. You can also put a denture cleaner tablet in the bottom of the press and place the disassembled parts inside. Fill with water and let soak. Rinse, and they will be completely clean.


* Don't overfill the Bodum or press the filter down too fast.
* Use a purifying filter on the water.
* Use a burr type grinder (as opposed to blade), if you want the best grind (most even consistency) on your beans for use in a Bodum.
* If you prefer a stronger, more bitter flavor from the sediment, stir constantly during the brewing stage.
* Some use 2 T coffee per 6 oz of water, others will do 2T per 4 oz., depending on how strong they like their coffee. If the coffee ratio makes it too strong for you, add more water after the coffee has brewed, not during.


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