Stayin’ awake. Stayin’ awake. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.*

Reckon the CEO of Starbucks ought’a know.

I make coffee for myself and my wife, using an 8-cup Bodum French press. This is the absolute best way to make coffee at home. Brewing coffee traditionally does not extract the oils, flavor, and essence of blends or a single varietal. The French press brings out those flavors. It’s a more robust or, in lay terms, a muddier cup of coffee.

I use a coarse grind of aged Sumatra. Don’t buy preground coffee.
After it’s opened, a bag of whole bean coffee has a shelf life of no more than a week. Store it in an airtight container on your counter, away from heat, sunlight, and moisture.

Put approximately two tablespoons of coffee per cup in the glass beaker.
Let your filtered water reach a rolling boil before you pour it in.
After the water and coffee steep for three to four minutes, stir it to make sure the grinds are wet and submerged.
Then press the coffee down.

I never add milk to my French press, absolutely no milk.
And since the French press should not be on a burner, transfer the coffee to a thermos.
Drink it within an hour or two, at the max.

You’re welcome.

Next week: how to boil an egg

* Cultural ref #1, Cultural ref #2, Cultural ref #3


  1. Freddie Sykes
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm |

    A French press makes the second best coffee. I have only had Starbucks coffee at meetings and found it flat; so much for your expert witness.

    I use an old Hario vacuum or siphon system. It is no longer sold in the USA but other brands are available. I use a tablespoon of fresh finely ground coffee to 4 ounces of water. You put boiling water into the bottom unit and continue to heat it with an alcohol lamp. The coffee grounds goes into the upper unit. Steam pressure forces the almost boiling water into the upper chamber. I let it extract the coffee for 45 seconds and then remove the alcohol burner. As the steam cools, it siphons the coffee back into the lower chamber. Marvelous rich coffee!

    And, DougM, you never ever boil an egg…

  2. DougM (jackassophobe)
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm |

    ^ Okay, Freddie,
    how to boil bacon, then.

  3. Alan outback bacon czar
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm |

    I use a Mr. Coffee. Pretty exciting, huh?

  4. Freddie Sykes
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

    I think it is pretty much impossible to ruin bacon…

  5. joe
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm |

    Got a restaurant style Bunn that’s been making good coffee for 30 some years now. No muss, no fuss, no waiting.

  6. Sigivald
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm |

    Well, like he says – “best way to make coffee at home“.

    Starbucks isn’t even about drip coffee as a primary product – and in any case a press for retail coffee to go is absurdly labor-intensive.

    (And yeah, I hear good things about a vacuum system, but realistically, it’s an enthusiast’s toy in a way a press isn’t.)

  7. Billy Ray in Cowtown
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm |

    Drank freeze-dried coffee right out of C-Rations for months, and was proud to have the time and opportunity to get it. Good old Folgers out of a red can is all this old Marine needs. Ooorah.

  8. katzemeow
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    Can’t stand starbucks coffee… love love our french press. Best coffe ever – the mr picked it up hile on a business trip to Guatemala a few years ago. Can’t seem to get it in the US though. Our 2nd favorite came from Costa Rica.

  9. Freddie Sykes
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

    Yes, Sigivald, a vacuum system is time and attention intensive. It is overkill if you just want a good cup of American style coffee. But I have the time and have been making coffee this way for over a decade. Hario is a Japanese maker of scientific glass products which means it is a very serious toy. I will seriously consider a press if I drop and break my Hario.

    FYI: I also make bread about 4 times a week. I do use a machine to grind the flour but I prefer to knead the dough by hand. I find it relaxing and enjoy the feel as the gluten develops and the dough comes together. Again, I have the time to afford myself these little luxuries.

    The little pleasures are those that make life worthwhile.

  10. mech
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm |

    When I have extra time I brew my coffee in a klein bottle. It seems to bring out extra dimensions of flavor and you can never make too much coffee since it is zero volume, which is great, too, if you’re cutting back. Then just clean the outside when finished to keep it sparkling.

  11. Hopefulone
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 2:53 am |

    I use a regular cone drip automatic coffee maker but don’t put the carafe under the outlet until it’s done brewing–as long as I am making less than four cups. Kind of the effect of the press but the filter does a better job and there’s no mess of grounds.

    …and I use a local roasting company so I get the stuff the same day it’s roasted. Costs as much as Starbucks but I am keeping a 100-year-old business around instead of northwest libs.

    I need to find a hand-powered grinder so that I don’t wake up the house with my 80 decibel Braun gizmo…

  12. Jess
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 5:24 am |

    I’ve boiled water, placed the grinds, allowed the coffee to steep and poured off the top. After reading a Louis L’Amour book, I realized I should have put a pinch of salt to settle the grounds.

    No, I wasn’t on the trail. It was 4:00 am, I was young, had little money and couldn’t find the top of my old drip coffee pot.

  13. Freddie Sykes
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 6:56 am |

    Mech, didya ever try Schrödinger’s Cafe? Really hard core. Their motto is “We will make you a great cup of coffee unless it kill us!”

  14. Claire: pink pig barbarian, etc
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:26 am |

    French Press Camping Coffee:

    add grounds, hot chocolate mix and orange zest….

  15. snap-e-tom
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:38 am |

    Definitely agree that fresh-ground is the way to go. Makes a huge difference.

  16. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 11:17 am |

    Wanna know how to love any cup of fresh coffee? Spend a night as the Squadron duty officer with a 3 gallon coffee maker, made 4-6 days earlier and left hot since….. “Buzzard Sweat” barely comes close as a flavor definition…

  17. DougM (jackassophobe)
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

    Jess (12)
    Not just to settle the grounds. It takes the bitterness out.
    Salt makes everything taste better. It’s biochemistry.

  18. Ironic in Denver
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

    Lacking the expertise & equipment to make expresso myself, I go to one of several independent places that do a good job.

    If I’m in a really special mood, I have them pore it over a scoop or two of high quality chocolate ice cream, let it sit for a brief moment, and then consume it in a calm and meditative mood.

  19. mech
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm |

    Ah yes, Freddie Sykes (13) and I hear they serve their brew up in a Tantalus Mug.

    Keeps your lap warm, too.

  20. accipiter NW
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:38 pm |

    11, Hopehulone. I had a Braun that was about 110 db. My Braun had blades in the bottom and I was actually relieved when it died. I picked up a burr type grinder for about $45 at a restaurant store (N Seattle on Hwy 99) but I did a quick search and found the same type- company name is La Pavoni online. The nice thing is dialing the coarseness and cup size. This one is much quieter and has been going strong for 5 years now.