Brewing Coffee in a French Press

While roasting coffee may seem daunting for some people, brewing coffee should be simple and quick.  Our second post in the Recession Special will look at brewing your own coffee at home in a cheap, quick, and delicious manner.

Most readers of this blog have probably brewed hundreds if not thousands of cups of coffee in their life, so I will not presume to tell anyone they are doing it wrong.  If you love the way you make coffee, by all means skip this article, but I wanted to give you an idea of how I have fine tuned my process with my French Press.

Contrary to the belief of many, brewing coffee is mostly science, with a small touch of art.  Grind size, coffee amount per water volume, and brew time all determine the eventual sweetness, bitterness, and strength of the coffee.  Furthermore, different coffees will require different brew times to highlight the best flavors.  A brewer must use the science behind these factors to get into the range where “art” comes into play.

You may recall my post of February 8, 2009 talking about the Brazilian Ipanema “Naturally Processed” green coffee and what I think I did wrong in the roasting and brewing.  If you have not read it, go back and find it here.  A coffee like that highlights the need for appropriate brewing, lest the brewer lose all the subtleties of the flavor.

So if you are looking to try something new, give this a shot and then play around with it and find the perfect brew for you.  I will give you volumes based on my press pot, but you can use the same ratios to get coffee that tastes the same in your home.  (Coffee purists will tell you to always use a kitchen scale, so you can use a proper coffee-weight to water-volume ratio.  This will indeed get you the best brew possible, but in a recession I am not going to tell you to go purchase a kitchen scale when I think that money is MUCH better spent on any half decent grinder).

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Home Coffee Roasting – A How-To



When times get tough, we all start to move back to the basics.  We do those little things that we used to pay others for.  Sometimes we even have a good time while we do it!  For the first post in the “Recession” series we are going to dive right in and discuss not only brewing your own coffee, but also roasting your own green coffee beans.  Doing both steps at home can save you lots of money and create the best cup of coffee you have ever tasted!  Because of all the information involved in our Recession series, we will divide the segment into “Process” and “Economics.”

Part 1A:  Roasting Process

The process of roasting and brewing your own coffee is actually relatively simple.  People are always amazed when I tell them I roast my own coffee (and usually I try not to burst that bubble) but here is the secret:  Roasting coffee is easy, cheap, fun, and easy.  Did I mention easy twice?  Start to finish usually takes me about twenty minutes, and it requires no special equipment.  Sure you can spend $200 or more on a roaster, but I will tell you about the cheap and easy way I have been roasting coffee for months.

This clip will show you everything you need to know, but you should read the “How-To” after the jump!


Read the “How-To” after the jump!

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Coffee Grinders

This post is a follow-up to yesterday’s excerpt on coffee brewing equipment:

What is a coffee grinder and aren’t they all the same?

No!  I’m sorry, I got so caught up in answering the second question I forgot to answer the first.  Let me start over.

A coffee grinder grinds whole beans into the powdery substance we all know and love.  You may have seen the Eight O’Clock or Van Hauten’s grinders in your local supermarket.  Home versions are very similar with one important difference – the home versions help make MUCH better coffee!  Coffee starts to spoil as soon as it comes in contact with the air.  Once it is ground, so much more coffee surface area is exposed to the air, which causes the coffee to spoil that much quicker.  At Manhattan Roasts we get the best tasting coffee by grinding our coffee immediately before brewing.  I would argue a decent grinder is the best piece of equipment you can have for making high quality coffee.

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Coffee Brewing Equipment and Process

Today at Manhattan Roasts, before delving into roasting and brewing during a recession, we wanted to have a quick chat about coffee equipment.  First of all, there are a lot of terrible machines on the market, so always do your research before buying.  The Manhattan Roaster tends to prefer his coffee made either in a French press (aka “press pot”) or as espresso, but drip coffee can also be delicious!  No doubt we will look deeper into each method in the future, but for now we wanted to give you a brief review.

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