Do you have to be a barista champion to manually brew coffee at home?
In today’s specialty coffee world we have often given the impression that you must have champion barista skills, lest your manual brewed coffee taste like dirty water. The coffee chemistry and theatrics required to manually brew borders nears wizardry, let alone 5 minutes of video game level concentration skills (at 5 AM!).
Feeling overwhelmed? Try the French Press! The Land Cruiser of coffee brewing, and 5AM fail proof!
Water to coffee contact time is critical to brewing. Anyone who’s ever tried manual brewing on a one cup pour over can attest to the resulting cup inconsistencies related to too short of contact time. In a French Press the coffee grounds are fully immersed in water, allowing time to uniformly saturate the grounds and extract the coffee solubles (Flavor). It's impossible to not saturate the the grounds in a French Press.
Coffee grader secret: the French Press is the home brewing equivalent of a professional coffee tasting. Coffee graders grind coffee directly into a cup, pour hot water on it, let it steep for 4 minutes, stir, and then start slurping. A French Press uses the identical full immersion extraction and then adds one more step of holding the grounds to the bottom.
If I only had one manual brewer, it would be a French Press.