The French press style of coffee making produces very rich, aromatic and tasty coffee. It uses very coarsely ground coffee that basically steeps in the brewing water for several minutes allowing all the flavours to fully extract from the coffee grinds. Because of the filtering system there is always some sediment which some people don’t like.
A French press coffee maker has two parts: a straight-sided container usually made of glass, and a filter-plunger that pushes through the water to filter out the coffee after it has steeped. This plunger also serves as the lid. There are some models of French Press that are insulated which is good for keeping things hot while it steeps.
To brew coffee with a French Press, you should pre-heat the carafe while you boil your water. When ready, empty the carafe, add your coffee, and then add your brewing water. You may wish to stir the coffee grinds around to be sure all of them are in contact with water. You should now put the plunger/lid on the pot to help retain heat. DO NOT press it down yet, it needs to steep for about four minutes (a little more or less depending the coarseness of the grind).
Once you feel the coffee has brewed enough, slowly depress the plunger trapping the grounds on the bottom. Do not force the plunger. If it doesn’t want to go down, simply lift the plunger up slightly and try again. The filter can jam on grinds that are too fine. Just take your time and it will work.
Despite what some may say, it is usually best to decant the coffee into an insulated serving pot. If you leave the coffee in the French Press it will remain in contact with the grinds and keep brewing. This will quickly ruin your coffee. The other main reason to pour your coffee off is to keep it warm. French Press pots are not well insulated and coffee cools off very quickly.
Play with the brewing time and grind coarseness until you get the taste that you like best. Once you’ve done that you will have some of the tastiest coffee anywhere.