How can I minimize the amount of grounds at the bottom of my French press coffee?

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Whenever I brew coffee with a French press, I tend to get a significant amount of grind left near the bottom of the cup, making the last bit of coffee far less enjoyable - mostly regardless, it seems, of how finely I grind the beans. Is there any method or tool I can use to minimize the amount of grind left at the bottom of the cup?

Mike Miller

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 220

2@PythonMaster no, these questions aren't even related, IMO :(Vogel612 2015-01-28T09:32:34.293

possible duplicate of How does coffee grind consistency affect coffee taste

Anthony Pham 2015-01-28T02:00:07.803

Answers

20

I have the same problem, and these things definitely reduce it:

  1. Grind more coarsely. Blade grinders are incapable of really doing this—they give you boulders and powder. But I've never been satisfied with the taste when I use coarse grounds— it's weak and lacks body.
  2. Make sure the screen fits well and no grounds are squirting along the sides
  3. Press gently, don't force it down with a lot of pressure
  4. After pressing, wait a minute before decanting
  5. Don't drink the dregs remaining at the bottom of the cup... unless you're like a friend of mine who relishes them.

Finally, if none of that works for you, try a different brew method. Paper filters are very good at keeping grounds out of your cup.

Nathan

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 955

1Actually I had a chat with someone the other day who's been working in specialty coffee for ages. The suggestion was to not actually plunge but only slightly push the plunger below the surface of the coffee. By the time your brew is ready, the grounds, including the fines should have settled. Then just gently pour the coffee into another vessel and you should get a clean, full bodied cup. I haven't tried this myself though, so no guarantee. Other than that your first point I think will have the greatest impact.avocado1 2016-11-29T21:40:38.803

12

Are you using a burr grinder or a blade grinder? Blade grinders physically cannot give a consistent grind; you'll always have some too-fine (and some too-coarse) bits of beans. If you're having the beans ground where you buy them, have them done as coarse as the grinder will go and see if that helps.

You can also try replacing the screen in your press. (Bodum sells replacement screens online.) If the wires at the edges are bent, they could be letting grounds through.

If you don't mind branching out a little, I've become a devoted fan of the Impress brewer from Gamila. (The link goes to the features page.) It works the same way as a french press, but the apertures in the filter are closer to the size of an espresso machine's filter (roughly 0.2 mm), rather than the +/- 1mm in a traditional french press screen.

TheFontSnob

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 614

5

If you're only brewing a cup at a time, just don't drink the last sip - the grounds will have settled and you won't like it.

If you're brewing several cups at a time, then move it from the press into an insulated container - not only does this give the grounds a chance to settle out before they're in your cup, it'll keep the coffee fresh longer.

I use an inexpensive airpot to hold and dispense hot coffee after brewing in a press. This allows the coffee to be dispensed without disturbing the grounds that have settled, and keeps it at the perfect temperature all day long if need-be.

Shog9

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 276

5

It sounds like you may be grinding the coffee a little too fine or your press may be bent out of shape.

With a french press the grounds shouldn't pass through or around the screen, if they are make sure the screen is touching the sides of the cylinder all the way around and try a slightly courser grind.

apaul

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 1 137

4

My experience is that even if you grind precisely as you should there will always be coffee residue in the bottom of your cup. The only way to minimize this, assuming that you are grinding the coffee as you should, is to invest in a much better french press. I have good experience with e.g. Espro press which has two efficient micro-filters.

JavaCake

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 994

2

The Grind

The goal for grinding coffee is consistency of the grind, everything should be relatively the same size so it extracts evenly. In coffee grinding parlance, "boulders" is used to describe chunks and "fines" is used to describe microfine particles. When you introduce water (in any extraction method), the "fines" give up their flavor quickly, adding bitterness when overextracted, and the boulders hardly give up anything at all, leaving a thin and sour underextracted flavor.

A burr grinder with two mounted bearings (top and bottom) is the best tool for consistent grinding due to the absence of "burr wobble" seen in cheaper burr grinders.

The Resulting Brew

A sediment layer comes from the fines making their way through the metal screen on the press. Ideally, your goal should be zero fines for your French Press brew. A coffee hack you can do to get around this is to shake your freshly ground coarse coffee in a small metal sieve so the fines fall through. Do this over a container to easily weigh the amount of fines your grinder is producing. I have also seen natural static as a useful by-product of grinding that prevents fines from exiting the grinder.

rwyland

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 355

2

Since you already probably tried to ajdust settings on a grinder, meybe the grinder is not good for French Press. Which grinder do you use?

Stephan

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 176

2

I am South Indian and this is a coffee producing region, but the typical local coffee in my home state is sold ground extremely fine and will pass through the metal mesh filter of a French press.

Here is an "adjustment solution" that works very well for me when I try to brew finely ground coffee in a French press: after mixing the fine-grain coffee powder with hot water in the French press, I sprinkle a teaspoonful of coarsely ground coffee powder lightly to cover the surface evenly. It should be done softly so that the coarse powder does not mix and sink into the brew, but forms a thin layer on top.

When I press down with the plunger 2 minutes later, the coarse powder acts as an additional physical barrier preventing the fine grounds from passing through the metal mesh. I get nearly no fine grounds at all in my cup, and the flavor is just fine!

English Student

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 243

LOL, this is similar to how I solved my dilemma with too-fine coffe in a moka!

Stephie 2017-12-17T08:25:24.827

Nice to know you are already using this method effectively @Stephie! I use it for moka pot as well. Simple and effective.English Student 2017-12-17T08:26:05.320

1

How about topping your cup with one of these metal fine filters, usually reserved for tea, when you pour in your cup?

These filters are quite inexpensive, and a possible alternative to replacement parts or new devices.

Eric Platon

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 1 452

0

I use a keurig brewer, and sometimes grounds end up in my mug no matter what. To combat this, or at least bring the amount from 50 to 2 grounds, try using a filter over your cup. If you don't have any, a clean rag will prove to be sufficient. Good luck. :)

Jack Blair

Posted 2015-01-27T23:22:28.207

Reputation: 1