Interesting French Press technique

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Interesting French Press technique

Postby Robert Csar on Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:10 pm

A co-worker visited a cafe in the city recently that has a Clover. He asked what would be a close comparison to the taste that you get from a Clover. The barista told him to brew a French Press, backwards.

Basically, put the plunger in first, then add your grinds, and then hot water and stir like you normally would. Plunge upwards carefully and discard the cake.

I tried this at work and noticed a cleaner cup that was obviously similar to decanting.

Anyone use this method before? Thoughts?
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Postby James Hoffmann on Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:30 pm

There are various presses on the market designed to work like this - we have one but I don't really like how it works (plunger doesn't go all the way to the bottom so you have liquid underneath the mesh that doesn't touch coffee).

The theory is pretty sound though.
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Postby Jeff Jassmond on Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:54 pm

I just brewed the worst pot of coffee since I suffered Dunk n' Donuts a few weeks ago thanks to this technique. Much obliged.

Jeff
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Postby James Hoffmann on Wed Jan 02, 2008 3:17 pm

What was wrong with it?
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Postby Robert Csar on Wed Jan 02, 2008 3:20 pm

Jeff Jassmond wrote:I just brewed the worst pot of coffee since I suffered Dunk n' Donuts a few weeks ago thanks to this technique. Much obliged.

Jeff
stx


I used the Bodum rubber plunger press and it turned out nicely... what happened?
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Postby Jeff Jassmond on Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:33 pm

I think the problem was caused by what James pointed out; there was a layer of water under the plunger that I didn't notice until 2 minutes in. At that point I moved the plunger enough to agitate it into the rest of the brew, but it was probably too late.

Cup wise it was no "cleaner" than a regular press, just weak and insipid.

Theoretically i don't know how this technique would be much different than an Eva Solo which I have never found to be much different than a french press. Kind of circular I guess.

Sorry for the strong reaction at first, I still had the taste in my mouth when I posted. The brew was probably user error on my part.

jeff
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Postby James Hoffmann on Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:53 pm

I never found a way to get that bottom layer to infuse. Even if I kind of pumped the press up and down it seemed to stay resolutely weak and unbrewed.
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Postby nick on Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:24 pm

Jeff Jassmond wrote:I think the problem was caused by what James pointed out; there was a layer of water under the plunger that I didn't notice until 2 minutes in. At that point I moved the plunger enough to agitate it into the rest of the brew, but it was probably too late.

But the point of this "experiment" is to treat it like a poor-man's Clover, isn't it? That means you should be "yanking" the plunger at about 45 seconds. Gotta grind finer... guess that means it might get too hard to "yank." It'd only work with a smaller press, eh?

BTW, not to play the role of Barry Jarrett in this thread, but FYI, people were talking about and trying the "reverse french-press" thing back when the Clover was first introduced. :D
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Postby Alistair Durie on Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:07 pm

rather irrelevant comparison to the Clover, for reasons to start with that it lacks the wide surface area and the finer mesh filter.
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Postby Chris Baca on Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:15 pm

I've never tried this before but it seems like even yanking that plunger won't get you the vacuum you need...and you might start breaking stuff.

Would a vac-pot with a metal mesh filter be more of a ghetto Clover?
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Postby Klaus on Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:09 am

Lately we've been experimenting with our French Press techniques. We talked about how the coffees often taste the best when you cup them, and how the fines in a French Press sometimes annoy us a little. They seem to give some bitterness and a not so pleasant mouthfeel. So we've been adding grounds and water, letting it steep four minutes without the filter on, breaking and skimming off as when cupping and then pressing. It seems to give more clarity in the cup, as most of the fines sink to the bottom when you break, instead of getting pressed through the filter.
Did any of you watch the video of Tim Wendelboe preparing a French Press on Norwegian TV? He's been doing something similar for quite a while. There is a link on his blog.

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Postby James Hoffmann on Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:46 am

Damn it - I can't get the video to work properly, I am clearly quite special.

Will try that technique tomorrow, with some of Tim's coffee...
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Postby aaronblanco on Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:47 pm

Klaus or Tim:

Is there a mirror site for this video? A YouTube link perhaps? I get the page but then nothing happens.
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Postby Jason Haeger on Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:44 pm

I watched the video, and it works pretty much exactly like Klaus described.

He agitates, and then starts spooning off the top... just like in cupping.
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Postby Klaus on Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:02 am

Hmmm, the link works fine for me in XP/Firefox. There is to my knowledge no mirror or youtube of the video. It's only on the TV station's own website.

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Postby Jason Haeger on Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:39 am

Part 1
click for explorer
click for Firefox

Part 2
Click for Firefox
click for Explorer

I hope that works. It's not a mirror. It's just a direct link to the video stream for its appropriate browser.
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Postby Klaus on Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:13 pm

Brilliant Jason.
We'll let Tim translate it for all the Coffeed readers now :P

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