June 11th, 2015
Everyone has their own special way of making their coffee and (much like “house rules” for games like Monopoly) I tend to feel that it is something personal. Also, as everyone has their own technique I have found people don’t generally take kindly to being told their method is “wrong”! This isn’t a “hard-and-fast” guide, if you find a way of brewing that works better for you then by all means – go for it! I have experimented thoroughly and below are the techniques that I prefer to use in my preparation at home.
If you have access to a grinder, you are a lucky thing! This is by far the best way to enjoy your coffee – by grinding it as you need it. While we make every effort to keep our coffee fresh, as soon as it is ground it does start to lose some of its characteristics. A grinder is really a fantastic investment for all coffee aficionados. There is plenty of information available in regards to coffee weight and water temperature, but I have tried to keep this as easy to follow as possible. By all means use your scales to weigh the coffee and thermometer to test water temperature… I just find the below works just as well!
I love the subtle flavours that come from a well-brewed plunger. You can get a whole new palette emerge and it really is a whole new experience! When trialling and tasting coffee from different origins, this is the method that is used for “cupping” for this very reason. Plunger is also excellent for entertaining guests – it is a lot easier (and quicker) to make an excellent plunger, than making multiple flat whites and waiting for your boiler to regain pressure! (I also love plunger coffee for taking along to Saturday Sports games in a thermos – luxury!)
The grind size for a great plunger coffee should be noticeably coarser than for an espresso. You should be able to roll it between your fingers and thumb and feel the almost “gritty” and “grainy” texture.
I have found for my plunger, that a heaped dessert spoon (per cup) works best. Generally speaking a 6 cup plunger will yield 3-4 “decent” cups, unless you’re happy with serving coffee at Low Tide!
Boiling water can “burn” the coffee slightly – so I prefer to use the water when it is “just boiled” (wait around 30-seconds) so it has cooled slightly. When pouring water over the ground coffee, a circular motion ensures movement in the coffee (and the swirling water helps start the process by “mixing” it all together). Alternatively you can also use a spoon to give it a good stir once the plunger is filled. Most standard plungers have a silver ring surrounding the glass (in line with the handle), I find this is a handy guide for the water level. Fill the plunger to the bottom of this ring and you should be away laughing!
After 4 minutes, give the coffee another stir and then you’re safe to take the plunge! This allows the coffee ample time to extract all the goodness, without getting bitter. Remember that any coffee remaining in the plunger will continue to brew – so you’re best to make it as you need it. You may be tempted to pour yourself a second cup 15 minutes later, but it can actually get quite nasty after a while!
Hopefully this rough guide gives you an insight into the wonderful world of plunger coffee and you have found it easy enough to follow. Stay tuned for my tips & tricks for Home Espresso, coming soon!