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What’s the best grind for a French Press / Cafetière?
What’s the best grind for a French Press / Cafetière?

There’s nothing quite like a freshly brewed pot of French Press coffee. 

It’s quite the artisan method for making coffee; load fresh grounds into the pot, stir as you go, add the water, replace the lid, and step back. Now’s your chance to enjoy four minutes of peace as the magic happens. 

When we’re making cafetière coffee, many of us just open the nearest bag of coffee and chuck it in the pot. Rarely do we stop to consider the type of coffee and its grind size before starting the process. But it can make a big difference in the quality of the final drink. 

The first thing to say about the grind is that to get as close to perfection as possible, you’ll want to grind your own beans. Yes, we do sell many different types of ground coffee, but home-grinding is an extra step that’s always worth it. Not only do you get to enjoy the gorgeous, rich aromas filling the air as soon as they’re released from the bean, but the beans don’t have a chance to lose a single bit of flavour before the brewing starts. That means all the flavour stays in the cup. 

(If you’re looking to start grinding at home, you’d do well to start with our guide to home-ground coffee. And we stock the fabulous Hario Skerton grinder in our shop.) 

If you’ve got a customisable grinder, even better. A conical burr grinder is best, with which you should be able to adjust the burrs to produce a medium or coarse grind size. You might have to experiment a few times to find what works best for you, but that’s part of the enjoyment of the process. 

If you’re not able to grind at home, not to worry – delicious coffee is still within reach. Let’s consider first the different types of ground coffee you may want to look out for. 

Firstly, for French Press coffee you’ll want to aim for a medium to coarse grind.

If it’s too fine a grind, it’ll go through the filter and you’ll end up with grinds in your coffee and a muddy, over-rich brew. So don’t think you can get away with an espresso grind in your cafetière – you can’t!

On the other hand, if the grind’s too coarse, you might find the brew being too weak as there’s a lack of surface area for flavour to be extracted from into the water. The grinds will also be more likely to get stuck in the filter. 

 

Many high street coffee suppliers will only sell ‘ground coffee’, without specifying the grind size, but it’s usually okay for a French Press. The only time it isn’t is when it says ‘espresso grind’, which will be too fine.

With more specialist suppliers (like us!) you should find more specific grind sizes made for each brew type. Ours range from the finest (espresso) to medium (Aeropress) to coarse (cafetière), as well as whole bean for home grind. So if you’re planning on French Pressing, choose the cafetière option when you order your next Neighbourhood bag.

So, if you can, grind it fresh – just as you’re about to make the cup. If you can roast the beans at home, too, even better (check out our guide to home roasting to see how that works https://www.neighbourhoodcoffee.co.uk/how-to-roast-coffee-beans-at-home/). But otherwise, the right ground coffee can make all the difference for your French Press experience. Enjoy!

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