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Recommended setting for French Press


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Hi,

I'm looking for advice on the best number to use for french press e.g. 1.30 etc where 1 is a full rotation? 

Also I'm a little disappointed I have to do full rotations to go coarser than 50, does anyone have any tips for keeping track of how much you've turned it?

My other half thinks it's a bad design keeping track (she drinks french press).

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Hi Darren,

It is really tough to be able to go from espresso to coarse and back on any grinder. I know the Niche is one of the better ones but in my (admittedly limited) experience with the Niche the setting on the dial do not go coarse enough and some have taken to putting their own marks on them for coarser grinds.

You may also have difficulty translating others settings to your own grinder as all are a touch different. Again, the Niche is one of the better ones but you will always have to hone it yourself.

The best solution in my mind is a dedicated espresso grinder and a brew grinder. I appreciate this is often a big budget stretch but a hand grinder can fulfil one of these roles and keep costs sensible. Perhaps that is worth considering.

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52 minutes ago, darrenhaken said:

I'm looking for advice on the best number to use for french press e.g. 1.30 etc where 1 is a full rotation? 

Also I'm a little disappointed I have to do full rotations to go coarser than 50, does anyone have any tips for keeping track of how much you've turned it?

I don't use them often at the moment but any advice depends on the coffee and method you use. I humbly suggest trying out the James Hoffman method for french press - from this video - and then I'm pretty sure you aren't going to need to go so coarse. You can use quite a fine grind with french press. 

BTW the fact you have to do full rotations kind of gives you an idea of how adjustable it is. If it went from espresso to a coarse setting (say for chemex or some v60 etc.) in one turn then it would be making a wider adjustment in the grind setting with a smaller turn of the dial - if you see what I mean - which would ultimately make it less adjustable for some espresso settings or so on. 

4 minutes ago, BlackCatCoffee said:

It is really tough to be able to go from espresso to super coarse and back on any grinder. I know the Niche is one of the better ones but in my (admittedly limited) experience with the Niche the setting on the dial do not go coarse enough and some have taken to putting their own marks on them for coarser grinds.

You may also have difficulty translating others settings to your own grinder as all are a touch different. Again, the Niche is one of the better ones but you will always have to hone it yourself.

The best solution in my mind is a dedicated espresso grinder and a brew grinder. I appreciate this is often a big budget stretch but a hand grinder can fulfil one of these roles and keep costs sensible. Perhaps that is worth considering.

As I mentioned it doesn't have to be super coarse. I don't think if you have a Niche and are happy with it's overall grind quality there is any need for two grinders (I do have more than one grinder but had others before the Niche). 

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1 hour ago, darrenhaken said:

Hi,

I'm looking for advice on the best number to use for french press e.g. 1.30 etc where 1 is a full rotation? 

Also I'm a little disappointed I have to do full rotations to go coarser than 50, does anyone have any tips for keeping track of how much you've turned it?

My other half thinks it's a bad design keeping track (she drinks french press).

Turn the adjustment so your white dot is at 50. Add a 2nd marker at "0", so that on the 2nd mark "5" is now 55, "20" becomes 70, etc.

A small glass press, I'd start maybe around 30-40. For a large (8 cup) press & long steep 55-60 should be OK, a steel insulated press & very long brew 60-70min, might be OK around 80.

Basically, the better the heat retention, the coarser you can go & mitigate silt, whilst getting a normal extraction.

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@MWJB thanks that's really helpful.

So the extra markers are to help when doing a second rotation?

It sounds like you never rotate much beyond 50 for your brewing, is that right?

 

The french press is harder to find the right grind setting than v60 which is annoying. At least with the V60 I can work off the extraction time.

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I typicaly move to the safety switch for the Sowden. If you don't want to add extra dots then just move the calibration ring by itself -- go to 50 then move the calibration ring back by whatever you need, say to 40 then adjust the burrs so it moves back to 50, which is now really 60. When you want to go finer adjust the burrs down to 40 and then move the calibration ring to 50 and you're calibrated the same as you were before.

Edited by Rob1
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48 minutes ago, darrenhaken said:

@MWJB thanks that's really helpful.

So the extra markers are to help when doing a second rotation?

It sounds like you never rotate much beyond 50 for your brewing, is that right?

 

The french press is harder to find the right grind setting than v60 which is annoying. At least with the V60 I can work off the extraction time.

Yes, the extra marker helps you keep to the stock numbering, when going past 50.

I would normally brew V60 between 55 & 60 (I was at 57.5 & would start here for an 8 cup glass pot), but am currently brewing as coarse as I can for 1 mug at 87.

You can't work off extraction time with V60, work off grind setting & pour time.

You can work off brew time more easily with French press. Let's say an 8 cup/800g of water glass pot takes 50min to get down to drinking temp, you're not going to leave it much longer than that, so you just grind finer to fend off unpleasant acidity, grind coarser to fend off silt.

You probably won't want to leave a 300g pot for more than about 20min, so go finer. For 10min, you'll be verging on espresso grind.

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19 minutes ago, darrenhaken said:

@MWJB yes I meant pour time with the v60.

Re french press - are you saying you'd base the grind around flavour?

Yes, leave the brew as long as you can to ensure fullest extraction, try not to kick up silt (will cause bittering non-dissolved solids at any extraction). Hoffman's 'no plunge' brew technique is a great help in this respect.

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On 29/04/2020 at 16:12, MWJB said:

 

I would normally brew V60 between 55 & 60 (I was at 57.5 & would start here for an 8 cup glass pot), but am currently brewing as coarse as I can for 1 mug at 87.

 

Hey man, can I ask why you're opening up the grind at the mo? Are you using a different pour technique?

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8 minutes ago, Jon_Foster said:

Hey man, can I ask why you're opening up the grind at the mo? Are you using a different pour technique?

Yes, brewing at the coarsest realistic setting for my brew size, 220g water poured in pulses of 20g every 20s.

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5 minutes ago, MWJB said:

Yes, brewing at the coarsest realistic setting for my brew size, 220g water poured in pulses of 20g every 20s.

Cheers,  It works best for me set around 75/80 as well but I'd started to wonder if I actually just preferred the taste of under extracted coffee as grinding that coarse doesn't seem particularly popular.

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1 minute ago, Jon_Foster said:

Cheers,  It works best for me set around 75/80 as well but I'd started to wonder if I actually just preferred the taste of under extracted coffee as grinding that coarse doesn't seem particularly popular.

The coffee I was last brewing was a bit dark for my taste, also felt a bit silty, so this was as coarse as I could go to get cleaner cup, but without dropping extraction (my extractions are ball-park with what I'd expect from the 6 pour regime, or any drip brew of this size). Downside is brews take longer (~3:40) and I can't switch to another known regime with my other drip brewers. Upsides? I don't need to do any physical stirring, just spiral pours until the last few when a bit of liquid builds up over the bed, then I start each pour round the edge, finishing each one straight down the middle.

I sifted this setting with 600um & 1180um ASTM sieves and it's actually on par with SCAA drip grind.

The 6 pour regime is my go to (~57.5 on Niche), but I'm not married to any particular regime :-)

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On 04/05/2020 at 16:19, Jon_Foster said:

Cheers,  It works best for me set around 75/80 as well but I'd started to wonder if I actually just preferred the taste of under extracted coffee as grinding that coarse doesn't seem particularly popular.

I can't prove it, but I'm sure we used to have a higher ratio of water to coffee AND coarser grinds for our french press when I first started drinking it (mid 1990s back when Blue Mountain was the top coffee). I've tried to the ratios as per Mr Hoffmann and really don't like it that much (love the brewing method though). Currently I'm playing with somewhere between 50 and the top screw grind size at around 50g/litre. 

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5 minutes ago, Oy_mckoy said:

I can't prove it, but I'm sure we used to have a higher ratio of water to coffee AND coarser grinds for our french press when I first started drinking it (mid 1990s back when Blue Mountain was the top coffee). I've tried to the ratios as per Mr Hoffmann and really don't like it that much (love the brewing method though). Currently I'm playing with somewhere between 50 and the top screw grind size at around 50g/litre. 

I'll use 50g/L occasionally for darker roasts, more like 54/55g per L for light medium & shorter brew times/smaller pots. Up to 65-ish g/L for longer steeps in steel pots. It really depends on the pot's heat retention & steep time.

Not sure when the coarse grind FP thing started, but they knew in the 50's it doesn't work for steeps, updosing just compensates for weakness in under-extracted brews, but can't fix rampant acidic notes.

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I prefer a tighter grind for FP than V60 but I'm thinking I should experiment a little tighter with the V60 than I usually do... I've been trying to replicate the grind size I get at 2:4 on the Feld, which looked to be around 75/80 on the Niche but I'm wondering if my calibration is a bit off... I've been using the Niche for spro and the Feld for V60 but I'm gonna have a little play with niche/V60 this afternoon.

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  • 8 months later...
On 29/04/2020 at 16:12, MWJB said:

Yes, the extra marker helps you keep to the stock numbering, when going past 50.

I would normally brew V60 between 55 & 60 (I was at 57.5 & would start here for an 8 cup glass pot), but am currently brewing as coarse as I can for 1 mug at 87.

You can't work off extraction time with V60, work off grind setting & pour time.

You can work off brew time more easily with French press. Let's say an 8 cup/800g of water glass pot takes 50min to get down to drinking temp, you're not going to leave it much longer than that, so you just grind finer to fend off unpleasant acidity, grind coarser to fend off silt.

You probably won't want to leave a 300g pot for more than about 20min, so go finer. For 10min, you'll be verging on espresso grind.

I’m completely new to brewing coffee and have just bought my first 500ml french press and a Niche.

I've been following the Hoffman method (30g/500ml) allowing to brew for 4+5 mins, but I didn’t realise you:

1) Should grind verging on espresso for this brew size

2) could brew coffee for as long as 20 minutes

tbh I’m just a bit overwhelmed by everything. What the Niche describes as course looks nothing like the pictures of what I see online and my coffee doesn’t taste anywhere as good as I remember it at my local coffee shop. We are both brew Square Mile Red Brick

For someone in my position brewing 30g/500ml in a french press how long should I brew for and where should I set the grind to.

 

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3 minutes ago, Econ said:

I’m completely new to brewing coffee and have just bought my first 500ml french press and a Niche.

I've been following the Hoffman method (30g/500ml) allowing to brew for 4+5 mins, but I didn’t realise you:

1) Should grind verging on espresso for this brew size

2) could brew coffee for as long as 20 minutes

tbh I’m just a bit overwhelmed by everything. What the Niche describes as course looks nothing like the pictures of what I see online and my coffee doesn’t taste anywhere as good as I remember it at my local coffee shop. We are both brew Square Mile Red Brick

For someone in my position brewing 30g/500ml in a french press how long should I brew for and where should I set the grind to.

 

What is your press made of, glass or insulated steel. This is important.

Ignore the descriptions on the Niche fascia, "50" is more "medium" than "coarse". One full turn on the Niche would be coarse.

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19 minutes ago, MWJB said:

What is your press made of, glass or insulated steel. This is important...

As in "solid bodied" or with vacuum walls ? or other ? ...do you have a link/url/recommendation please...."important" ??? ...many thanks in advance.

“Rincewind wasn't used to people being pleased to see him. It was unnatural, and boded no good. These people were not only cheering, they were throwing flowers and hats. The hats were made out of stone, but the thought was there.”

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12 minutes ago, Rumpelstiltskin said:

As in "solid bodied" or with vacuum walls ? or other ? ...do you have a link/url/recommendation please...."important" ??? ...many thanks in advance.

Single walled vs insulated reflects in both the time the slurry will be kept hot & therefore final extraction (fast decline in temp = lower extraction). This impacts target steep time  & grind size.

So, for a single walled glass press I would grind finer (40-50 on Niche) as the coffee will cool more quickly (maybe 30-40min steep). For a double walled press, I can grind coarser (50-60 on Niche), steep longer (60min+) and increase extraction, thus I can also use a higher brew ratio.

You don't need a link, I just wrote it here.

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10 minutes ago, MWJB said:

You don't need a link, I just wrote it here.

Confused...you wrote the link (just read whole post and couldn't find one) above ...or...i don't need a link as in "search for yourself" or other ? ....again i'm confused.

“Rincewind wasn't used to people being pleased to see him. It was unnatural, and boded no good. These people were not only cheering, they were throwing flowers and hats. The hats were made out of stone, but the thought was there.”

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5 minutes ago, Rumpelstiltskin said:

Confused...you wrote the link (just read whole post and couldn't find one) above ...or...i don't need a link as in "search for yourself" or other ? ....again i'm confused.

You won't find a link even if you search, you'll just find commonly held misconceptions about <10min brew times & fears of "over-extraction". You can steep in a French press until your coffee is too cool to enjoy, it won't over-extract, it will just go cold.

You can however grind so fine that silt becomes bittering at normal extraction (the actual particles of roasted wood making their way into the cup, though this doesn't bother fans of Turkish coffee), or kick up silt at a reasonable grind ruining the cup (this is where Hoffmann's no plunge technique is a godsend, as it aims to reduce kicked up silt).

Back in the 1950's scientists at MIT did some tests with steeped coffee, when they ground for filter (avg. grind size 840um), or coarser, the coffee wouldn't over-extract after 20 minutes held at a constant temperature (last time I checked the actual article was still subject to copyright). Coarse ground coffee (1mm avg. size) wouldn't hit normal extractions in that time. French press, even insulated, can't retain constant temp.

Sometime in the 90's everyone got very confused about grind size & steeping, and it's still a hangover today.

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lol...i don't think i conveyed my message properly, so i'll rephrase it....

"where can i buy one of those insulated steel French Press's" you was asking/referring to Econ several post's up....the link i was asking for was hopefully someone that you had purhased or could recommend buying one (the insulated steel) from.....my apologies if i wasn't clear in my initial request.

“Rincewind wasn't used to people being pleased to see him. It was unnatural, and boded no good. These people were not only cheering, they were throwing flowers and hats. The hats were made out of stone, but the thought was there.”

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