Here at the Coffee Bean Shop, we love offering up useful hints and tips for making your amazing-tasting coffee all that it can be, which is why you’ll find tons of blog posts here, full of recipes for your favourite coffee drinks, helpful guides on different types of coffee, and insights into what makes coffee just so awesome.
Today we are looking at the hugely popular cafetière brewer. Found on many kitchen sides, in hotel room baskets or in office break rooms, it was the first exposure that many of us had to brewing fresh coffee at home. Yet it is somewhat misunderstood and doesn't always get to be used to its full potential. We thought we’d do a Q&A to some of the most asked questions, such as how much coffee in a cafetière and which beans are best for it?
If you’re completely new to the world of cafetière coffee, read our blog post all about how to make the perfect cafetière coffee before diving into the text below, as we explore the more niche and technical aspects of the mighty cafetière. Think of it as cafetière coffee - the intermediate level.
Question #1: what is a cafetière, and why should I use it?
Most of us grew up with a cafetière, also known as a French Press, in our parents' home. It is that thin round metal or glass carafe, with a plunger on the top. Remember it?
Yet, while it may not look as flashy as newer, more complex coffee brewers, it is a much misunderstood and underestimated brewing method.
For example, unlike fully mechanised coffee machines, you have complete control over various aspects of the brewing process - the amount of beans used, and the time it takes to brew, which makes it a fantastic way to explore the wonderfully complex world of coffee brewing, experimenting with single origin beans and beginning the exciting pursuit of finding your dream coffee brew/bean and method combination.
Question #2: How much coffee in a cafetière?
First of all, If you are looking for an answer to how much coffee is in a cafetière, but are looking for the caffeine content rather than the volume, we have a blog post that looks in detail at the subject of caffeine levels found in popular coffee drinks, such as lattes, and the various methods of home brewing.
As for how much actual coffee to put into your cafetière:
Just like most manual brewing methods, there’s quite a large margin for actual error, how much coffee you use will depend largely on the desired result and personal taste.
The general rule of thumb is one scoop of coffee beans for one mug. Of course, this will depend on the strength of the drink you are after, the size of your cup and the type of coffee you are using.
If you are entertaining, one of the perks of a cafetière over other home brewing methods is that you can make everyone’s drink at the same time. (Aeropress, while it may make exceptional coffee, can be a right faff once you’re onto the 5th single-crafted drink for a group of friends) In these cases, it is probably best to look at your water-to-coffee ratio. 60g of coffee per litre of water is a good starting point. 2 tablespoons (or one scoop) of coffee = 10g.
Question #3: What coffee is best for a cafetière?
Cafetières are popular because they are easy to use and they work with any coffee bean, but once you’ve mastered the basics, there comes an urge to experiment with taste, timings and bean types. But what coffee beans work best in a cafetière?
We all know that for coffee to be its absolute best, it has to be freshly ground. While the best case scenario would be that you can grind the beans yourself just before you use them, such as with one of our burr grinders, a close second is opting for coffee beans that have been ground specifically for use in a cafetière. All of our beans can be pre-ground for your particular brewing methods, simply choose from the drop-down options when ordering.
If you are grinding it yourself, go for a coarse grind. Because the cafetière relies on the beans being fully immersed in water, the grind needs to be on the medium to coarse side of the scale. This allows the brew to happen slowly, building up a nice, even flavour. If you use a grind that is too fine, the coffee will become over-extracted, and taste bitter as a result. Plus, there’s a chance that really fine grinds could pass through the filter, leaving sediment in your cup. Nice.
To get started we would recommend any beans that are full-bodied with richer roasts. The natural oils are closer to the surface in darker, more intensely roasted beans, and as there is no paper filter in a cafetière, these will make their way into your coffee cup, leading to a wonderfully full, rich flavour experience.
- Our Monsoon Malabar is a fantastic coffee to make in a cafetière, with a smooth earthy taste profile and a medium acidity.
- Another good bean variety is the Old brown java, a firm favourite with cafetière coffee drinkers, renowned for its uniquely smokey dark flavour.
- Colombian Bucaramanga is one of our best-selling beans for a reason, and its full, rich, yet startlingly clean taste makes it a perfect choice for cafetière coffee, or any filter coffee for that matter. Start your morning with this coffee, and you are going to have a good day.
Question #4: How long do you leave coffee in a cafetière?
If you want to keep drinking out of the cafetière (you’ve brewed enough for a few cups, to be drunk over a period of time) remove it from the carafe and pour it into another container. While it may feel and look nice to have a warmly brewing cafetière sitting in front of you while you work, it is still brewing (read: stewing) in the beans and will only taste more bitter the longer you leave it. Plus, cafetière are renowned for their inability to keep the heat, and an accidental cold coffee is never going to taste great.
Hopefully, now you can go off and make wonderful tasting French Press beverages, armed with the knowledge of how much coffee in a cafetière, and what beans to go for.
And once you have made your delicious cup of coffee, we’ve got a whole range of uses for leftover coffee grounds.
However you decide to drink your morning brew, make sure you do so using the highest quality coffee beans found in the UK, roasted right here in Kent, by our small family-run roastery.