Would it differ for dark or expresso roast beans and lighter roast? Still seeking the perfect combination of variables! (Using a Pavoni grinder)
Just course enough that you can still push the plunger. That's my rule of thumb.
I own three different coffee presses. In my experience the best results are yielded from medium roasted beans, occasionally the light medium roasts can be good too. Preheat the chamber for a bit, add grounds add, 203 deg Fahrenheit water, the purer the better, brew for 3 minutes, cap on/ plunger up, press, done. Find a local roaster and use their beans. I have one that sells incredible single origin roasts that I have used for horizontal and vertical tastings. As for the actual grind, it depends on how tight your mesh screen is. For a typical Bodum Chambord, I like something maybe two steps up from drip, anything finer is gonna turn to sludge in the mug, and anything coarser will make for too light of a cup. I suggest picking up a Espro Press, a Canadian Press pot, with double-wall construction, for maximum thermal stability and using a proprietary double screen, one get the big stuff, the other gets the fines. It produces incredibly clean coffee that still has all the oils you know and love from French pressed coffee. Its a bit expensive but well worth it. Right now they only make a single (9 oz. cuppa) model but their Kickstarter got funded recently so a bigger one is on the way soon.
If you're interested in more precise stats: 4g coffee/7oz. water. That is what works for me. If I use a lighter roast, which is what I have on hand now, I brew for four minutes. And regardless of roast, I always give it a stir after one minute. That way the grounds get better immersion with the water. It also makes pressing the pot a lot easier (I have only had it "jump" once, which led to first degree burns). Some people go a step further and scoop out the "crust" before pressing. This way the resulting cuppa is much cleaner (less grit). Really it comes down to the amount of experimentation you want to do, and the way you like your coffee to taste.
Mr. Vittles- you are amazing! Excellent answer!
Thank you allans. I also use the Clever Coffee Dripper, the Beehouse, the Hario V60, the Aeropress, the aforementioned Espro Press, Bodum Chambord, Bodum Brazil, the Melitta Go-Joe, the Ibrik/Turkish coffee, and the Bialetti pot. So, if you have any questions on how to make a cuppa, ask away.
Yes, excellent answers. We'll be testing -- and trying Sumatran beans, as suggested on another recent question.
Can't wait to hear your results, susan g! I use more coffee than Mr. Vittles, more like 7 grams per 6 ounce "cup," (though I haven't weighed or measured recently), with a 4-minute brew, I've seen advice with even more, on the order of 10 grams per cup. I also prefer darker roasts than he does. And I even really don't mind a little grit! Using a French press is so easy--you'll quickly figure out what suits you best.
Your input was very successful! He is grinding the coffee a little more coarse than drip, watching the water temperature, and steeping it 3 - 5 minutes in the Bodum pot, very happily. Now, confession: In 1987 we opened a restaurant where all coffee service was in the Bodum press pot, with water drawn from our professional expresso machine, using the customer's choice of beans which we ground -- it was heavenly coffee. Since then, he's never been happy with the coffee he makes, til now, thanks to you!
Down side of glass press pots in a restaurant. As small as it was, we couldn't prevent breakage, and the cost of replacing the glass was expensive. It was a short lived business, but memorable.