How to use a coffee plunger


by Alex Chapman

Though coffee plungers used to be a popular tool used to make a fresh, rich pot of brewed coffee, thanks to the emergence of high-tech expresso machines, they're sometimes overlooked. Regardless of their popularity, they shouldn't be snubbed, a coffee plunger is an amazing tool the can help you brew an aromatic coffee that's full of flavour.

Coffee plungers work by letting freshly ground coffee and hot water infuse together in the canister for a few minutes. Once the flavours are absorbed into the hot water, the plunger is then used to filter out the ground coffee and ensure that it doesn't make it into your mug.

A coffee plunger gives you the freedom to adjust the strength of your coffee to suit you, and also allows you to adjust the temperature of the water to ensure that your coffee is brewed perfectly to your personal preference.

Using a coffee plunger is extremely easy. However, if you're not familiar with using the coffee tool, you may initially find the look of the plunger a little overwhelming. Not to worry, we've popped together a step by step guide on how to use a coffee plunger below.

A step-by-step guide to making plunger coffee

Warm up your canister

To preheat your canister simply add some hot water from the tap and swish it around the canister. After a few swishes, you can tip this water down the sink.

Measure out your coffee

The amount of coffee you use in your canister will completely depend on your personal preference - some people like to use large scoops of coffee for a stronger taste while others prefer to use a level teaspoon. Generally, it's recommended to use approximately one heaped teaspoon per cup of coffee you intend to make. After your first cup you can play around with the amount of coffee you use to suit your preference.

Grind your coffee beans

If you're looking to store your coffee at home over a period of weeks, then it's important that you keep the coffee as whole beans, rather than preground. This is because whole coffee beans can retain flavour much better than ground coffee beans. To read more about why visit our guide on how to store coffee beans.

The technique of grinding your coffee beans is usually straightforward, but will depend on your type of grinder. A basic black coffee grinder simply requires for you to pour the beans into the grinder and press on. The tools blades should quickly pulverise the coffee beans to a consistency that can be used in your plunger.

Add the ground coffee to the plunger

Once you've finished grinding the coffee you can add it straight into the plunger. Our coffee already comes plunger ground ready to make.

Add hot water

Now, it's time to add the hot water to the canister. Like the coffee, the amount you add will depend on the strength of coffee you desire - as well as how many cups you want to make. Be sure to add hot, but not boiling, water, if the water is too hot you may risk burning the coffee which can add a bitter taste. Also, keep in mind that if the water isn't hot enough, it won't adequately extract the flavour out of the coffee.

Let your coffee brew

Pop the lid onto the coffee plunger and let the coffee and water brew together for around four minutes. This will give the water time to infuse the coffee and create a rich flavour. Make sure you don't press the plunger down, but just allow the lid to sit on top to ensure the heat and flavour is contained.

Plunge your coffee

After the water and coffee have had a few minutes to infuse, it's time to plunge the coffee. Do so by gently, but firmly, pressing the plunger through the coffee. Be sure not to press the plunger hard to the bottom of the canister, as doing this can cause the sediment to escape and allow it to be poured into your cup of coffee.

Pour your coffee & serve immediately

Once the coffee is plunged, pour the brew immediately into mugs or cups. If you leave the coffee in the plunger it will continue to infuse, affecting the taste. The water will also continue to cool, which is a preferable taste for those who like their coffees piping hot!

FAQ's

Can I brew my plunger coffee with milk?

Putting milk into a coffee plunger isn't the traditional way to brewing coffee. Plus, milk can clog the coffee filter and ferment inside the filter if it's not completely cleaned off. Adding milk directly to a french press can also cause the coffee not to brew properly and create sludge. So, if you're desiring a creamy, milky taste then it's best to add milk to your coffee once it's finished brewing and is already poured into a mug. Simply top up the mug with your desired amount of milk, and enjoy!

If I like strong coffee, how much should I use in my canister?

There are no set rules around exactly how much coffee you should put in your french press coffee maker - this will depend on the taste and strength you personally prefer for your coffee. To discover how the right amount of coffee for you, we'd recommend playing around with different amounts of coffee and water for each brew until you find your perfect taste.

To start with, most people will use a single teaspoon of ground coffee per cup of water. However, if you'd prefer to start with a stronger taste, you can use two heaped teaspoons per cup of water.

Can I grind coffee beans without a grinder?

Grinders are easy to find, relatively cheap and play a large part in determining the taste and quality of your brew. While it's possible to grind coffee beans without a grinder, we wouldn't recommend it.

When coffee is ground finely, there will be more surface area coming in contact with the water - creating a richer taste and a longer brew time. It's also important to note that if you grind coffee without a grinder (for example, with a mortar and pestle) then you won't be able to ensure you're achieving the same grind each time.

This will result in a different taste each day, which isn't ideal once you manage to find your perfect brew.

Should I stir the coffee in my grinder?

Whether to stir or not stir is a hotel debated topic in the coffee world. However, some baristas recommend not stirring the coffee at all and letting it infuse with the hot water on its own. Unstirred pots of coffee can help to ensure there isn't sediment left behind when extracting the coffee and achieve a richer flavour.

Is it normal for there to be a 'crust' of coffee at the top of my plunger?

Yes, a layer of crust at the top of a coffee plunger is completely normal. The way that this crust is handled can have a dramatic effect on the final taste and flavour of the coffee.

If you prefer a rich, full bodied taste, use a spoon to stir the crust in, this should cause the coffee to fall to the bottom of the canister. If you prefer a lighter and milder cup of coffee, use a spoon to scoop the floating coffee grounds out of the coffee grinder and discard them.

Once this is done you can go ahead and plunge your coffee as normal.

Is a french press different from a coffee plunger?

A french press and a coffee plunger are the same things. The name of the device tends to change depending on the region it's in. In America, coffee plungers are commonly called a coffee press or french press and in Australia, they're commonly referred to as a coffee plunger.

What's the best flavour of coffee to use in a coffee plunger?

Ground coffee starts to lose its flavour thirty minutes after its ground. So, for the most flavoursome cup of coffee, we recommend buying full coffee beans waiting to grind your coffee beans until you're ready to brew a pot.

As for the varying flavours, this depends on your personal taste preference. If you like a cup of coffee that's light and sweet with a hint of caramel, then our Yellow Bourbon Brazilian Coffee Beans are a popular choice.

If you prefer a stronger, more fragrant flavour, our organic jungle bean coffee has a full body with tones of cocoa. Of course, our signature blend has always been one of our most popular types of coffee. This type of bean creates a balanced chocolate and malt medium body coffee with good acidity, and honey sweetness.


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