Start the Press

The French Press is one of my favourites. Anyone thats kept an eye on this blog will know that its one of my favourite brewing methods and if your any way interested in why then have a quick look here.

A few years back I had little or no interest in coffee other than the knowledge that I liked the taste of good coffee, whatever that was. One day I bought a cheap French Press, some coffee beans (pre-ground I must admit) and sat down with a hangover and a fry up and began to brew them. Effectively what I did was lob some grounds in, throw some water on top and it tasted great! Job well done, happy out.

The following week however I recreated my little masterclass and to my utter astonishment the coffee tasted awful. I couldnt understand it. All the variable were the same as far as I could tell. I was hungover, it was Sunday, the coffee brand was the same and I’d used the same kettle. What else could it have been? The frustration was too much so I googled “how to brew coffee” and a few years on here I am.

Its also true that the vast majority of my customers who buy bags of coffee from me will use a French Press/Cafetiere as their weapon of choice. I therefore have a vested interest in making sure they brew it properly so they get the most out of it, and hopefully they’ll come back and buy some more coffee from me in future. Its a no brainer really.

Therefore this past Sunday we held the second of a monthly series of events here at Third Floor Espresso where despite the arctic conditions here in Dublin a full house braved conditions for our own brand of French Press group therapy. Most people had a pretty good idea of how to brew a good press but we decided to focus on the killer elements that really make it worthwhile; temperature, freshness, brew ratio, grind size and steep time.

There was also a chance to try some really great coffees on the day. Steve’s Sidikalang Natural was a really great way to burst some pre-conceived conceptions of what coffee can be. Its a controversial coffee in some circles but “fermented banana” was the descriptor that kept popping up. Incredibly sweet though and despite the funkiness it is an incredibly drinkable coffee, especialy in the press.

We also had a Costa Rican coffee in the form of La Pria at hand. This one is probably my preference at this stage but in saying that it was interesting to see the 50/50 split amongst the attendees (and relieving too, I’d sold out of most of the coffee that week so the split decision ensured there was enough of each to go round!). 

Although I loved both, my prefernce was with the La Pria, but it was a timely reminder for me to acknowledge that sometimes my customers will have a different preference. My job is to merely offer them a sufficent choice.

These monthly meet-ups will continue, perhaps not always in the guise of a brew class though. I’m planning on perhaps doing a “milk steaming” class, an “Ethiopian Coffee Event” with Irelands Ambassador to Ethiopia , a beer vs. coffee tasting as well as a host of other events. If you’d like to get in on the action drop me an email and I’ll pop you on the mailing list. (also, if you didnt get the last email but you had put your name down, please let me know).

In the meantime 3FE continues to grow, and I have many of you to thank for that. Happy New Year.



2 thoughts on “Start the Press

  1. Brew Guides! Ben and I are working on some at the moment for The Espresso Room – you should get your designers on creating a simple but effective leaflet / flyer / mini guide that you can have on your counter. I have found the ones that James created start to many conversations with regulars and first time vistors. It really gets people thinking about what they usually do and the process of making a cup of coffee. Plus, if people have these sat at home next to the coffee and kettle I should imagine they will be popping back in soon to get stocked up on wondeful coffee.

    I will have to get over and come see you soon. Glad to hear all is going well.

  2. colinharmon says:

    Thats a great idea! I’ll get onto them about that very soon. Things really begining to take shape so really happy. Launch party is Jan 24th if you can make it that weekend??

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