How to Make French Press Coffee Like a Barista

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Add 1 heaped tablespoon of ground coffee for every 1 cup of water 

Make sure your coffee is ground coarsely, not finely

Boil the water in a kettle, and once it has boiled, let the water cool for 1 minute before pouring into the French press

Pour half the water in, allow the coffee to bloom for a minute, then add the remaining half of the water

Press the plunger down gently

Why does my coffee taste bitter?

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There appear to be 4 main reasons behind bitter coffee. Here’s a summary:

  1. You have ground your coffee beans too finely. The increased surface area of the coffee, when it’s finely ground, means that more bitterness will leach out once you add hot water.
  2. You’ve over-brewed it. Coffee made in a French press is particularly susceptible to bitterness. Once you’ve brewed your plunger coffee, pour it out into a thermos so that it stops steeping. Problem solved!
  3. The water’s too hot. Ideally, use water that’s heated to between 90 and 96 degrees celsius
  4. Did you clean your coffee equipment thoroughly? If there are traces of yesterday’s coffee in your coffee machine, there’s a good chance your brew will taste bitter.


The art of storing tea

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Moisture is tea’s biggest enemy, and in a humid climate like Hanoi’s, tea lovers must carefully strategise in order to preserve our tea if we want it to last more than a couple of months. Glass, lacquer, metal, ceramic or plastic jars can all be used to successfully store tea, provided they have tightly-sealed lids. Exposure to light also takes a toll on tea, so you may be safer using a storage container that blocks out all light, such as pottery or lacquer, and avoid keeping tea near windows- it’s much safer kept in a cupboard.

Once the temperature in your kitchen rises above about 27 degrees Celsius, tea will start to deteriorate, so you should definitely store tea away from sources of heat such as ovens and stoves. Finally, as tea is a such a porous commodity, it easily takes on the aroma of strong-smelling substances stored nearby. Keep tea away from spices and if you have any strong-smelling teas in your cupboard, store them separately from mild-smelling teas like green tea.