How to make the perfect plunger coffee

One of the most under appreciated, yet consistently used, methods of brewing coffee is the plunger or French Press. Practically every home has one of these simple inventions and yet how many of us know how to make a really good cup of coffee with this device.

We talk to Simon Jaramillo, fourth generation Columbian coffee farmer, roaster and owner of hyper-focused brew bar The Reformatory Caffeine Lab about how to make the most of this brewing method. Here are his tips and the steps involved for making a great cup of plunger coffee at home or the office.

  1. Choose a coffee with high body (washed processed coffees are good for this) and make sure the beans are ‘light roasted’ for filter coffee.
  2. Measure out 30g of coffee for 750ml of water or 17g for 500ml
  3. Freshly grind the beans (courser grind, around 3 clicks back from the coarsest grind)
  4. Wash the plunger device thoroughly in hot water
  5. Place coffee in plunger
  6. Pour in water at 93 degrees (30 seconds off the boil with the lid off the kettle)
  7. Every 250ml poured in, stir for three seconds to agitate
  8. After three minutes, gently scoop off the ‘crust’ (floating grounds)
  9. After four minutes, slowly depress the plunger. This should take about 15 seconds and be done at a consistent pace
  10. Decant into a separate vessel or cup and leave for at least two minutes
  11. Plunger needs to be drank reasonably warm as it does not hold the flavour as well as other filter coffee methods as it cools. Optimal drinking time will be between 2-5 minutes after plunging when the coffee will be approximately 60 degrees.

Plunger coffee has a different texture, if that is the right description, to other filter coffee. It is somehow juicier and bolder in its flavours. This is the wonderful thing about coffee. Whether it is espresso, filter or plunger, the flavour will be so different meaning you can select the method that best suits your palate. You can see our guides to Aeropress and Clever Coffee Dripper. Try them all out and find the one that best suits you.

Note: The Reformatory Caffeine LAB was crowned SMH Good Cafe Guide’s ‘best brew bar’ when it opened in 2014. Even more recently, Simon took out the Regional ‘Brewers Cup’ award for NSW/ACT Australian Specialty Coffee Association’s annual competition using a V60 pour-over device. Reformatory Caffeine Lab is also one of the few serious coffee operators in Sydney to offer plunger coffee to customers in addition to espresso, cold drip, V60 pour over, CCD, Aeropress, the list goes on.

Reformatory Caffeine LAB Simon JReformatory Caffeine LAB artwork cropped