Can You Use a Manual Grinder for French Press Coffee?

There are over 100 million daily coffee drinkers in the United States and 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee everyday. Wow! Just like gas fuels a car, in the same way coffee fuels this nation. It is no doubt that many of Americans are well educated as to what a good cup of coffee should taste like. The educated know that it isn’t only the quality of the coffee beans used that makes a good cup of coffee; it is also about the process of making it and the equipment used. Making coffee in a french press is a perfect example of this. People have tried to perfect the art of using a manual grinder to grind their coffee beans for french press use.

Hand Grinding For French Press

manual grinder for french pressThere are many ways of making coffee, all of which require different coarseness of coffee bean grind. For example when you use a drip coffee maker, you should be looking for a finer grind of coffee in comparison to that of a french press.  One of the least expensive options is to use a manual grinder. For those who don’t have time constraints in the morning, this is a great direction to go in if you are wanting to save some money. It isn’t only a cheaper tool to buy but it also has no affect on your electricity bill. It is also cheaper to buy whole coffee beans than it is to buy them already ground. Not to mention that the other approaches to making coffee require more things that you need to buy. For example: in drip coffee makers you need to buy paper filters or get washable gold filters among other possible things.

For some fascinating reason, people like to get their exercise by using a manual grinder along with their french press. French pressing seems to have become more popular for various reasons. Here are some:

  1. The naturally-present oil in the coffee is not absorbed. This oil seems to give the cup of coffee a desirable creaminess and taste.
  2. People like investing their time in the making of their cup of coffee. It gives them a greater sense of satisfaction when they drink it.
  3. It is cheaper and requires less parts in making the cup of coffee.
  4. It is the purest form of coffee (classic) that captures the concentrated flavors with results such as these: deep, dark and full-flavored.
  5. The french press itself is smaller in size and more attractive in a home than a coffee maker.
  6. Drinking coffee using this method can be therapeutic.
  7. You have control over the strength of the coffee.
  8. A french press is easy to clean.
  9. A french press can also be used in place of a tea infuser to brew loose tea.

Does a Manual Grinder Make Good Coarse Ground Coffee?

Before I explain why there is a need for a coarse grind of coffee beans I am going to explain how a french press works.

First off, the reason for a coarse grind of coffee beans is because finer grounds of coffee will seep through the press filter and into the coffee. So the process is as follows: you place your coarse ground coffee beans in the french press with hot water together. Then you stir it and leave it there for a few minutes; this is the brewing taking place.

When the few minutes are up, you then press the plunger to trap the coffee grounds at the bottom of the french press beaker. So this is the reason why french pressed coffee captures more of the coffee’s flavor and keeps the natural coffee bean oil in it because coffee grounds remain in direct contact with the brewing water. So instead of using a paper filter like in drip coffee makers, the french press has a mesh that isolates the coffee bean grind from the brewing water and so retains the natural goodness of coffee. This is the simple process to using a french press.

Some french presses are better than others. If you are interested in starting your new journey to a better cup of coffee, here are some french presses that have been the most successful in giving the most consistent cup of coffee: KONA or Bodum Brazil.

Are Manual Grinders Good for French Press?

Now that we have touched on french presses let’s talk about manual grinders. Let’s be clear about something. Manual grinders are not the best for french pressing coffee because they falter a bit in the coarse range.

Hario makes both the Mini Mill and the Skerton, which are among the best for coarse range. These two are top of the line manual grinders that use burrs instead of blades. These burs are ceramic so they do not rust. Burs remain sharp longer than blades do. But when burs begin to lose their sharpness, they start crushing the beans more than grinding them, kind of like how using a food processor to grind coffee would do. This is no good for french pressing coffee, as it produces dust.

Dust or fine grind is not desirable for french pressing coffee as it leaves “mud” at the bottom of your cup of coffee which may be unpleasant. That is why it is essential that you get the best tool for the job. Manual grinders take a little elbow grease but if you don’t mind grinding your own coffee, you can produce coffee as good, if not better than, using an  electric grinder. You see, manual grinders don’t heat beans up during the grinding process which can have a small impact on the flavor. They also are known to be more durable than electric grinders. The backbone for a good cup of coffee is also about the consistency of the coarseness of the grind and so getting better quality equipment will help you reach that goal.

You are now at the end of my article. You read this because you had questions about the things that I talked about or maybe you were just curious, but whatever the reasons are, I hope that you are now more educated and equipped to face the world of coffee with great boldness and confidence.