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Four hundred million cups per day! That’s how much coffee Americans drink on average. If you are part of the 64% of all American adults who simply can’t function properly without their cup of Joe, there’s a good chance that you own some kind of device that can brew you one on-demand at home. Millions have coffer makers at home; the more sophisticated have French presses.
Much like every other machine you own, your French press will only work as well as you maintain it. That’s why the answer to simple questions such as “how to clean a French press” is more important than you might at first realize.
Yes, you might be aware of the fact that you need to take good care of your French press if you want to keep enjoying that delicious cup of finely flavored espresso or latte. For most people, this often means:
- Not throwing the French press in the dishwasher
- Not hurling it across the room at the pesky cat
- Not using it as storage space for non-coffee related foods
However, do you really know what it takes to properly care for your French press?
Why You Need to Learn How to Clean a French Press
Learning how to clean a French press is an essential skill for everyone who wants to enjoy that perfect brew every day. Keeping that French press perfectly clean isn’t only hygienic but quite literally essential to brewing a deliciously balanced cup of coffee. Here are some reasons why:
- A clean French press looks the part: While most people go the easy route and buy an automatic coffee maker, a French press is a manual brewer with an authentic look. Part of that look is accentuated when the press is clean.
- Leftover grounds and oils impact the flavors: If the press isn’t cleaned properly, tiny grounds and oils will remain on the brewer walls, and with time, these leftovers will impact the flavors of your future brews, therefore not giving you exactly the taste you want.
- A clogged filter compromises your brewer: While it’s inevitable that some tiny grounds will get stuck in your brewer’s fine mesh filter, it’s absolutely necessary to keep this to a minimum. You can do so by learning how to clean a French press and ensuring that these tiny clogs don’t create too much resistance when you plunge the filter.
- Leftover oils can go rancid: When left to sit for a long period of time (a few weeks), coffee oils cannot only start to taste bad, but they can start to smell bad too. While they might not exactly impact your health, it’s best to simply clean your French press properly, so you don’t have to put that theory to the test.
With all this in mind, you can clearly see why properly cleaning your French press is more than just a good idea.
How to Quickly Clean Your French Press in Less than 5 Minutes
It’s good practice to clean your French press after each and every brew; it’s even better practice to give it a thorough cleaning every few weeks just to make sure that it’s in good working order. Let’s take a quick look at both types of cleaning:
You can choose to clean the French press right after brewing your coffee or after drinking it; whichever option works best for you.
- Start by emptying the grounds using a spatula or your hands. Try not to use a metal spoon as this might easily break the glass. You could alternatively fill the press with cold water, swirl it around and dump the contents into the garbage disposal or a strainer if you don’t have a garbage disposal.
- If you use a strainer, simply dump the coffee grounds into the trash can and not down your sink, as this might clog it up.
- Using warm water, add some liquid dish soap into the press and start plunging up and down until a rich foam is formed. This action of pumping the plunger up and down ensures that the insides of the press are cleaned properly while removing any residual coffee oils.
- Pour out the warm soapy water and rinse the press with clean water while working the plunger some more. Once you are done, you can scrub the insides with a bottle brush or a sponge and rinse again until the water running through is completely clean.
- Carefully dry it out using a paper towel and place the carafe in a secure location – ready for the next brewing session.
This entire process shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.
Deep Cleaning Your French Press (At least once every two weeks)
While daily cleaning ensures that you have your French press ready whenever you want to brew some coffee, deep cleaning it at least once every two weeks or so ensures that it remains in good working order. It also ensures that you get the kind of flavors you actually want when using the press.
Thankfully, the deep cleaning process is just as quick and as simple as the daily cleaning process. Here’s what you need to do:
- The first step should be to go through the entire daily cleaning process listed above. Once that is done, disassemble the French press and carefully place all the pieces on a clean counter.
- Create a thin paste using baking soda and water, then clean each part individually using a sponge or a bottle brush where necessary.
- Make a solution of vinegar and water (equal parts). Use this to clean and rinse the individual parts; this will rid your French press of any hard water buildup that might be forming.
- Let every piece air dry before reassembling.
- Granted, this deep cleaning process will take more than 5 minutes, but it’s a necessary undertaking.
The above steps highlight how to clean a French press both daily (in under 5 minutes) and how to deep clean it once every two weeks or so. Each aspect of cleaning the press needs to be undertaken with care not to break anything.
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