A French Press is among the most loved coffee-brewing devices. With its delicious, robust, and aromatic brew, it's an easy and quick method to prepare a cup of coffee using roasted coffee grounds. Its mesh-plunger mechanism, which separates the grounds from the water without the need for filter paper, allows you to retain the natural oils found in coffee beans that give it its signature aroma, acidity, flavor, and aftertaste.
Coffee isn't the only thing you can make with a French Press. Its design lends itself to a variety of concoctions - including tea and herbal infusions! In this blog, we'll take you through how you can prepare the perfect cup of tea using a French Press. We'll also see how you can make a flavorful, quick, and easy cup of masala chai using this method!
How Does a French Press Work?
The mechanism used in a French Press is pretty uncomplicated. A French Press usually takes the form of a cylindrical glass jar with a spout, handle, and a plunger. The plunger can be pushed down from the top, forcing a stainless steel metal screen to separate the coffee grounds from the water completely. A spring attached to the circumference of the metal screen makes sure that no coffee grounds find themselves in the filtered coffee, and once the plunger has been pressed down, you can simply pour out your cup of coffee.
The process for tea is very similar, but instead of ground coffee, you're brewing loose leaf tea. With herbal tea, you can add anything from ginger, lemongrass, to chamomile.
How to Use a French Press for Tea
Let's get into a step by step tea brewing method.
Step 1: Clean Your French Press
Before anything, it's important that you clean your French Press. If you've been making French Press coffee, then notes of coffee in your French Press may impact your brewed tea's flavor profile. It's usually good practice to wash it regularly, as prolonged used without washing can affect the taste of your coffee, too.
Washing the press required that you disassemble the entire thing, wash away any stuck grounds or tea (ensuring that you're catching everything in a sieve and not dropping it in the sink), and rinsing the inside with a bit of soap.
Step 2: Picking Your Tea (or Herbs and Spices)
Now comes the important part - what will you infuse in the water?
In teas, you can use Oolong tea, Black tea, Green tea, or White tea - essentially any tea of your choice! For a darker, caffeine-rich blend, we recommend first or second flush black teas such as Darjeeling and Assam. First and second flushes refer to the earliest batches of tea leaves picked during the harvest season, which tend to contain more robust flavor and depth.
If you're looking at herbal teas, you also have a wide variety of spices and herbs you can use. In general, store-bought herbal teas are dried (like chamomile, sage, or lemongrass), so that they can soak in the water and release their flavor. You can also make your own herbal teas with spices or herbs you have at home - popular examples include ginger, rosemary, and lemon.
Step 3: Deciding How Much Water To Use
How much water you add is entirely based on how strong you want your brew. For a concentrated drink, less water is better - but too less may result in astringency from oxidized teas like black or oolong. For herbs, less water is ideal if you're focused on the health benefits and want a full-bodied blend.
Step 4: Heat Water (or Keep it Cold)
This is where you get to decide whether you're making hot tea, iced tea, or cold brew tea. For hot tea, you want to boil some hot water on the stove or in a kettle so that you pour it into the press.
For iced tea, you'll need just a bit of hot water to create a tea-concentrate that you can add cold water and ice cubes to.
For a cold brew, you'll need room temperature of cold water.
Step 5: Making Your Tea and Brew Time
Making your tea will involve adding your tea or herbs to the French Press, then adding water and letting the infusion steep.
Water temperature can alter brew time significantly - hot tea requires just about 5-6 minutes to brew in most French Presses. Following that, you can de-press the plunger and enjoy your tea!
Brewing tea in cold water for a cold brew will take a lot longer (especially if you're looking for well-rounded flavors). For a cold brew, you can steep tea for 30 minutes, a few hours, or overnight. There's a risk of turning the tea astringent and difficult to drink if cold-brewed too long. It's best to see the color of the brew in the glass jar and decide if you think it's ready to drink!
Step 6: Making Masala Chai with a French Press
Making masala chai in the French Press is extremely easy and quick. Along with any black tea of your choice, you can add ground spices to the press. The 'ground' is important here - dried and crushed spices are essential in getting the most taste and flavor out of your masala chai spices. The most common spices are cardamom, ginger, cloves, pepper, and cinnamon.
For a Dirty Chai, which is a coffee and masala chai mix, you can add in coffee ground as well.
For a masala chai blend that comes with freshly cut and dried spices and premium Darjeeling black tea that you can directly add to the French Press, shop our range of authentic Masala Chai blends here.
You can then pour hot water over the entire blend, steep it for about 4-5 minutes, and press the plunger. Masala Chai is best enjoyed with milk and sugar, which you can add to your cup of freshly brewed tea. Masala Chai lets you enjoy the countless health benefits of the spices, along with the robust flavors of black tea - all within minutes using a French Press!
Can You Use Tea Bags With a French Press?
You can use tea bags with a French Press. Simply add hot water and steep the bags for a few minutes, and use the plunger to squeeze the tea bags to extract even more flavor to make your cup of tea.