How to Clean a French Press
Anybody who has ever used a French Press coffee maker are already too familiar with the arduous task of cleaning the thing. A big clump of wet coffee grounds at the bottom of a cylinder that my hand is too fat to fit in is a mess waiting to happen.
Why don't I just rinse the grounds down the garbage disposal? Well, I would, but apparently that is faux pas, as it may clog my garbage disposal/sink. Otherwise, believe me, I would do that.
There is also more to cleaning a French Press than simply emptying out the used coffee grounds. Like any coffee maker out there, you need to give a thorough cleansing from time to time to prevent bitter, bad tasting coffee from brewing on a consistent basis. So let's outline the steps to cleaning a French Press below.
1. Remove Used Grounds
Ok, I realize this may be an obvious step, but for many people the best way to remove coffee grounds from a French Press isn't so obvious.
Since we now know that grounds shouldn't go in your sink or garbage disposal, the best place to dispose of them is the good old fashioned garbage can. If you want to be really politically correct, toss them into a compost bin.
If you can't get all of the grounds out by simply tapping the bottom of your French Press, you should use a long spoon, spatula, or brush to scoop out the remainder. By the way, a little bit of ground coffee won't hurt your sink…so feel free to wash any remaining coffee grounds down the sink.
If this still sounds like an awful process to you, consider purchasing the Tambaroo (make sure you get the right size). It is a cool little device that you can place at the bottom of your french press to catch used grounds and easily dispose afterwards. Check it out below:
2. Disassemble and Soak
Go ahead and separate all of your French Press components (the lid, plunger, plunger screen, cylinder) and submerge in hot water with light dish soap or baking soda. Many coffee snobs use baking soda because it could never compromise the long term taste of the brewed coffee. However, if you decide to use dish soap you should be fine. Just make sure to rinse it thoroughly…nobody wants to taste soap in their coffee (or anything else for that matter).
If you want to get really fancy, you should consider a coffee machine cleaning powder like Urnex Cafiza. The stuff is apparently great (although we've never tried it). It's supposed to get rid of all leftover oils that coffee inevitably leaves behind. Leftover coffee oils can be particularly problematic with a French PRess.
3. Scrub a Dub Dub
Using a small brush that won't scratch up your beautiful glass French Press, scrub along the inside walls of the carafe thoroughly with the warm water/baking soda solution (or soap). Next, give your plunger and plunger screen a thorough scrubbing, making sure that all remaining coffee grounds are removed.
Keeping the parts separated, lay all of the pieces out on a drying rack. Or, if you need to use the coffee maker immediately, you can dry everything off with a dish towel. Please note: this is easier for people with little hands.
One More Note…
Most French Presses are dishwasher safe, so feel free to use one if you are lazy. Still, be careful if yours is made of glass.
Now it's your turn…how do you clean your French Press? Please share in the comments below!