How to Make a Perfect Press Pot of Coffee the Ascension Way: a Step-by-Step Guide

Categories: Food News

Ascension Perfection.jpg
There's a whole lot of work put into a perfect cup of coffee.
While pour-over methods are becoming increasingly popular, press pots are the go-to "technology" for most home coffee geeks. If you've transcended the standard automatic drip coffee machine that dominates most American counter tops, chances are you decided on a press pot to elevate your coffee game.

The instructions that accompany most of these devices are great for getting started. But even if you follow them to the letter, you're likely leaving something on the table. To help us all elevate our coffee making game at home, I talked with Mike Mettendorf at Ascension, Dallas' hottest new coffee joint, and compiled some tips and tricks for a perfect cup of java at home. Incorporate just one, and you'll notice an improvement. Incorporate them all and you'll be drinking some of the best coffee in Dallas, right on your couch.

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Warm up your cup
Use some hot water to warm up your serving cup. You're going to put a lot of work into this cup of coffee: don't serve it at a tepid temperature.

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Mind the grind
The most popular method for grinding coffee at home is a blade grinder, which Mettendorf vehemently opposes. He actually recommends a mortar and pestle with a straight face, should you not have a burr coffee mill. Whatever method you use, you're looking for a coarse grind that won't slip through the fine mesh of your plunging screen.

Use the best beans you can afford and only grind what you intend to immediately drink. Want to get crazy? Mettendorf weighs out seven grams of coffee for every 100 milliliters of water.

I just eyeball it.

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Electric Kettle.jpg
Heat water to precisely 198-202 degrees
What? You don't have a fancy digital kettle like the folks at Ascension? Mettendorf says a liter of water brought to a boil and allowed to cool off the burner for 30 seconds should be just about right.

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Ascension Bloom.jpg
Flowers aren't the only things that bloom
Pour just enough water over your grounds to saturate them. If you're using good, fresh beans that were recently ground, the coffee will react to the hot water, releasing carbon dioxide and other nasty compounds you don't want in your cup. When the grinds stop "blooming" (you can watch as they release gas), it's time to move on. Depending on the coffee you're using, this should take between 30 and 90 seconds.

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Ascension Main Pour.jpg
Finish adding the water
Gently pour the remaining water into the press pot. Give the whole thing a stir with the handle of a wooden spoon, a pair of wooden chopsticks, or anything you want provided it's not plastic or metal, and put on the top. Get ready to wait.

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Ascension Press.jpg
Gently Press
I'm amazed at the almost zen-like meditation these guys employ when pressing the plunger on a press pot. It takes Mettendorf a full 30 seconds to completely depress the plunger, which assures no grinds are forced through the screen. Mettendorf starts the plunge at 3 minutes, 30 seconds so he can finish at 4 minutes.

Ascension Finish.jpg
See?

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Pour Immediately
Seriously, after taking all these steps to assure perfection, don't let the coffee chill out in the press pot for a second too long. Pour what you've brewed and enjoy it. You've just made one hell of a cup of coffee.


Location Info

Ascension Coffee

1621 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: General


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12 comments
Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Eyeball it? Really?

It's not that hard to weigh it out initially and then find out how long it takes your grinder to do its thing, then set the grinder timer and know your weight is perfect every time for that volume. A 90 second bloom seems rather long too.

Having recently gotten a Chemex pot and experimenting with pour-over, I think I do prefer the extra body you get from a French press. Both can made magnificent coffee if done right.


CitizenKane
CitizenKane

Scott, thanks for posting this.....the french press is my go to method...the one new trick I learned from your post is = bloom the coffee with a small amount of water !


Thanks.


PS;  some here think it is hip to be reverse snob about such things as making a better cup of Joe, not me.....a little extra effort (and knowledge) makes life a wee bit more pleasurable.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

I swear that this blog sometimes capitulates to the stupid, and infirm.........coffee "ain't" that complicated,   it has been trivialized to subject customers to $8 cups of coffee, and push the terrible agenda of the banal barista pseudo-celebrity.  AGAIN, when mundane tasks such as brewing coffee, making drinks and sweeping streets become's trivial; the END is near.  What's next, a story about how to improve "the basic premise" of the wheel?  Look folks, don't trivialize yer life; brew a pot of Maxwell House the old fashioned way, and things will be grand-I promise!


ps-By the way.......I once operated a coffee press/espresso/cappuccino machine in the Infomart in 1993, and it took less talent than peeing behind a dumpster during  a St Patty's Day parade........jes sayin'. 

Kergie out.

Michael_R
Michael_R

7g for 10ml of water can't be right. Maybe missed a zero?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

That's actually very close to my aeropress method.  Water is a bit hotter than I use.

Of course, most of the time I just drink instant now.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

I can't believe it actually worked!  Gotta love that livefry, or whatever is they "be" usin'.  BTW.......Ticketstock at ICC; not bad-a bit skimpy, but nice!  But so many guys with $400 jeans and Affliction t's, and fat losers that have never been with a woman. WOW. 


ps-A cup of coffee was only 2 bucks!

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

@PunchYouInTheFace Yo, Steve.Sandwich: Do me a favor and don't call people twats on here. Thanks. Much appreciated.

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