Secrets of the James Hoffmann Method: How to Consistently Make Perfect French Press and V-60 Coffee

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Written By Chad Kelley

The overly caffeinated chef dad taking you down the rabbit hole of caffeinated knowledge

Who is James Hoffmann Anyway?

Well, he’s a world-renowned coffee expert and author of The World Atlas of Coffee. He’s also won multiple awards for his coffee-making skills, including the 2008 World Barista Championship. So it goes without saying that when Hoffmann talks about making french press and v-60 coffee, you should take notice.

For those of us who don’t have the same level of expertise as Hoffmann, here’s a breakdown of his method for consistently making perfect french press and v-60 coffee. For the AeroPress recipe, you pretty much follow the French Press technique.

Use Fresh, High-Quality Beans

4 wooden compartments starting in the top left labeled green, light, medium, dark. over a wood slate countertop.

The first and most important step in making great coffee is to start with a high-quality, freshly roasted bean. If you’re not sure where to get these beans, Hoffmann recommends looking for specialty roasters who focus on sourcing the best green coffee beans from around the world.

Light Roast Coffee

Hoffmann also suggests that you choose a light-roast coffee. These beans are roasted to a lower temperature, which will allow the subtle flavors of the beans to shine through in the cup.

Dark Roast Coffee

Alternatively, you can use a darker roast. This will bring out more intense flavors and add sweetness to your cup of coffee. Hoffmann recommends experimenting with different roast levels to find the one that suits your palate

Bean Grind Size

Once you have your beans, the next step is to grind them. Hoffmann recommends using a burr grinder and grinding your coffee as close to brewing time as possible. This ensures that your cup will be as fresh and flavorful as possible.

Hoffmann recommends using a medium-fine grind size for both french press and v-60 coffee. This will ensure that the water can extract the full flavor of the beans.

Can a Vitamix Grind Coffee Beans?

The Vitamix is a great blender for making smoothies, soups, and sauces. But can this blender, or a Ninja Blender, also grind coffee beans?

I wouldn’t. You will end up with a LOT of uneven-sized pieces and in the end, will require more work than just buying pre-ground beans if you insist on not adding a coffee grinder to your cabinets.
A burr grinder is designed specifically for coffee beans and will produce an even grind size every time. They also work great for dried spices. I have a second hand-held coffee grinder that I use exclusively for spices. 

Related Article: Drip Coffee vs Pour Over: Master the Art of Coffee Brewing with Bee House

Coffee-to-Water Ratio

Hoffmann recommends a 1:16 ratio of coffee to water when making French Press or V-60. This means that for every 16 grams of water, you should use 1 gram of coffee. This ratio will provide an optimal extraction from the beans and produce a strong but balanced cup of coffee. To accomplish this you will need both a digital scale and a gooseneck kettle that also looks great sitting on your kitchen counter.

Water Temperature for Brewing Coffee

For both french press and v-60 coffee, Hoffmann recommends using water that is just off the boil.

French press coffee sitting next to a white coffee cup with green trees in the background

Now That You’ve Got Your Ground Beans, It’s Time To Brew!

For French Press Coffee

Hoffmann recommends using medium-coarse ground beans, as this is the most consistent and balanced brewing method. If possible, try to use fresh beans, which have been stored in a cool dry place for optimal flavor.

For V-60

Hoffmann suggests pre-wetting the paper filter before adding your coffee grounds. This helps to ensure that all of the flavor is extracted from each bean and that no grounds escape through the filter. From there, you’ll want to brew for 2-3 minutes. Giving the grounds a gentle stir while the water slowly drips.

Finally, Hoffmann recommends pouring your coffee slowly in a circular motion to help with flavor extraction.

Perfect Coffee Brewing Time

Hoffmann suggests brewing French Press coffee for 4 minutes and V-60 coffee for 2 minutes, to extract the maximum amount of flavor from the beans. Giving both methods a stir of the wet grounds before they finish brewing.

Gooseneck kettle pouring water in a white ceramic coffee filter sitting on top of a glass carafe

The Hoffman Method with an AeroPress

Brewing the perfect cup of coffee using the Hoffmann Method and an Aeropress is a great way to enjoy specialty coffee at home. The Aeropress is a versatile brewing device that allows you to make flavorful espresso-style coffee or full-bodied, filter coffee depending on your preference.

I personally use the exact same method as I would on my French press. You can find other directions out there but I love the results and it’s one less thing to remember.

gooseneck kettle pouring water into an aeropress coffee press on a scale

The Main Differences in Coffee Brewing Equipment:

There are several key distinctions between the V-60, The French Press, and an Aeropress – from their brewing times to the method of extraction used. With each offering a unique flavor profile due to these differences, it is important for coffee aficionados to understand how these three brewers differ in order to find which one best suits their palate.

The Hario v-60 is a type of manual pour-over coffee maker designed by the Japanese company Hario. It features an angled cone-shaped filter paper that allows for an even saturation of coffee grounds and optimized extraction time for optimal brewing results.

The design also includes ribs on the inside to ensure a good flow rate, with multiple holes to allow maximum flavor extraction from coffee beans. The brewer is perfect for making slow, flavorful cups of pour-over coffee in 2 minutes or less. Additionally, it is easy to use and clean up afterward!

A French Press, also known as a cafetiere or press pot, is a manual brewing device that uses simple ingredients: coarsely ground coffee, hot water, and a mesh filter plunger.

This type of coffee maker is great for extracting bold flavors from your beans as the longer steeping time with the press allows for more of the oils and flavors to be extracted.

An AeroPress is an innovative, easy-to-use coffee brewing device that makes delicious coffee quickly and effectively. It was invented in 2005 by Alan Adler. It is made up of two main cylindrical pieces, a filter cap, and a brew chamber. There are also other components like a scoop for measuring grounds, a stirring stick, and a funnel for adding water. With the AeroPress, you can brew espresso-style coffee or full-bodied filter coffee depending on your preference.

Happy Brewing!

Good luck out there and happy sipping, folks! Who knows? Maybe one day soon you too can join the ranks of James Hoffmann’s award-winning barista champions. It all starts with great coffee, so go forth and make something amazing. Cheers!

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