French Press With The Best

Nolan Hirte is Founder and CEO of globally acclaimed coffee roaster Proud Mary Coffee; many consider Nolan a pioneer in the coffee industry. With locations in Melbourne, Australia, Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas, Nolan continues on his journey to share what he loves with an even bigger audience. For Nolan, every detail of the coffee is an important part of the story that goes into each cup he pours. Here, Nolan shows us how he uses the Rambler™ French Press to brew, walking through a few standard issue steps, and a few professional details he incorporates to brew a nice, clean cup. 

For me, the French Press is a nice, approachable, and relaxing way to make coffee. And it’s a great way to brew for big groups.

I’ve kitted out my truck with a custom brew bar that I built myself. It’s equipped with a Reverse Osmosis water tank, coffee grinder and scales. I’ve also got two electric kettles that use electricity from the truck, two pour-over stands, bags of Proud Mary’s direct-trade beans, and a few miscellaneous essentials for measuring, cleaning up, balancing the mineral content of the water, and so on. This way, I can make my perfect cup of coffee wherever I go.



Because coffee extracts with heat, I say the hotter the water, the better. Typically, using hotter water helps account for any natural temperature loss through the process. Since the YETI French Press is insulated, the water will stay quite hot. Without getting into specific coffees and processes, it’s a bit of a myth that the water can be too hot. So I let it rip, 200º F or boiling (212º F / 100º C) is just fine.


The saying goes, and I agree: take your coffee budget, double it, and spend it all on the grinder. You don’t need particularly unique brewing equipment, but grind quality and consistency make all the difference. For French Press, the desired grind consistency should resemble table salt. And of course, freshly ground is preferred.

These are two grinders I recommend:

> Fellow Ode Brew Grinder with SSP Burrs
This is the most accessible gold standard. You’ll set the grind to 6.5 clicks for French Press.

> Comandante C40 MK4 Hand Grinder
This is the gold standard. It’s a well-established, badass hand grinder. I recommend 22-25 clicks.


In addition to a high-quality grinder, everyone needs a scale. The reason is because bean sizes and scoop sizes differ, so measuring by weight is going to be the most accurate.

When you see a ratio listed on a bag of beans, it’s referring to the recommended number of grams of coffee (by weight) to grams of water. A common or standard ratio is 1:16, so for every 1 gram of coffee, you’ll use 16 grams of water.

For this brew in the French Press, I used a 1:17 ratio with 55 grams of coffee (10-11 tablespoons) to about 935 mls (roughly 1 liter).


Typically we preheat everything to do with coffee. If you add hot water to something cold you drastically lose the temperature. Since the YETI French Press is insulated, pre-heating it will allow the insulation to preserve an even hotter temperature. Just pour in a little hot water from the kettle, swirl it around and pour it out. 


When you begin pouring the water over the grounds, start a timer. Typically people say to let it sit for about 4 minutes but I like to let it sit a bit longer to allow the coffee to settle and create a really clean cup.

With my 1:17 ratio I’m letting it sit for 10 minutes, stirring slowly once around the 4-minute mark. Stirring helps any grounds at the top to get exposed to the water, and releases aromatics that are trapped. Taking in the aromatics is another opportunity to have some insight into what’s coming in the cup, part of enjoying the process.


If you’re really fussy like I am, a good way to clean up the coffee some more is to take two soup spoons and skim off the crema from the top and discard it. I do this while waiting for the grounds to settle. Afterwards, go ahead and cap it until it’s time to press.


The coffee:water ratio and brew time are tied together. Because of the way it’s brewing in a French Press, you can allow it to sit longer – if you rush at it and sort of force the filter down before the grounds have had the chance to settle on their own, you’ll stir everything up and get a really muddy brew.

My 1:17 ratio affords letting it sit longer, but it does require more patience in waiting for your coffee. So my hack is to just walk away and go find something fun to do.


Press down slowly. If you rush at it and sort of force the filter down before the grounds have had the chance to settle on their own, you’ll stir everything up and get a really muddy brew. Be sure to enjoy the details of the aromatics, the company you’re with, and the view while you sip your coffee.


It wasn’t a dream from his youth to become a coffee connoisseur. Instead, a detour in hospitality on Nolan’s path to becoming an artist showed him that the feeling of creating something special for someone was a feeling he loved and wanted to pursue. That something was a perfect cup of coffee. The someone was a woman he ultimately never met, but watching her reaction to the coffee from afar was enough to light his path into the coffee industry.

As Nolan learned more about coffee, how it’s grown, and how the industry works, he was further inspired to rise in his craft and have a positive impact on the farmers/growers. Today, he is doing that in building relationships with growers and through his ownership and role of CEO and Founder at Proud Mary Coffee. Nolan and his wife Shari opened the first Proud Mary cafe (brunch restaurant) and coffee roastery in Melbourne, Australia in 2009. And, after igniting the global “Aussie Cafe” movement, they have since opened locations in Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas, serving carefully sourced and thoughtfully brewed coffees alongside incredible breakfast and lunch.