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The basic how-to: Yes, you can prep your drip coffee maker the night before, but that doesn't mean the French press is at the other, high-maintenance extreme. It's simple, really: Start with a tablespoon of beans per cup of water, and grind them rougher than you would for drip coffee (to prevent the grind from passing through the filter). Pour boiling water over the ground coffee and let it sit for about five minutes; then press and drink right away. And don't be put off by cleaning; most are dishwasher safe. If you're hand washing, use warm, soapy water. Make sure you rinse off any soap residue and let the parts air-dry.
Common mistake: Using water that's too hot, which results in bitter coffee. Let the water cool for a minute or so after boiling it; then pour it over the grounds.