Here's a trivial & nerdy inquiry: After adding hot water into the French Press (or press pot), and after stirring the grounds, ...Do you immediately place the lid on as you steep the coffee? Do you leave the lid off during the steeping time?

Bodum says to place the lid on. I have always thought that allowing the grinds to breathe as they steep is the best way. Any proof or science to say I'm correct?

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As far as I'm aware, the consensus is to keep the press pot covered during steeping to help insulate heat, and as well retain aromas during the brew.
It's better to do the best you can to keep all of those wonderful aromatics from wafting off into the ambient air.

It's also nice to keep the brewing temperature as stable as possible.

That having been said, Lid On is the generally accepted practice, but you don't have a lid during cupping, do you?

Just try both, and see what you think tastes best.
Time for a cupping revoluting, millions could be made manufacturing cupping lids!
Kind of hard to take notes on aroma if the bloom is covered, wouldn't you say?

Then again, most people don't start the evaluation until the break, so maybe it would work.
This is true, moving on...
I think one of the advantages of placing the lid on is to insure that all of your ground coffee is being properly steeped. As soon as those grinds hit water they have a gasous effect and want to float on the top. What I do to help counteract this problem is I add small amounts of water at a time, giving it a swoosh everytime until I reach the top. This helps me to get to most of my brew minus the overflow when I place the lid on.
I use the lid on with the screen lowered enough to hold everything just under the water surface. That is because I am not stirring at all.

I would propose that the lid on or off will have much less effect on the final outcome that some other factors.

-To stir or not to stir
-If you sitr, how
-for how long
-What are you using to stir

-Very coarse
-Mildly coarse

-Dwell time as it relates to Grind

-Dose as it relates to Time/Grind ratio

I would think that any one of these things will have dramatically pronounced effects of the flavor in a way that would be much more noticeable than leaving the lid off. You might taste a pressed coffee and instantly say "there was certainly not enough coffee in that pot!", or "that should have been plunged a minute sooner".

I wouldn't know how the lid on or off might even taste in the cup.

What is your Press Process from start to finish? How would you describe the flavor characteristics you are achieving. It might be nice, as long as we are talking about press technique, to really get into it.
I have found that the most even extraction is achieved by putting the lid on and plunging the coffee just below the surface of the water for the entire brew. This will extract all of the coffee in the same enviorment, where as others mentioned, the bloom is bubbly and allot of coffee at the top of the bloom will not be extracted to the extent that the coffee submerged will be. This would give you an uneven cup.
Now that i write this, i consider that the temp would be lower at the top of the bloom which will also give you a poor extraction of that coffee.
I figure that the goal here ( just like people ) is to treat every coffee ground with the same amount of respect.
Why not prove you are wrong? Joking.

I do not see the reason why to keep it on. For me, I found that it is better to swirl the cup, in stead of leave it on the table. Until the grounds go down to the bottom, it is OK. It takes some munites.

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