My new best friend is less than a foot tall and about six inches wide. It has lived with me for a few years now, but it has only been in recent months that we have really bonded. It once remained a constant second to the reigning champion of the kitchen, the twelve-cup drip coffee maker, but the champ has slowly been unseated.
The French press, or Cafetiere, had its official first introduction in 1929 by Attilio Calimani, with a patent for a modified version by Italian Faliero Bondanini granted in 1958. It was this adapted version that caught on with French households and eventually made its way into English kitchens.
The way it works is simple: First, coffee grounds are placed into the glass pot. The grounds must be a bit coarser than one would normally use in a drip coffee maker, as fine grounds are more likely to seep through. Next, boiling water is added to the pot of grounds, stirred, and the lid-plunger attachment is put in place (but not depressed). The coffee grounds and water are left to brew for a few minutes, after which, the plunger is pressed down to trap the grounds at the bottom of the pot. If prepared properly, the resulting brew is stronger than drip, with more of the natural flavors and oils of the coffee beans. The whole process takes about the time that it would take to brew a six-cup pot of coffee in a drip coffee maker. Using a similar method, you can also brew tea this way.
Additional note: Because the coffee grounds stay in the pot, any remaining coffee left in the press will likely turn bitter after twenty to thirty minutes, so reheating is of wavering possibility. What I sometimes like to do with remaining coffee is store it in a tightly wrapped mug, keep in the fridge and save for a baking project that requires coffee as an ingredient. The bitterness is often lost in the baking process, and it’s a great way to use undrinkable leftovers.
The French press remains one of the most popular ways to brew coffee at home, as it is quick, easy to use, and produces a fantastic cup of coffee, especially when freshly ground, high quality beans are used.
For another way to use the French press, here’s a clip from my culinary soul mate: