Bringing Europe Home

Budget Barista Series: French Press-www.bringingeuropehome.com

Budget Barista Series: French Press

Want to start your day freshly pressed?  Then this is the coffee for you!

WHAT IT IS

A French press is a device for brewing coffee that involves a cylinder shaped pot and a filtering plunge. It is known by many names, including plunger pot, coffee press, coffee plunger, caffettieria a stantuffo in Italian, and catetière à piston in French.  The method is practically as simple as making a pot of tea.  Put a scoop or two of coffee grounds into the French press and pour the appropriate amount of boiling water on top.  Let the coffee steep for about 5 minutes, then give the whole brew a brisk stir and plunge the steel-mesh filter down to the bottom of the coffee press.  Pour the brewed coffee out of the spout, and the grounds will remain trapped below the filter, at the bottom of the pot.  Since there is no paper filter involved to absorb the essential oils of the coffee beans, you will enjoy a very robust and rich cup of coffee.

BRING IT HOME

If I’m making coffee for a crowd, I pull out my 12-cup coffee pot.  But for little ol’ me, or even little ol’ me plus one, I use my French press.  It makes about three cups of coffee, and I can always stretch it out by adding some more hot water, in a pinch (much in the same way I stretch that single tea-bag into three cups of tea).  The grind of coffee used for this method is coarser than that of a regular drip method, and I used to take care in keeping my coarse French press grind and my medium drip coffee grind (along with my fine espresso grind and my whole beans) stocked in my freezer. It was inevitable that I would one day run out of something, and one day I did, so necessity forced me to use my regular grind in my French press, and the difference didn’t amount to a hill of beans as far as I could tell. So now I let my medium grind coffee multi-task between my two pots, slightly simplifying my life in the process.

I originally got my French press in order to save on counter space.  It fits snugly on my countertop collection, amid my coffee tin, teapot, my Bialetti pot, and the decorative jars that my daughter gave me which I use to mask the unsightly outlet in the wall.  I’m not a fan of the glass container presses; I like the steel carafes, which keep my coffee hot and which are more attractive besides, in my opinion.  I have made pressing coffee part of my morning routine.  I download my emails and straighten the kitchen while my water boils and my coffee steeps.  Then I stir, plunge, and settle down at my computer to read the morning mail and news as I drink an excellent cup of coffee.

7 Comments

  1. June

    Even though I hardly ever drink coffee, I am enjoying these Barista posts! They are described with such detail and clarity that if I ever wanted to create these coffee drinks, I have now gained an intellectual confidence that I could DO IT! They are also just fun to read, I feel like you are right in my kitchen showing me how to do it! Thank you!
    June

    • What a nice comment, June. I thank you, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the barista posts!

  2. Gina

    At home, I think the best coffee (barring espresso machines) and most economical coffee is made in the French press, as more flavor is extracted from using boiling water; hot water in the drip coffee maker does not get hot enough so not enough flavor is extracted.

    Another reason to use the metal French over the glass press is that it won’t break. I’ve broken 2 glass presses :-)

    Another great topic!

    • Thanks, Gina! I do enjoy my morning coffee and the French press ritual that is involved in making it.

  3. Thanks, Babe! The French press is a terrific alternative for making a small amount of coffee. I think that there’s a special challenge to getting a nice, strong brew for 2-4 cups using a drip coffee maker.

  4. Bonita Babe

    Love this whole coffee section – seems actually more economical, fresher tasting, & faster than making the whole electric coffe maker for 2 people, & waste it (tho I try to save for ice coffee, but lose it it the frige). Beautiful photos!!

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