When I spied this French press—AKA press pot, coffee press, coffee plunger, cafetiere (in the UK) or сafetière à piston (in France)—my heart went a-flutter. I think it's so pretty.
Much disdain for the French press coffee-making method exists around Gizmodo headquarters. So I write this post knowing I will face ridicule. But I'm a person who stands up for my beliefs. I love my press pot! I think the coffee it makes is delicious.
Some folks (Matt Buchanan) complain about a "dirty" texture and some other things. That's fair. Using a course grind minimizes grittiness. Maybe even then you'll get a slightly rough texture. I don't mind it. Actually I like a little roughness in the brew. Maybe I'm kind of a macho coffee drinker. Not that Mat and Matt are dainty! I would never say that.
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The French press is simple. You put coarsely ground coffee in the bottom, pour hot water over it, give it a stir, let it steep for about four minutes, then press the mesh filter down. It was first patented by Attilio Calimani, an Italian designer, in 1929. Faliero Bondanini patented a version in 1958 that he manufactured in a French clarinet factory. The Danish company Bodum probably did the most to popularize the device. It's more work than an electric coffee maker, but in the early 90s when coffee nerddom emerged, the French press made us feel fancy.
During that era, I woke up at ungodly hours to work at a coffee shop in San Francisco called Spinelli's (it was acquired by
Peet's Tully's). During training we had to taste all the coffees so we could properly describe the flavors to customers. For the tastings, Arnold Spinelli mandated that we use press pots so the flavor wouldn't be corrupted by a paper filter. Some people say there are superior methods that use residue-imparting paper filters. Maybe they're right?
I guess I'm just a French press devotee, for better or worse. When the model above caught my eye, I was using one purchased circa 1994 at a Starbucks in Portland, Oregon. It was white ceramic decorated with a reproduction of Van Gogh's "Irises." The image once covered a lid as well, but I had long since shattered that. It was high time for a new, modern and preferably droppable French press. So when my parents asked me what I wanted this Christmas, I sent them a link to the one above. And now it's mine! I couldn't be happier. I freaking love a hot cup of coffee in the morning made with an aesthetically pleasing device.