Welcome to the coffee alphabet, the quickest way to easily learn everything you need to know about specialty coffee, and the art of enjoying it! This week we look at the letter ‘F’ which is for French Press.
Bonjour, bonjour et bienvenue! This edition of the coffee alphabet is brought to you by the letter ‘F’, and we’ll be contemplating our love and enjoyment for the humble French Press. Filter coffee doesn’t come much simpler, which has helped to make this device an excellent entry level options for coffee-fans. Let’s look a little closer at the origins and history of the French Press…
French Press Coffee Maker
If you’re reading this article then we assume you are already a self-confessed coffee-nut, which means you probably already own (there is one around somewhere) a French Press. It is a coffee-brewing tool that is both easy to use and highly affordable, which makes it a highly universal bit of kit.
If you’ve not heard the term French Press before, you may have heard of it referred to by one of its many other names. For example, there’s the cafetière, cafetière à piston, Cafeteria, press pot, coffee press, or coffee plunger. If you’re ever in Italy you may hear the term caffettiera a stantuffo used. Whichever term you use, they all refer to the apparatus that is comprised of a jug (usually steel or glass), and a mesh filter which sits at the end of a plunger. Of course there are many different designs and materials available nowadays but those three key components remain constant.
The many names may have come as a result of its universal appeal, especially across Europe where it quickly became popular. It is widely believed that the first versions of the coffee-press model design were made in France (hence ‘French press’). It was said to be the invention of two Frenchmen, Mayer and Delforge, in around 1852. Some other tales suggest it was the happy accident of French merchant who was brewing a pot of coffee on the side of the road. However the technology was first officially patented and manufactured in Italy in 1929 by an inventor named Attilio Calimani.
How It Works
The beauty of the French Press is really in its simplicity. Unlike some brewing methods, you don’t need a lot of skills or accessories to use one. So long as you have ground coffee and a set of scales, you’re pretty much ready to use your French Press!
First you need to remove the plunger and add some ground coffee. Let’s say you’re making enough coffee for three people, add 30g of coffee to the pot. The gaps in even the finest meshes on a french press are still quite large when you compare them to a paper filter, so you’ll need to use coffee that is quite coarse in the grind. Otherwise you’ll be picking granules of coffee out of your teeth after you’ve drunk it!
Next, you need to add hot water. Like any coffee brewing method, it needs to be around 93℃, any higher it’ll burn. So, if you’re pouring water straight from the kettle, let it rest for a couple of minutes after you’ve boiled it. For 30g of coffee, add 500g of water, you can use this ratio for just about any pour-over brewing method.
Give the coffee and water a quick stir, then place the plunger on top of the pot, but don’t plunge yet. Modern day french-presses will have a seal around the plunger so that it fits snugly against the sides. This will help to keep your coffee warm while it steeps for around 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, you may press your plunger.
Give it another minute of rest to let any loose granules sink to the bottom and then you’re ready to pour your delicious filter coffee.
And that’s the French Press, the simple and affordable tool for making filter coffee at home, or the side of the road!