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French Press-Pros/Cons

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  • Phu Bai Nov 13, 2005 07:55 AM
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Thinking ofjunking the old Mr. Coffee(sorry Joe)and going with a French Press. Any advice or caveats?
Thanks In Advance.....

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  1. c
    chileheadmike

    I bought mine about an month ago. I paid about $15 bucks for it. A friend of mine got me into home roasting coffee and then brewing in the FP. Much better flavor out of the FP, my drip coffee maker always seemed to impart a weird aftertaste. So Pros, much better coffee. Cons, a little setiment in the cup and you may want to get a thermos to keep the coffee hot. Now, off to make coffee..

    2 Replies
    1. re: chileheadmike

      Just bought a bodum thermal carafe and it does indeed solve the problem of cold FP coffee. Also, here in SF, we have a great little coffee shop called Cafe Organica whose non-espresso coffee is all FP - they filter it after pressing to eliminate the sediment. It's a great cup.

      1. re: Lisa

        You should get the same effect by steeping the grounds in a sauce pan for a few minutes, and then filtering them through a paper cone filter (using the Melita style plastic filter cone).

        FP is essentially a steep and strain coffee. Any fine mesh strainer could be used in place of the plunger.

        Straining leaves fine sediment and all the oils in the coffee, potentially giving a richer, full body brew. A paper filter removes both.

        paulj

    2. To keep the coffee hot during brewing and serving, wrap a thick kitchen towel around the press & secure with clothes pins or sew a cozy. A thermos is good too but I hate washing extra dishes!

      2 Replies
      1. re: petradish

        I do the same thing with the cloth - next time my carafe breaks, I'm going to get a metal French Press, for better insulation.

        1. re: petradish

          Really it's best to remove the brewed coffee from the grounds as soon as brewing has finished. By pouring the coffee into a thermos you accomplish two things. You keep the coffee hot and you keep the coffee from getting bitter.

        2. w
          Webley Webster

          For me, the biggest pro is the easy clean up. I used to use one of those stovetop Italian-style espresso makers. It made great coffee but was a b!tch to keep clean. If you didn't scrub it out with baking soda regularly, all sorts of stuff built up inside, resulting in a bitter, nasty cup of coffee.

          Because it's made of glass, a French press cleans up very easily and quite thoroughly. And, it makes a tasty cup of coffee, much better than the drip coffeemakers I've had, IMHO.

          1. I have a Bodum french press w/ a glass carafe. It makes a great cup of coffee...rich and nuanced. The biggest benefit that I notice is the enhanced body and mouthfeel that a drip maker can't produce.

            Choose a size that fits for you. I think that Bodum makes anywhere from 2-8 cup presses. Mine is a 3-4 cup and works well for just me and my husband on a leisurely weekend morning.

            That said, we have a 10-cup Braun drip for weekday mornings when we want to keep the coffee warm and when company is over. Drip coffee isn't quite as good, but good enough for me in those cases. I like to have both in the home.

            1. To avoid some of the sediment you should use a very coarse grind, drip grind is too fine.

              1. I've been using a glass bodum for about five years and love it. Much better flavor. Easy to clean and no sediment remains for bad taste. It's best to buy coarse ground coffee - with this I get NO grounds in my mug. I buy coffee at my local co-op where I can grind the beans myself in whatever size I choose - and the coffee is organic, fair trade and bird friendly.

                1. on a related note, i sometimes use the press for tea-type infusions as well. last time i was sick, i threw in some ginger bits, cinnamon stick, and orange zest instead of coffee. works well that way.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hobokeg

                    I use the FB for tea only because the precision, water temp for brewing loose tea seems easier for me to accomplish. I don't mind a cooler, weaker tea even an inconsistent brew but I don't enjoy my coffee that way...so FB for coffee just never wowed me.

                  2. I use my french press to make cold-brewed coffee. It makes for great coffee; I've always preferred french press, since the taste is not too clean. For some, this might be a con; I really enjoy the oils from the coffee beans, and the FP method preserves that.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Aucoin

                      It makes fabulous cold-brewed coffee! Getting warmer now here in the south so I have switched to iced coffee. I could not believe the difference the first time I made it with a FP. This winter I was into making cafe-au-lait. The FP made a great cup of coffee that wasn't too bitter but didn't lose it's taste in all that milk. Thinking about coffee now, I can't wait to get up in the morning!

                    2. ACKKKKK I really need to learn to read the thread dates. Ok seriously you bumped a thread from 6 years ago?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rasputina

                        oops. i have no idea how i managed to do that. I saw french press, and got excited.

                        1. re: rasputina

                          I did not notice the thread dates until I started to read a post that exactly echoed my thoughts - only 5 years old. I've been hanging around here too long!

                        2. The French press just brews better coffee. Various tests have shown that most electric coffee makers don't brew the grounds hot enough or long enough.

                          We have used glass Bodum French presses. Those work good. But we but have settled on a thermal, 35-oz capacity, stainless steel Frieling French press from Amazon based on reviews. We have had it for about 4 years and are very happy with it. It's pricy, but well made and worth the price.

                          http://www.amazon.com/Frieling-Ultimo...

                          1. It makes strong, heavy bodied coffee. I think it works better with moderately roasted chocolate-y beans than with light-roasted, winey beans from high-end purveyors like Blue Bottle and Intelligentsia. For complex, winey beans, I recommend a pour-over method like Chemex or V-60.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: sushigirlie

                              I completely agree with using a French press less for lighter flavors; I think it over enhances the acidity. I tend to go for medium to bold, but I get great results from bold/complex varieties also, just not something I go for every day. With these I get a better result if I use slightly less than normal, removing the heaviness just a bit but retaining good flavor. After getting my French press I never looked back.

                              1. re: lilgi

                                This is very interesting to hear. I am a diehard FP lover (I love the extra body and oils) and while I love intelligensia's coffee when I'm there, the last time I bought beans it tasted super acidic in the FP. I'm definitely a coffee geek and I kept thinking, "what am I doing wrong?" but I had the right ratio, water at 205, preheated FP, fresh burr ground coffee, etc. I was able to tweak things and ended up brewing closer to 195 which toned down the acidity but it's interesting to hear that the infusion method might bring out more acidity with lighter roasts.

                              2. re: sushigirlie

                                I hardly think of Blue Bottle as winey and lightly roasted, in fact quite the opposite they are known for their dark roasts like Giant Steps and my fav at the moment Three Africans. Intelligentsia on the other hand you are right about in my opinion.

                              3. been using a French Press or Cafetiere for maybe 25 years and I much prefer the thick taste and feel of the coffee. The coffee obviously goes cold faster than an electric drip maker but I sometimes wrap a towel round the glass. I have 3 different sizes so the trick is to make enough for however many are drinking coffee.

                                the cons - broken glass - it happens and sometimes it's a pain to find the replacement glass.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: smartie

                                  glass replacements can be easily found at places like Sweetmarias.com. Sometimes it's cheaper to just buy a new FP.

                                2. No matter the post is old, but I like my French Press.

                                  Best ground to use is expresso, the coffee comes out wonderful and rich.

                                  1. You should look into a Aeropress...use it inverted. Only downside to this is it only makes one cup at a time. You won't find sediment in your cup even if you use espresso grind. Very reasonably priced as well. Can be had for $25-30 on Amazon.com

                                    1. Unlike some others, I didn"t have sediment. Main thing I found was that a coarse grind was best. Did not especially like it. Too coarse abd bitter.