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Searching for a good and value French Press

We are coffee lovers, and my wife has been complaining that the coffee made by the drip machine is not strong enough. (we have the capresse CoffeeTeam S). So I'm thinking I might be able to get stronger coffee with a french Press.

However, I am not familiar with them. What are the differences between the better ones and the worse ones?

Any suggestions on which one to get and where to get it will be appreciated.

Thanks.

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  1. When I think of a French Press the first thing that comes to mind is Bodum. I think this is pretty much the standard. They are really affordable and work well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: KTinNYC

      Couldn't agree more. We've had our Bodum French press for years, use it daily & it's (still) perfect!

      1. re: KTinNYC

        I'm very happy with my little Bodum as well. It only makes like 2-3 cups but thats enough for just me, hubby doesn't drink it.

      2. I have used a Bodum one for years and love it. However, if the glass ever breaks, I'm going to replace it with a metal one to keep the coffee hotter while it steeps - don't know if Bodum makes those.

        4 Replies
        1. re: MMRuth

          I've seen French press coffeemakers made of metal...the part that contains the coffee is actually a thermos...don't recall if it's made by Bodum but a metal thermal French press definitely exists...

          1. re: MMRuth

            Bodum actually makes a metal French press and it's beautiful. Not as cheap as their other ones, but it's been on sale at several places, including Amazon:
            http://www.amazon.com/Bodum-Columbia-...

            1. re: AppleSister

              I don't get how the metal ones work. On my french press once the coffee has steeped (and I press it) I need to pour right away, otherwise the coffee overbrews. How does the thermos deal with this problem?

              1. re: Produce Addict

                I don't know how it works as I couldn't justify buying it on aesthetics alone, when I already have the Bodum Santos vacuum coffee maker and a stovetop espresso maker. But it got pretty good reviews on Amazon, and Bodum and coffee are a good match.

          2. Ikea sells a good one (the important part is that the sieve/strainer disc that attaches to the plunger part, should fit the carafe snugly - else grounds will leak through to the top when you pour) for much cheaper than anything I've seen. I bought my first 2 cup french press at Ross which was cheaper than buying it at Target or some other store. Still works great after 3 years. Next I got a same size one as a freebie. The sieve disc of this one is a tad too small and so this press is hardly ever used. Then I bought the 32 oz version at Ikea for when we have company. Good construction, only difference is the glass carafe is glued to the plastic basket it sits in. It cost only $12 or $13!! Compare to similar sized press from Bodum. Only pro for Bodum is, I've seen replacement carafes for it in Bed Bath and Beyond. And yes, I did break one Ikea Kaffe carafe already. But that was due to my clumsiness - the design was not to blame. You might want to check how much those Bodum replacement carafes cost and then pick between Ikea Kaffe and Bodum based on that.

            1. Yes, Bodum makes a great model. You don't want to buy a crap one with a bad filter. Here is an excellent tip sheet about brewing with a French Press:

              http://www.sweetmarias.com/brewinstr....

              Forgive me for delving a little deeper, though: if your wife thinks your coffee isn't strong enough when you use the automatic drip machine, there may be an easy enough way to fix it: are you using enough grounds? You should use 7 grams per measured cup. That is approximately three heaping tablespoons of coffee per standard "mug" of coffee. This may seem like a lot of coffee, but the coffee will be strong, flavorful, but not bitter.

              If you are using the right amount of coffee, the problem may be that your auto drip coffeemaker doesn't get the water hot enough.

              From the same source, here is a good reference on brewing in general: http://www.sweetmarias.com/grind.brew...

              4 Replies
              1. re: Darren72

                The drip coffeemaker that we have the capresso CoffeeTeam S has an attached burr grinder. We set it to grind the maximum and brew for the strongest coffee (3 settings), she still feel it is not strong enough.

                Is there a significant different in taste between drip coffee and french press coffees?

                Thanks

                1. re: Problem Child

                  Yes, there is a definite difference between drip and french press. French Press tends to have more grounds in the coffee, and thus tends to be cloudier, thicker, and in some sense more flavorful. Less of the oils in the coffee are filtered out. Detractors describe it as muddy. :) I like both styles and recommend trying it, even if you like your drip coffee.

                  You wrote that you set your grind to the maximum. I presume by maxium you mean "most coarse," as opposed to "finest grind" or "almost powder". If that's the case, this may be the problem. For a drip coffee maker, you want a medium grind, not a coarse grind (you'll want the coarse grind for the French Press and a very fine grind for espresso). Try a medium grind tomorrow morning and see if that's better.

                  Also, this is a very sophisticated coffee machine. But does it let you adjust exactly how much coffee grounds are used in each brew cycle, or does it decide how much coffee to use?

                  1. re: Darren72

                    By maximum, I mean setting the amount coffee grounds to be used. It's set to 2 cups, 4 cups, 6, 8, and 10. I chose the 10 which is the maximum amount of coffee to be ground. It has 4 settings of coarseness, I am using a medium ground. In fact, I am using Starbuck's Sumatra Extra bold coffee.

                    How do I please my wife??? :)

                    1. re: Problem Child

                      "How do I please my wife??? :)"

                      Excellent question. Definitely worthy of a separate thread!

                      I did a little reading up on this machine. The manual says you can make it stronger by selecting "10" and "coarse". Try that. If that doesn't work, then I think you might want to look into whether there is a way to override the preset amount of coffee it grinds and uses, with the goal of using more beans (aim for the 3 tablespoons per mug ratio described above).

              2. Thanks. I'll check that out. In the mean time, I'll also get a french press on the way home and see how if that'll please her.

                1. We have a Bodum that gets regular weekend use when we're drinking coffee from premium beans. During the week, we use a stove top percolator and regular grind coffee, that I let perc for 7 minutes. Strong stuff.

                  1. I've been a french-press coffee fan since the beginning. Stick with the classic Bodum. They are affordable and the standard for a reason - some cheaper models (ie: Ikea) don't have as tight a seal between the grounds and coffee once you have depressed the plunger - which leads to lots of grit in your cup. As for coffee staying hot - since coffee is best when just brewed, coffee that has been kept hot over time isn't that great anyways. I make just enough for 1 cup each, and the beauty of a press is that it is so easy to make a fresh batch for a second.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Sam Ottawa

                      I find that the 5 minute steeping period cools the coffee more than I like ...

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        I think four minutes is what Bodum recommends, and is what many consider to be the optimal extraction time. If the coffee gets too cool in four minutes, it is best to pour hot water (hot tap water is fine) into Bodum before you start the process. Let this sit for a few minutes so the glass gets warm. Then dump out that water and proceed to make your coffee. Also, while the coffee is steeping, put the lid on it (don't press the filter down, of course). Keeping the lid on will help retain the heat. Finally, be sure your water is around 200-210 degrees, and not too cool when you start. I've never had a problem with the coffee being too cool after four minutes.

                        Some people complain that coffee brewed this way is too strong. The thing to do then is to add hot water to your cup of coffee (or milk or cream) after it is brewed. Reducing the amount of beans is not the correct solution because it just leads to bitter and not very flavorful coffee. Reducing the steeping time also leads to less flavorful coffee.

                    2. If you have small sauce pan and fine strainer, you can copy a French Press for free. Just dump the coffee in the water (just off boil), steep, and strain. If you don't like the sediment that the strainer passes, then use a coarser grind, or filter the coffee through a paper filter (using a Melita plastic filter holder).

                      paulj

                      1. I use the starbucks solo coffee press. Small sized with surprisingly great filter and good insulation, perfect for a daily single serve.

                        1. Try the Aerobie. It's like a French Press but I believe extracts the essential coffee flavor from any type of coffee. You can find information about it at:

                          http://aerobie.com/Products/aeropress...

                          Good luck.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: EclecticEater

                            I have to say that I LOVE my aeropress. I used to have such a hard time making coffee (always came out either bitter or woody tasting) but I'm yet to make a bad cup since I got mine. And it is so easy to clean...yum.

                          2. Hunny and I vote for Bodum... We are very happy with it and it is affordable.

                            I do agree with the comment about cooling off... Do not let it sit after the 4 minute recommended period.

                            1 Reply
                            1. I have several Bodum presses (different sizes), including the metal travel thermo-like thing. I've never found them lacking, and they're pretty sturdy and easily replaced.