French Presses

Discover Did You Know

Continuously gaining strength as a popular coffee-brewing technique is the use of the French press, which was first used in Milan in the early 1930s. Early presses were made of porcelain in the shape of a cocktail shaker. After World War II, the French popularized this brewing method and substituted glass for porcelain in their carafes.

While French presses are commonly found in European homes, in the U.S., they still can be met with curiosity by American consumers used to the electric automatic coffeemaker. With that in mind, it’s up to your staff to employ education to get consumers intrigued about the fun – and the taste results – produced by a French press.

Why is using a French press the brewing method of choice of coffee lovers?

Coffee aficionados consider using the French press to be one of the most unique brewing methods. Such esteem is due to the fact that the coffee mingles directly with the water, drawing out the oils and sediments from the grinds. The result is a richly flavored coffee that is generally stronger, more full­ bodied, and more aromatic than one brewed via alternative methods.

Is it difficult to use a French press?

A French press is one of the easiest coffee brewers to use – though some care and attention to detail are required.

Start by rinsing the filter before each use. Next, pull the plunger slowly until it is flush with the lid, and remove it from the carafe. Pour two level tablespoons of coffee for each six-ounce cup into the carafe and add boiling water to a level no higher than the top of the frame’s band. Stir the coffee with a nonmetallic utensil, replace the lid, and let it stand and brew for four minutes.

To separate the grounds from the coffee, push down the plunger slowly, firmly, and evenly with the spout pointed away from you. If the plunger does not depress easily, pull the plunger up about one inch and then push it down again.

Consumers may require a few attempts at brewing before becoming accustomed to using a French press, but once they’re used to this easy process, they’ll not only find it fun, but also an elegant, theatrical way to make coffee, especially when entertaining family or friends.

Is a specific grind of coffee required when using a French press?

Experts recommend that a coarse-ground coffee of good quality be used to produce the best results in a French press as finer grinds may produce a muddy coffee.

Are all French presses the same?

The growing popularity of the French press in the U.S. has resulted in a wealth of varieties and styles on the market. A polycarbonate French press featuring an unbreakable carafe and a silicone-rimmed filter is ideal for coffee lovers who like to travel with their French press, people who camp, or the consumer who does not want to fool around with a glass carafe before consuming his or her first cup of coffee.

Also in this category is the stainless steel, thermal-insulated French press featuring a “flavor shield” that helps the coffee maintain its fresh-pressed flavor for hours by acting as a barrier between the pressed grinds and the brewed coffee.

The most notable difference will be the thickness and quality of the glass beaker, which can vary from one manufacturer to the next. The range of heat tolerance reveals much about the quality of the glass carafe. For example, a high-quality glass should be able to withstand temperatures from -22′ F to 986′ F. However, direct stovetop or flame contact is not recommended for even the highest-quality glass carafe.

Consumers also should consider a sturdy plunger and frame as the best preventers of accidents which might occur during plunging. The final consideration is not one of quality but of style, as many presses today are available in colors and finishes that will complement any kitchen’s decor.

What should I look for in a high-quality French press?

High-quality materials are key to the interior of a French press as the consumer wants to avoid rust from repeated use. Therefore, all interior metal parts should be made of a rust-resistant material – stainless steel is perhaps the most popular, though chrome-plated brass also is used. While the frame of the French press should be removed before immersing the beaker in water, some French press manufacturers also use chrome-plated stainless steel or electroplated gold for the frame and lid to reduce the risk of external rusting.

Is my French press only for coffee?

Coffee shouldn’t be considered the only drink suitable for brewing in a French press; lately, it’s also gaining a reputation as the ideal vessel for brewing loose tea or chai.