French im-press-ive

Posted: December 18, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Had my first cup of coffee the other day. Or it tasted like it, at least. (Boom! Roasted! Java joke.)

That’s how much better coffee made in a French press is compared to the old drip method. It’s astounding.

I haven’t been drinking joe long enough to really break it down for you – I’ve become more than a casual drinker only recently in an attempt to wean myself from energy drinks. Plus, the experience is likely to vary based on what grounds you use, how long you brew, etc. I know some things about those elements, but am hardly an expert.

The beginning of the plunging process in French pressing coffee.

The beginning of the plunging process in French pressing coffee.

So I’ll put it this way: A French press makes coffee come alive. It’s like it opens the bean, gives it almost an effervescent quality in addition to changing the taste. I’m serious. It’s been confirmed by TVFury’s own Dan Frasier, a man with more coffee experience and a more discernible palate.

You’re right to be skeptical – I wondered if there was some sort of placebo effect going on. If it seemed better because I wanted it to be. The process seems sophisticated and the equipment – a birthday gift from my brother and his wife – looks cool. But then I had drip coffee a couple of days later and almost by accident. Same beans I used hours earlier in the French press. Same creamer (although I use less of that now, too). Same everything. Different experience.

Why? The Google Machines has a few theories on this. Among the most feasible: The paper filter in a conventional coffee maker absorbs some of the oils and doesn’t allow for enough brewing time. Plus, the temperature is just right if you do it properly.

Here’s how the French press process works: Dump grounds into the empty press, put water on the stove and pour it into the press as soon as it boils. Then, put on the lid and let it brew for roughly 4 minutes before pushing the plunger – a metal filter, basically – slowly to the bottom. That’s it. It takes a couple minutes longer than the Mr. Coffee Method, but there aren’t any filters to buy and the results are insane.

There are, however, problems that come from this sort of java epiphany. I already found a good cup of coffee to be hard to come by. Admittedly, that’s partially on me. I’ve probably been ordering the wrong things from the wrong places, but most cups seem too bitter or too syrupy or overcooked. There are only two places in Sioux Falls that I can count on for quality – and I’m pretty sure one of them dabbles in French pressing, if that can be used as a verb.

Now that my eyes have been opened to this situation, it boggles the mind to think about all the good coffee that’s being underappreciated. It’s easier than ever to get different brands, flavors and roasts yet a seemingly small percentage is being brewed in the proper technique. It’s like if 90 percent of America cooked every piece of meat on a George Foreman Grill – it wouldn’t do the food justice.

In fact, maybe it’s time to start a pro-French press campaign, even if that means changing the name. Can you say Freedom press?

  1. Sebastiaan says:

    I have the exact same French Press as you seem to have (Bodum right?) and i love it to bits. I started out with drip coffee to, then moved onto a Senseo (padmachine) but that was more of a step back than anything else. It was a lot faster though and i occasionally grab the Senseo when we have people over.

    The French Press was an eye opener but there’s another problem with these coffee experiences. It makes you want more. And in my case that lead to me buying a La Pavoni manual espresso machine.

    Also, you might want to try an Aeropress, it’s a espressomachine / french press hybrid. I might have to get myself one of those too once.

    Have fun with your coffee, and make sure it’s freshly roasted =)

  2. Rich Jensen says:

    French Press coffee is good, but it gets cold quite quickly and I have a habit of stretching out my coffee consumption. As much as I like French Press, I can’t use it for my daily coffee fix.

  3. Mark says:

    I use the French Press only for special occasions.

    I have found over the years, that it depends greatly on the coffee maker for drip coffee.

    Buy a good one, and it’s pretty close to as good. I have a Cuisinart at home, and I highly recommend it.

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