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Anybody Use a French Press?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by MichaelBA, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. MichaelBA

    MichaelBA Supporting Actor

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    I'm thinking about switching over to a French press for my coffee. Anybody use one? Opinions?

    Since it's said that you need a coarse grind for a press, do you have to buy a brand of coffee that explicitly is labelled as such? Or is most coffee coarsely ground? Do I need to buy a coffee grinder too in order to make sure I get the best effect from a French press?
     
  2. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Once you go French press, you don't go back. I have a fancy ass drip machine what with a timer and everything. You can set the damn thing to make your coffee before you even get up. But it's collecting dust now.

    You don't absolutely HAVE to use coarse grind, regular coffee will work. The only thing is you may wind up with a murkier cup of coffee, as the very fine particles can seep through the filter thingy a bit. No big worries.

    The biggest downside to the press is that you have to use more coffee cup per cup than you would in a drip machine. So you'll find you go through it faster. But the taste.....oh there is NO comparison.
     
  3. Eric M Jones

    Eric M Jones Second Unit

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    Drinking coffee made with mine as I type. Love it.
    Get an inexpensive grinder and buy your beans whole. Or you can grind them at the store just set the dial to course. Best of all you can by different size presses to fit your need. I use a 2 cup and it's the perfect amount of coffee to wake up to.

    -EJ
     
  4. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the french press makes superior coffee because you pour in boiling water all at once. Drip coffee makers don't raise the temp of the water to boiling.

    We used to have this great automatic coffee maker that brought all the water to boiling in a container above the coffee and than released it rather quickly over the coffee. It made the best coffee I've ever had from a machine.

    Alas, it ceased working after a few years and we no longer have it and couldn't find its equivalent.
     
  5. Michael Caicedo

    Michael Caicedo Second Unit

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    A triumph of taste over convenience! In addition to all the suggestions above, get an electric kettle. It boils the water super fast so you don't wait for your coffee very long.
     
  6. andrew markworthy

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    I presume that by 'French press' you mean what in the UK we call a cafetiere [i.e. it's basically a glass jug with a plunger filter]?

    I've experimented with various coffee making methods, and I would say that this is by far and away the best (unless you want specialist things like espresso, Turkish coffee, or that weird thick coffee milk shake like thing popular in Greece).

    You should find that pre-ground coffee is available in the grind you want, and certainly if you go to a shop selling coffee beans, they will grind the beans to the right consistency.

    Grinding your own coffee is arguably the best of the lot, but be warned about the caffeine level! The first time I tried it, I liked the taste so much I drank about six large cups. Half an hour later I wondered why I couldn't hold a pen still in my hands.

    Sorry, this is another dumb Brit question - don't you guys have electric kettles as standard? Over here, heating a kettle of water on the stove is something our grandparents did - I can't think of anyone in the UK who doesn't have an electric kettle.
     
  7. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    I don't get the whole electric kettle thing. It's not really faster than boiling water on the stove and it's just one more thing taking up space.
     
  8. MichaelBA

    MichaelBA Supporting Actor

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    Don't knock my People, Andrew![​IMG]

    We don't use electric kettles in the USA, certainly not as a standard practice -- outside of hotel rooms.

    Any recommendations on a French press?
     
  9. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    I use a Peugeot hand grinder set for a fairly fine grind. I don't let it steep more than about 90 seconds. I've been making coffee this way for a couple of years, with many different grinders, and it never became exceptional until I could produce even grinds.
     
  10. andrew markworthy

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    I wasn't [​IMG] I just didn't know what to call it. I saw a Greek colleague making them when I visited Piraeus a few months ago. It seems to consist of coffee and milk whisked until it forms a thick foam. I'd have tried one, but he didn't have decaff (the only ting I drink these days - full caffeinated seems to be a trigger for migraines [​IMG]).
     
  11. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    French pressed coffee is all about the grind. The finer the grind, the faster the extraction. Typically, a course grind is used, and it takes four minutes or so to extract all the oils. A finer grind can be extracted more quickly (so that the water doesn't cool), but too fine and the filter doesn't do it's job--though a nylon secondary filter can help.

    But many grinders don't produce a constant size particle. This can mean that while oils and aromas are being extracted from the larger particles, tannins will be extracted from the smaller particles, leading to bitter coffee.

    Caffeine has conditioned me to think carefully about my coffee and tea rituals.
     
  12. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Its only "weird" until you start dunkin' your doughnuts in it [​IMG]
     
  13. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    So... how hard are these presses to clean ? I love a great cup o' joe, but I'm a lazy SOB....
     
  14. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Dishwasher safe. (Well, not the grinder, and the mesh part can get batted about by spray, so put it in silverware basket.)
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've become a coffee drinker -- a sad state of affairs. But given that, I've registered for a French Press and a modest electric grinder.

    However, I don't like coffee per se -- too bitter. I enjoy something closer to hot chocolate, and so I've discovered the various flavored cappucinos, frappuccinos, americanos from Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Seattle's Best, etc.

    But I'm hoping a french press will give me better coffee than the dredge at work, and cheaper than Starbucks' flavored delights.

    All that said: is there much difference in quality among the French Presses for sale?

    How about grinders? Am I ok with the $30 jobber from Target?
     
  16. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Go to coffeegeek.com for a lengthy education [​IMG]. http://www.coffeegeek.com/guides/presspot

    You should also check out pressure (vacuum) pots... They are easier to clean and everything is in one unit. The coffee is easily on par with a French press.
     
  17. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    a review of my grinder on coffeegeek

    I've used a cuisinart burr grinder. It produced a lot of static, and the grind wasn't really even. I've used a cheap hand mill that jammed quite often. If you can stand grinding by hand-- a boring, lengthy, if not very arduous task, you can get a Zassenhaus, Peugeot, or perhaps a Trespade.
     
  18. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    A warning about using a presspot--make sure your grinds are as coarse as possible. That way, the grinds don't get past the plunger. Yes, this means you have to steep the coffee a little longer but the result is excellent-quality coffee. [​IMG]
     
  19. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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  20. andrew markworthy

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    Very easy indeed. Let the residual coffee cool. With the plunger still in place, pour the excess liquid down the sink. Take the plunger out and dispose of the coffee grinds in the trash. Rinse the plunger and jug to remove excess grinds. Clean the plunger by hand washing, and wash the jug in dishwasher (if dishwasher safe - most are) or by hand.
     

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