A Pressing Issue: French Press

To some, it might seem like an antiquated process; why should I spend so much effort using another appliance to make a cup of joe?

Because it is delightfully entertaining, active, and downright delicious.

These are subjective reasons as to why a French press is better than a drip coffee maker:

First and foremost, it’s a step back into time. Our modern conveniences shroud our appreciation for the past— and while most appliances we take for granted are more efficient, it is pleasant to relive what the old days were like. And if you are of a ripe old age of 19, having no concept of previous domesticity (although, I do think I have had past lives), it can be a biting perspective.

If I’m running late and need a cup of coffee right away, the French press isn’t my go-to device— I’d much rather press a button and have my machine deliver an adequate source of go-juice in a mug. But when I have time to savor a moment, which should be always, my pensive mind allows my hands to conjure up a brew while I recess deep into whatever thoughts come my way.

The major components of my French press consist of the following:

  • The French press (duh)
  • Kettle
  • Coarsely ground fresh coffee beans
  • Fresh, cold water
Of course, you could use a pan to heat water, but a kettle is less hassle and a decorative, yet practical, piece. Much like myself, it is short and stout. Having said this, it recently broke due to its extensive usage. We all have our boiling points! 
I start by heating enough water to fill the glass carafe to about an inch below the top. Meanwhile, I grind my beans to a relatively coarse consistency— grinding to a drip-coffee consistency or even espresso can clog the press. I add the grounds to the carafe, and just as I hear the kettle begin to hum with its simmering contents, I pour the water to the aforementioned level. After gently stirring the grounds with the water, I place the press and lid snugly on top of the grounds— but I do not press the plunger down just yet. I wait about four to five minutes, allowing the grounds to brew. With minimal pressure, I press the coffee. It should take about 15-20 seconds for the plunger to reach the bottom.
At this point, a nice aroma should emanate through the air, and a rich crema should develop around the edges of the carafe— it’s ready!
Taste wise, there isn’t much difference, though there is more grit than a coffee maker. I wish to think that this gives a higher caffeine content, but I don’t have the science to verify this. I won’t make any suggestions or brand endorsements, but do get a press that has a glass carafe— plastic stains easily if left unattended. I picked mine up at Dillard’s after Christmas on sale for only $7.50!  Watch for clearances in department stores, and jaunt to TJ Maxx for good prices (I’m a self-admitted Maxxinista).
And as for coffee beans, pick whatever you like! As you may well know, I enjoy dark, smoky blends. Right now, I’m drinking Starbucks Sumatra blend (read about Starbucks support for gay marriage!) and I always have on hand French Roast. 
A French press is a perfect device for a dreary day like today, whether you want a cup with solitude or to share with a friend over conversation. Press on!

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