The French press is the unofficial mascot of home brewed coffee; it’s been steeping coffee in households since before your grandparents were born, and it has a very loyal, cult following among the home barista community.
It's likely thanks to multiple reasons, but our money is on the fact that its super easy to use, can be picked up for pocket change (almost) and produces a brew with a distinct taste and feel like no other method. Here's a list of great french press makers if you're in need.
If you're into the French Press use the right coffee grind as this little known but super common mistake taints French Press coffee all over the world. Here's a detailed guide on how to use a french press.
What To Expect
Time: from Bean > Brew: It's not super quick, but not super slow either. From (almost) boiling the water, to steeping and plunging, you’ll need about 10 or so minutes. While steeping, however, your French press will need your undivided attention.
Type of grind required: A course grind is the only way to go. Too fine a grind means you’ll have particles stuck in the filter and passing into the finished brew, adding to over-steeping and
leaving you with a bitter mess.
Resulting brew: A unique, non-harsh aromatic coffee that’s full of flavor, particular to your beans. It will, however, be a little sediment-y, so avoid drinking the last few sips of each cup.
Skill level required: Making a French press is an easy task. Making the perfect French press is a little harder. All-in-all, if you follow a very clear set of instructions, such as these, you’ll get what you’re looking for, no problems.
BEST SUITED FOR YOU: If you love the unique brew you get from a French Press, or if you have a lot of caffeine fiends to fix up (e.g. a full household)
NOT SO GREAT FOR YOU: If you’re a frequent traveler – they are made from glass (most of the time – stainless steel options are available)
- Distinct and unique flavor
- Easy to use with the right advice
- Taste may not be ‘your cuppa tea
- Steeping is hard to perfect and is a standard screw up with the French press
A relatively new invention (est. 2010) the SoftBrew has been dubbed ‘primitive yet high tech’. I’m not sure what the heck that means, but if I were to describe the SoftBrew in simple terms, I would say “it’s like a French press, but easier.”
It has ‘simple’ written all over it: fill the Softbrew stainless steel filter with ground coffee, add your hot water, let it steep (4-8 minutes) and then serve. Just like a teapot, in fact. No abracadabra required.
The beauty of this gadget is in the special filter (what they call ‘high-tech’) which has hundreds of thousands of tiny tiny holes,
meaning you can put in ANY size grinds (yes, even super fine) and it will work.
What To Expect
Time: from Bean > Brew: Once you have your hot water, it takes 4-8 minutes.
Type of grind required: Anything goes – you can use any size you desire. Get experimenting!
Resulting brew: Similar to a French press. The special filter purposely allows ground smaller than 150 microns (AKA damn tiny) which give the resulting brew depth, flavor and body. It's like a French press, but cleaner.
Skill level required: Zero. You could brew an excellent coffee with the SoftBrew with your eyes closed and your hands bound. That’s the way it was intended to be.
BEST SUITED FOR YOU: If you’re not into the whole fussy side of specialty coffee movement (i.e. you’re are not a coffee hipster), and if you appreciate an-easy-to-brew coffee that tastes better than that instant coffee BS.
NOT SO GREAT FOR YOU: If you enjoy mixing your brew style up and being a little creative with how you brew. If that sounds like you, this thing will bore the heck out of you.
- Verrrrrrry easy to use
- Relatively fast
- Comes in a range of sizes
- Made from ceramic pieces, therefore, its not suited to traveling (it’s too darn fragile)