Monday, July 20, 2009

Pause-Café – Le Cafetière à Piston; the French Press

Maybe I am bias but as far as I am concerned, aside from espresso, this is the ultimate in coffee brewing, although, technically it is more of a steeping method than brewing. Regardless of the technicalities, the ingenious French Press (AKA Press Pot, Coffee Press, Piston Pot or Coffee Plunger) produces the most decadently flavorful cup of the mysterious brew of any other method not involving a $6,000 machine imported from Naples or Turino.

This machine is brilliant in its simplicity and inspired in function. A simple screen acts as a filter, pressing the spent ground to the bottom of the glass pot, leaving behind all the delicious extractives suspended in a frothy dark liquid above; ready to be relished with fervor. This device’s history goes back as far as 1850 however the first patent was issued in Italy in 1931 to one Mr. Attilio Calimani. While the Patent is Italian in origin it is the Danish company Bodum (located in Switzerland now), however, seems to be the largest purveyor of French Presses in the United States

The operation of the French press is quite easy. Just remember, Auto Drip grind is too fine for this method, it must be slightly coarser to prevent passage through the screen.

Simply fill the Carafe with Hot water from the tap to condition the glass. (this also keeps it from absorbing too much heat from the water when it is poured in)

Place a kettle on the stove and heat the water to 200 degrees.

Measure out 1 slightly rounded Tablespoon of ground coffee per cup (Mine is a “6” cup).

As the water reaches 195, pour the water from the carafe and add the grounds.

When the water kettle reaches 200, remove from heat and pour into the carafe.

Using a spoon, stir the grounds briefly to ensure they are equally moistened with no clumping.

Place the lid on top (do NOT push the plunger yet) and wrap with a towel to preserve the heat, letting it steep for 4 minutes.

Press the plunger down --

and pour yourself a deliciously rich velvet froth laced cup of ambrosia.

Yes, again I add just a little half and half… I always have to smell my French Press coffee for about 3 minutes before I actually take a sip… ;)

It is a heavenly experience to be sure….

Not only does the French Press brew/Steep and AWESOME cup of Joe. It is also one of the most environmentally friendly ways to prepare your morning coffee. You will no longer have to purchase paper coffee filters which pollute the landfill. The residual grounds from your French Press are an awesome addition to your garden soil or your septic tank (after all, sometimes even bacteria and microbes need a pick me up).

Cin Cin!!


DDpie said...

I'll have a cup of THAT coffee, oh, and pass me one of those cinnamon pastries while you're at it ;)

Patti T. said...

DD, leave one of those cinnamon pastries for me! My friend has one of these, and I bought one for my son, who claimed it was too hard to clean ??? so he tossed it. Now I wish I had given it a try. I have the Keurig, what do you think of them?

Culinary Alchemist said...

DD - Coming right up ;)

Patti - Is the Keurig one of those pod brewers?

Bob said...

While FPs do make a great cup of coffee, I just can't use them. When I worked at Starbucks the only customers who would order them were people who thought we were there to satisfy their every whim and were never pleased with anything. One of them actually called me "garcon". There's a job I'm glad I don't do anymore. Heh.

Culinary Alchemist said...

Bob - It sometimes amazes me how rude people can be... That always annoys me... When I am standing in line and the customer in front of me is giving specific temperatures that they want their coffee... Good lord, if your that picky, then make it yourself at home... LOL

Danielle said...

LOL @ Bob being a garcon!! I know how to properly use my french press. I shall dig it out of the depths of my coffee cupboard in the morning. YAY!!!