For those who are new to the world of brewing at home coffee, or for those who are already well acquainted with it, the French press is something that is worth learning about and investing in.
These little guys are amazingly versatile. They can be used to brew tea, make iced coffee and cold brew, juicy berries, and extract the liquid from spinach and other greens.
As an extra bonus, French presses are some of the most environmentally friendly ways to brew coffee. It requires no filter and doesn’t need electricity to run. The fine mesh filter filters out the majority of grit and sediment, so you don’t end up with a mouth full of grounds (some models do a better job than others in this respect).
They’re affordable, small, and fun to use. The glass lets you watch the color of the coffee, and pressing the plunger is strangely satisfying. Even if you buy one that isn’t super expensive, with proper maintenance and cleaning, it will last you years and give you a strong, flavorful cup of coffee every time.
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French presses are easy to use. The only difficult part is maybe finding the correct ratio of water to grounds, but that’s easy to figure out: a heaping tablespoon for every 4 ounces of water is generally the best bet.
When buying coffee for your new toy, make sure its ground specifically for a French press (coarse). Big box stores may have a wide variety of coffees to choose from, but most of them aren’t ground with the grind of French press in mind.
If you buy whole bean coffee, take it to any cafe and ask the barista if they can grind it for you. Chances are they’ll be more than happy to help you out, especially if it’s for a French press, which tends to be a favorite of baristas for brewing coffee on their own.
The great thing about using a French press is that you can use any roast of coffee for it and it will come out tasting robust and balanced. If you’re someone who enjoys light roasts but finds its complexity a little disappointing, consider using it in a French press. It’ll bring out every part of the coffee in ways that other methods of brewing don’t do for light roasts.
French presses come in a variety of sizes for all your brewing needs. Most can brew multiple cups; some can even make enough for a larger group. There are models that brew as much as 51 ounces!
While glass is great for watching your coffee brew and looks nice, the glass on a French press can be very fragile. Since this appliance isn’t one that should be cleaned in the dishwasher, it can be easy to have it shatter in your hands accidentally.
Alternatives to glass do exist (and may do a better job keeping the coffee hot). Stainless steel is perfect, easy to clean, and can withstand some bumps and dings, even if you live in a busy household.
Stoneware is also a great choice. It’s durable and hefty. You can stick it in the fridge or freezer, microwave, or dishwasher. The versatile nature of French presses made from this material makes it ideal for making cold brew and juicing. It also can come in a variety of colors, which is a nice contrast to the usual stainless steel and glass models that many presses are made of.
Some presses don’t retain heat as well as others. Whether you’re brewing just for yourself or for others and you don’t go through the entire pot, investigate how long the press will keep the coffee hot. Insulated carafes are perfect for getting the job done.
Some models have lines on the side to make measuring water easier. It’s a nice touch if you don’t want to get another dish out.
Maintaining a French press is easy, though it does require a little bit of extra work to clean. It isn’t like other brewers where you can just swish it out with hot water and call it a day. The plunger and filter can stain over time if not properly washed. You may need to buy a brush to get in the crevices, but if you do this regularly, it shouldn’t take too long. If the model you have has screws that connect the plunger and filter, you may have to tighten those every once in a while, too.