The French-Press

James Oseland

Why am I so in love with my French-press coffeepot? Easy: I like things simple, and this portable, no-frills device (also known as a press pot, plunger pot, or cafetiere) consists of nothing more than a glass or plastic carafe and a lid fitted with a mesh-lined plunger. Just put freshly ground coffee into the carafe, add hot water, wait a few minutes, and plunge. Still, it's not just the simplicity; a French press produces a thicker, more full-bodied brew than a drip coffee maker can because the coarse mesh filter allows more of the beans' essential oils and flavors to make it into your cup. You'll get the best results by using high-quality whole beans (see 9 Great Coffees, to read about our favorite roasts) that have been ground at the coarsest setting, as finer grounds can create too much resistance for the plunger. (I use one and a half to two tablespoons of grounds per cup of water.) It's also a good idea to let the water sit for 30 to 45 seconds after it has boiled (water that's too hot extracts bitter compounds from the grounds too quickly). I always add just enough water to cover the grounds before I fill the carafe, to allow them to bloom and release their fragrance. Then I fill the carafe, give the mixture a stir, gently put on the lid, and wait four minutes before depressing the plunger. Without further ado (indeed, don't let the brewed coffee sit in the carafe for long, or it will become bitter), I fill my cup and marvel at the pleasures of the easy life.