The French press is probably the most underestimated coffee maker there is. The humble plunger pot makes a great cup of coffee, competing with much more expensive devices.
However, what is even more interesting about the French press, is its versatility. You can tweak your cup of coffee in so many ways. Don’t settle for the old good advice: “coarse ground – 4 minutes’ steep”. Let us show you how to make a better cup, and how to fine tune that daily cup to perfection. To what YOU consider perfection, and not coffee bloggers. We put together a comprehensive guide to teach you How to Make Coffee with a French Press, which is in our opinion, one of the best guides.
French Press History
The history of the French press is a little confuse, both the French and the Italians claiming as being the inventors of the nifty brewing device. We don’t take sides here, we are going to present some historical facts, but know that there is more to the story.
The French Mayer and Delforge invented the first iteration of the cafetière, as they call ed, in 1852. This was a rudimentary version that was slightly improved and patented in 1924 by Marcel-Pierre Paquet dit Jolbert.
Five years later, in 1929, Attilio Calimani patented his own version in the United States. This model served as inspiration for Faliero Bondanini, who patented a new and improved version of it in 1958. This was going to be the modern French press, as we know it today.
Is It a French Press or a Cafetière?
It is both. French press is the name used in North America, while cafetière is the name used in Britain and Ireland. In New Zealand, Australia and South Africa it is called coffee plunger. The Italians call it caffettiera a stantuffo.
What French Press Tastes Like?
I said earlier that French press is a versatile brewing method. You can adjust your brewing parameters such as brewing temperature, grind size, extraction time to get a cup as you like. So you can make it taste however you like. I’ll admit though, that the French press doesn’t do justice to delicate flavors such as floral African beans. The amount of oils and the great body, just overwhelm the complexity of the African beans. If you like a clean cup, with crisp origin notes, French press is NOT for you. If you like a coffee with ample body, where the origin notes still shine but in a more balanced way, the French press does that.
If you are looking for a comparison term, French press has some of the attributes of an espresso, or Moka pot coffee. It is not as strong as the two, and you can even brew it very diluted, if that’s your taste. However, the ample body, and the amount of extracted oils makes it a very rich cup.
Is French Press Coffee Bad for You?
There is a lot of discussion around coffee oils and cholesterol. We will have a detailed article about that soon. In a few words, there is concern that the oils in French press could cause a high LDL cholesterol. Because French press doesn’t use a paper filter, the coffee oils are not filtered. This means that you will get a higher cholesterol than you would if you drank filter coffee.
Does that make unfiltered coffee unhealthy? The science doesn’t really know. Half of the world is coffee that is filtered with a metallic screen. Espresso, Turkish coffee, French press, Vietnamese coffee are like that. The decision is yours, but there is not enough evidence to point that French press and espresso are unhealthy.