Sun, 9 May 2010 07:42:58
A French press, also known as a press pot, coffee press, coffee plunger or ?afetière à piston, is a simple coffee brewing device, probably invented in France in the 1850s, but first patented by Italian designer Attilio Calimani in 1929, who made subsequent design improvements over the years, and further refined by another Italian, Faliero Bondanini.
The French press goes by various names around the world. In New Zealand, Australia and South Africa the whole apparatus is known as a coffee plunger and coffee brewed in it as plunger coffee. Its French name is cafetière à piston. In French it is also known by its brand names, notably, Melior, from an old brand of this type. In the UK, the Netherlands, and Ireland the device is known as a cafetière, the French word for a coffee maker or pot.
A French press consists of a narrow cylindrical beaker usually made of glass or clear plastic, equipped with a lid and a "plunger", made of metal or plastic, which fits tightly in the cylinder and which has a fine wire or nylon mesh filter. The simplicity of the mechanism and its potential for attractive after-dinner presentation have led to a variety of more-or-less aesthetic designs.
A French press requires coffee of a coarser grind than does a drip brew coffee filter, as finer grounds will seep through the press filter and into the coffee. Coffee is brewed by placing the coffee and water together, stirring it and leaving to brew for a few minutes, then depressing the plunger to trap the coffee grounds at the bottom of the beaker.
Because the coffee grounds remain in direct contact with the brewing water and the grounds are filtered from the water via a mesh instead of a paper filter, coffee brewed with the French press captures more of the coffee's flavour and essential oils, which would become trapped in a traditional drip brew machine's paper filters. French pressed coffee is usually stronger and thicker and has more sediment than drip-brewed coffee. Because the used grounds remain in the drink after brewing, French pressed coffee left to stand can become bitter. "A typical half-liter French press is considered expired after 20 minutes