Recently, Crafty tried her own French Press for the first time, and I knew I had my own to review from Kitchen Supreme. She was new to the concept entirely, but I have actually used a French press for a very long time - since high school, in fact. I am slow in getting this review up just because with the move, I have been in a state of constant chaos!
In theory, I think a French press really is the way to go when drinking coffee, although I admit I do love the convenience of something like a Keurig. However, a French press has a ton of benefits, including the fact that it makes the best possible coffee if done correctly. It's a bit more complicated to get it perfect, of course, but once you do, you can't beat the flavor.
Another reason I always loved my French press was simply that it was allowed in my dorm. I worked at a cafe in high school and then for a while in college, so when I went away to school, I wanted coffee at the ready. I didn't feel like trekking over to the college center to get it in the cafeteria when my classes were in the opposite direction. My university didn't have a giant campus, but it gets cold up here and roaming around at 8 am without coffee? No. Of course, the dorm was about 200 years old and we weren't allowed to have anything that could be a potential fire hazard. There was a coffee maker in the kitchen in the dorm, but this was before the days of Keurig and you just didn't want to drink from a communal coffee pot. So the French press was great, because I could walk to the kitchen down the hall, heat my water, and bring it back, letting my coffee brew while I showered. No electricity needed and no fire hazard.
It's been a long time since I have owned a French press, or at least a usable one. I have a decorative one that was expensive that I bought with a full week's pay when I worked at the cafe, but that has never been used. So this came at a great time. My old one broke in one of the moves after college and I just never replaced it.
I will admit that the coffee was a lot lighter than I normally would brew it, but I was trying to get photos and wasn't that worried about the coffee this time around. Once I ground the beans, I poured the coffee into the bottom of the press.
From there, the next step is to fill the press with not quite boiling but close water. I ended up microwaving the water, and I could have left it in longer, to be honest. (Side note: French presses are amazing for cold brewed coffee, but it takes about 12 hours to steep.)
The coffee, over time, darkens, brewing by itself once you place the lid and allow the hot water to do its thing.
When you're ready - usually about 5-10 minutes, but you can adjust based on your own needs for how bold you want the taste - you simply press the grounds down and allow the actual coffee to come up. There is a filter on the bottom of the plunger (this press comes with four filters and you can actually add them as you see fit depending on how much filtration you like); it's really important to press slowly, though, because you want to give it time. The coffee comes up with a very nice coloring.
That's pretty much how it works and the taste is going to depend on how well you follow instructions and how you like your coffee. If you're new to a French press, it may take some experimentation to get it right, but once you get it down, you will likely find that the convenience and flavor beat most other brewing methods, unless you spend a fortune on a barista quality machine!