In 2004 the American Culinary Institute gave the award for the best French Press Coffeemaker to the Bodum Chambord French Press. Made by a small clarinet manufacturer in Normandy (coffee and the smooth sounds of Acker Bilk flow well together!), this coffee maker has become one of the most popular in the world. It has retained its original chromed design and is one of the few presses that consistently filter the coffee grinds out of the coffee so that you don’t get bits straining through your teeth as you drink. One of the most common complaints of other French Presses is that the filter screen often has a small kink, or the spring is too weak, and this allows a few pieces of the coffee grind to leak through. The Bodum French Press does not have this problem.
The standard size for the Bodum French Press has a capacity of 34 oz., which makes 8 cups of coffee (or 3-4 good-sized mugs). You can buy different sizes, according to your needs – in fact, many people have a single cup Bodum, and an extra-large one for entertaining. The carafe is made from tough, heat-resistant glass, and the frame is made from stainless steel. It has a heat-resistant handle, and all parts are suitable for use in a dishwasher. The filter has three parts, the most important being the spring that allows for flexibility but still maintains an even pressure on the filter mesh, thereby effectively blocking the possibility of grounds sneaking through into your coffee.
Make sure that you use coarse-grind coffee with the Bodum. This will prevent the filter mesh from being blocked, and creating undue pressure.
Why do people like the Bodum French Press?
- Taste – the parts are made from glass and steel, both of which are taste-neutral. The Bodum can be cleaned in the dishwasher, which means that you do not get the bitter taste from residual coffee stains. Add the coffee, add the hot water, stir, leave for four minutes, and you get the full flavor from your favorite grind.
- Ease of use – there is no complicated setup or special cleaning ritual – you get straight to the point, which is good coffee.
- Easy to clean
- Easily vary the amount of coffee you brew – you can make one cup if you prefer.
What people do not like about the Bodum French Press.
- Fragile – some people have reported that the glass is fragile, and cracks if tapped against a marble kitchen top. Overcome this by treating the Bodum as you would with any glass product – use a reasonable amount of care!
- Plastic shaft collar – this can crack and wear out, over time.
- The Coffee cools quickly – this is not particular to the Bodum, but is a common factor for all French Presses. For best practice, brew your coffee for 4 minutes, then either drink immediately or pour it into a vacuum flask. You do not want to leave the coffee to brew for longer than four minutes, because it is still in contact with the grounds, and it can get bitter as it brews longer and cools. More tannins are released at lower temperatures.
- Taste – if you prefer a percolated taste or an espresso, this is probably not the machine for you. It has a taste similar to drip coffee, without that taint of paper filters.
Tips for using the Bodum French Press
- Use hot, but not boiling water
- Use a coarse grind so that you do not block the filter and create high pressure.
- Pre-heat the carafe by swirling some hot water before adding the coffee
- Add coffee to taste, and add the hot water. Stir gently a few times.
- Put the filter and lid assembly into the carafe, but do not press down. Wait for 4 minutes.
- Gently press the filter plunger down, with a firm, even pressure. Hold the pot handle firmly while doing this.
- Either drink immediately or pour into a pre-warmed thermos flask for later serving
- Clean thoroughly after use in order to remove coffee stains that produce bitterness.
If you like coffee made from a French Press, then don’t skimp on price. It is worth paying a slightly more in order to get a coffee maker that has a strong enough filter spring and a good quality filter so that you consistently produce clean coffee.
The Bodum French Press is selling on Amazon at a good discount, with free shipping within the USA. It has more than 500 reviews and is extremely popular.