French Press coffee makers are extremely popular all over the coffee world because they are simple, easy to use and make great coffee. Comprising a pot (usually glass), set in a frame of some kind, and a metal plunger with a fine mesh filter, they are easy to keep clean. There really is not much between them, but here are a few pointers for you to think about when choosing your ideal French Press.
Many people have three or four French Presses of different sizes. When you make a brew, you really do not want to let the coffee sit in the pot for any length of time, because it will keep on brewing. As the water temperature drops, chemicals are extracted from the grounds which make the coffee bitter and unpleasant. So, you should have a personal sized pot, one with enough coffee to share, and one to cater to larger groups. If you go for a larger pot, you should also buy a thermo flask into which you can decant the coffee after it has been brewed.
2. Filter mesh
You really need to look carefully at the filter mesh. It should be fine enough so that it will not allow coffee grounds to escape into the coffee after you have pressed. You should especially look at the edge of the mesh assembly – this should be quite firm, and preferably have a spring system that keeps it tightly pressed against the sides of the pot. This is where most presses go wrong, and a cheaper model will need the mesh replaced more often.
3. Glass, plastic or thermo?
The ideal press has a glass pot because it is easiest to clean and does not retain flavor. Plastic pots are great for camping trips but can tend to have some flavor retention. Thermo model pots are great for keeping the coffee warm, but the water will keep brewing the grounds as long as they are in contact, resulting in a bitter brew. It is better to use a glass pot, and decant it into an adjacent thermo flask.
As with any coffee maker, it is always best to spend a little more and get yourself a model that will last for a long time!