The French Press Myth
A week or two ago, Kyle Glanville of Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea shared a thought on Twitter: many high-end coffee shops that pride themselves on the quality of their espresso serve downright mediocre filtered coffee. This is not a sentiment I can agree with based on my own personal experience, as I've not been able to frequent many such shops in person, but I do agree with it in principle.
I was asked to help a friend of a friend answer a question on Twitter today: "Does anyone know the science of why coffee made in a French Press is so much better?" It didn't hit me until after I responded that I had been contemplating the inherent problem with this question for a long while, and that Kyle Glanville's observations hinted at the answer. Most folks in America don't understand the flavor potential that coffee has; much of it is brewed very weakly, and of the coffee that is not brewed weakly, very little of it is actually good coffee. Very little. I'll be brutally honest here: those large drip machines you see in coffee shops that brew a couple liters of coffee directly into those air pots are not the way to go when you want a good cup of coffee. Yes, they're convenient, but no, they're not likely to be doing the coffee justice...and that's if the coffee is good to begin with, which is also unlikely.
So, back to the topic at hand. All of this creates an environment in which any brew method that offers a stronger -- and therefore, what will likely be perceived as a more flavorful and superior -- cup of coffee is seen as The Best Way to Brew Coffee. Unfortunately, this just isn't true. Ridiculously delicious coffee can be made through paper filters, cloth filters, even glass filters, and that's before a french press is brought into the equation. Pour-over brewing, which is done by pouring hot water through a filter holding ground coffee, can yield a surprisingly flavorful cup, and one that doesn't have the muddy sediment that plagues a french press. The syphon, or vacuum pot, has been around for about 180 years, but it takes a fair amount of skill and patience to master it.
The french press enjoys a fair bit of popularity these days, but it's far from the only way to enjoy a flavorful cup of coffee that hasn't been made in an automatic machine. Please don't hear this as me saying I don't like french-pressed coffee; far from it! I'm sipping on coffee from a press as I type, and believe me, it's delicious.
Like this post? Then Subscribe to the Prima Coffee blog by email and get slick articles delivered right to your inbox. No web surfing required.
One of the top coffee grinder manufacturers has just released one of the most versatile grinders to date. With the capability of grinding from French press to espresso, the Mahlkonig Pro M provides the grinding range that would normally require two separate grinders. The grinding range combined with features like the "hands free" operation and break functionality help make this grinder ideal for both low-medium volume commercial settings and home use.
As the interest in specialty coffee continues to increase, so does the interest in brewing methods that best compliment the quality and ideals of specialty coffee. Up until this point there have been limited options when it comes to pour over brewing devices that offer both a small learning curve as well as excellent results. Garnering praise for both their calculated design and ease of use, the Kalita line of pour over brewers are helping that small list of brewers grow. The Kalita Wave Dripper is being offered in both small (1-2 people) and large (1-4 people). The small size is offered in both glass and stainless steel while the large size is offered in glass, stainless steel, and ceramic. For an overview of the unique style the Kalita Wave Dripper brings to the pour over method, a feature chart that overviews the design, technique, and advantage can be found below.
The Fretta Iced Coffee Brewer is Hario's answer to brewing the perfect cup of iced coffee. Hario has combined their famous V60 brewer with a decanter and plastic diffuser to assure that the coffee is quickly cooled by hitting ice immediately after the brewing process. This quick heat transition is important in conserving the flavor of the coffee. The Fretta comes with 10 size 02 paper filters. We recommend that you purchase extra filters as well. To do this select filters as an add-on from the options on the right or go to our Hario 02 filter listing. Also recommend is a pouring kettle. We offer both the Hario Buono Kettle as well as the Kalita Wave Pot Kettle in the drop-down menu on the right.