Before we get into the nitty-gritty of a French Press, let’s ask ourselves the basic first question. What do we know about a French Press? We know it is a simple looking coffee brewing equipment. It uses ground coffee to brew. You can use it to make a cup of black coffee or various other coffee-based recipes.
If you were to use a modern-day French Press, all you’d have to do is- add ground coffee into the equipment, pour water over it, cover it with a plunger and press it down after the coffee has brewed.
But if you’re curious to know more and uncover the story behind this easy yet highly functional barista tool then let’s get started!
French Press History: Names, Invention, Patenting
You can call a French Press by many names. It could be a la cafetière or a cafetière à piston in France and a caffettiera a stantuffo in Italy. If you find yourself in Germany, you can call it a Stempelkanne or a Kaffeepresse. Visiting New Zealand, Australia, or South Africa? Then you might want to call it a coffee plunger. But you’re not looking to learn the term in every language possible, then you can stick to what the Americans call it- a French Press.
Just like the different names for this brewing equipment, even its origin has a mix of several nations and their versions of it. The French Press was first invented and patented in Italy, by an Italian designer hailing from Milan named Attilio Calimani. However, there it is not certain whether the invention and patenting took place in 1929 or in 1933.
The device’s design was later perfected in the year 1958 and was closer to the modern-day French Press we are familiar with. The credit for the simple glass vessel, round handle, and steel mesh go to a Swiss fellow by the name of Faliero Bondanini. While several companies have brought their own designs and styles to the Plunger Pot (also another name for the French Press), it still sticks to the original design nonetheless.
Why the charm of the classic Coffee Press (yet another name) hasn’t faded despite several new innovations goes back to the first point we mentioned– The modest design is followed by an extremely simple yet practical usage. It is not only easy to put together and use, but it is also equally easy to dismantle and clean after use, and even replace filters once they wear out (which happens rarely).
Sleepy Owl’s Minimalist Touch To The Trusty French Press
While the classic French Press design remains untouched, each one tries to bring their own touch to it. As a brand, Sleepy Owl takes pride in its minimalist aesthetics and utmost practicality in its merchandise. With our French Press, we tried to stick to our brand aesthetic and came up with an all-ivory French Press. To perfect it, we designed a spout to ensure zero spillage and a double-meshed plunger to keep the grounds out.
To get your hands on a French Press that fits perfectly in an Indian kitchen, shop here.
How To Brew With A French Press
The first thing you learn when you own and use a French Press is that it is easy to fall in love with one. This simple equipment alone can bring a café-like experience to your home. The coffee that you get out of it is delicious, rich, and a full-bodied brew.
Key things to keep in mind when brewing:
1. The ideal grind size for a French Press is either a Medium Grind or a Medium-Coarse Grind. This looks lesser than chunky granules and feels slightly smoother than a sandy texture.
2. The golden brewing ratio for water and ground coffee is said to be 1:15, i.e. 15 g of coffee per every 225 g of water.
3. Don’t be afraid to mess it up. You’ll only find what suits your taste best when you keep adjusting the ratio.
4. A recommended brewing time is ideally 4 minutes- a golden standard if one could say.
How to brew:
1. Add fresh ground coffee into the glass tumbler.
2. Initially, just pour enough boiled water over the coffee grounds to immerse it in water.
3. Now wait for up to a minute until crema forms on the top layer.
4. After a minute, stir the coffee lightly and add the rest of the water.
5. Now cover the French Press and leave it aside for a minimum of 4 minutes. If you like a stronger brew then you let it brew for longer.
6. After the coffee has brewed, plunge it down to the bottom delicately. Ensure to not press the plunger down hurriedly or heavily to avoid stirring the sediments.
7. Now pour a smooth and delicious coffee into a coffee mug.
A French Press, unlike a pour-over, is a "full immersion brewing equipment." It delivers a full-bodied coffee with oil and consistency in the final output, as well as a sandy mouthfeel. While controlling water temperature, grind size and brew time, it is possible to experience more subtle aromas and flavours of each brew.
A fun fact about the French Press is that it doubles up as a milk frother. In fact, it is popularly used as one too! All you have to do is add boiled milk to the frother and use the plunger in a shoving down-pulling up motion for up to a minute to froth the milk. Now go ahead and use this in your latte!
Different Recipes Using French Press Brewed Coffee
Once you have your brewed coffee, you can have it black or use it in other coffee-based recipes. Some basic recipes you can put together with a French Press coffee are:
The charm of the good old latte is hard to beat. The basis of this recipe is- one part brewed coffee or espresso, two parts steamed milk, and top it off with milk foam for the frothy mouth-feel.
All you have to do for this recipe is froth heated milk using a frother. If you don’t have one, no worries, you can hop onto the Sleepy Owl website and shop our stainless steel, chic Frother. Once you have the brewed coffee and the frothed milk you get down to the assembly bit. Add your hot brewed coffee to the mug, top it with steamed milk, and then scoop out the foam over the leftover frothed milk and add it to your mug. At this point, sugar is optional and depends on your preference. And there you have it, a foamy latte at home.
Cappuccino is probably the first coffee drink everyone learns and orders. Much like the latte, cappuccino is made with brewed coffee, steamed milk and milk foam. This recipe is a little stronger than a café latte since it calls for one part coffee, one part milk, and one part milk foam.
So to get a cappuccino all you need to do is- add hot brewed coffee to the mug, then add steamed milk and layer it with foamed milk. There you have it, your café-like cappuccino.
3. Café au lait
If you have a French Press, your regular drink at home would be a café au lait. All you need for this is brewed coffee and steamed milk, that’s it!
So add your French Press brewed coffee to a mug and top it off with steamed milk. And you have your café au lait at home.