Brew Method: Appreciating a Simple French Press


Sometimes I forget how far I’ve grown in my relationship with coffee over the years and I often catch myself speaking to someone as if  it’s standard to grind and brew fresh roasted coffee at home. Well it’s far from standard, and I often come off sounding like a giant nerd or a pretentious jerk—neither of which are the intention. Those of us who love great coffee get very passionate about it and just want to save our family and friends from drinking anything less—to share with them the joys of truly great coffee.

Recently, I was sent a blog post that reminded me to appreciate the simplicity of the French press. While this is no longer my preferred way to brew coffee, it’s a gateway drug to coffee appreciation that shouldn’t be underestimated. I was given a vintage Chambord French press, as a house warming gift from a good friend, which introduced me to home brewing years ago. Prior to that, I was spoiled by my proximity to Intelligentsia’s Broadway café in Chicago—where I spent a lot of money on coffee, but it was always good. Even as a barista 8 years ago, the batch-brewed beverages I made, never compared to what was now possible at home, made simply with a French press.

So if you’re reading this and have yet to decide how to begin brewing great coffee at home, don’t overlook a French press. Even with all the recent talk of pour-overs and fancy Hario equipment, the French press requires no special technique, fancy kettles or paper filters. Just fresh coffee, a decent burr grinder, hot water and 4 minutes of patience.

This beautiful video and the photos above are from the original Sprouted Kitchen post that reminded me how intimidating the coffee world can be to beginners who just want to brew better coffee at home. There’s a lot of information that can quickly overwhelm consumers and most of it is unnecessary. Start simple and go from there.

Shop for French Press

Music by Forest Creatures

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  • Reply chermelle 06/08/2011 at 11:38 am

    Oh I love this, so simple.clean and true. The footage is charming.

  • Reply Carrie A Groff 06/08/2011 at 11:39 am

    I love French Press Coffee! Tastes so good! Thanks for sharing this video! I will share with my facebook fans!

  • Reply Lisa Webb 06/08/2011 at 1:13 pm

    I am a proud to be self proclaimed coffee nerd..I love fresh dark roast, home ground, french press coffee.
    But 3 days a week I have to do this crazy thing called “work” (12 hour shifts). No problem you say. I have not been able to find a decent coffee house within a reasonable distance from the hospital. I’ve been looking for two years.
    I tried taking coffee in a Large thermos…worked ok but 12 hours is a loooong time for dark roast to sit.
    I work in cardiac specialties. My coworkers are mostly anti caffeine. (i know, Right)
    About 6 months ago I finally broke down and bought a french press, a grinder and containers for the beans and took over a cupboard in the break room. Desperate times and all that.
    Funny thing though. All those people who were never interested in coffee started showing up in the break room about 3 minutes into the steeping process.
    Your comment about the french press being a gateway drug to good coffee struck me as totally correct. Cardiologist, surgeons, imaging specialists etc…will stop me in the hall and ask when the next batch is being “brewed”.
    Just had to share.
    Heres your french press. Welcome to the dark side. :)

  • Reply Christopher 06/08/2011 at 4:47 pm

    The French Press and I are tight. I no longer have any other coffee maker in my home other than my Bodum, and have no desire to have any other either. Some people may think they are too fancy, or for a coffee elitist, but I just see them as something that someone who truly loves coffee should have. You can even make Folger’s taste good in one! (But I don’t recommend it.)

  • Reply Billy.411 06/09/2011 at 12:07 am

    I have to say that I really love my french press too… The whole process from start to finish is so hands on – it’s a very romantic experience!

    Too many people nowadays just want a quick, no fuss, no mess coffee – and thus opt for a coffee pod style machine. And fair enough, they have their place… but to have the time to stop and grind your own beans, and go through the steps of the ‘French Press Experience’… It’ll add so much more to your coffee break!

  • Reply Stephanie 06/11/2011 at 6:48 pm

    Ahhhh – the joy and simplicity of a French press. I love how it captures the essence of the bean, and leaves a fuller tasting coffee. I did not enjoy drinking coffee black until I had it in a French press; it was love at first taste.


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