when I'm not too lazy, I love using a French press.. which is especially awesome when you're out camping and can make that steaming brew from freshly ground beans and a pot of water boiled from off an open fire. divine!
I know cafetierre is supposed to be the best as it doesn't remove the oils from the coffee, but there's always a special place in my heart for my paper-filter coffee machine as it has an auto timer so I can set it to go off in the morning automatically, making it much easier to get out of bed. Also in my studio is a Bialetti espresso maker, just like a stove-top but with an electric base as there's no stove, and I just like to make Americanos with that and the kettle...
My wife and I had a French Press that we loved, but it broke. I had an old Krups coffee maker that I'd used before we got the French Press, and in all honesty it makes as good a cup as the French Press did. Also, in my attempts to be "green" I realized that it probably takes a lot less energy to heat up coffee and brew it in a coffee maker than to boil the water on a stove (where you have a lot more energy loss). We bought a reusable filter for it and the coffee is great! So we save money and get great coffee.
Hi Michael, a couple thoughts on French press pots and grinders:
You don't have to get terribly fancy on the press pot - as long as it has a fine mesh screen to strain the ground coffee, you should be fine. Additional niceties, if you wanted to splurge, would include an extra mesh screen up at the spout to catch any last remaining grounds, and maybe double-wall glass to help insulate the heat of the coffee if you plan on letting it sit for a while. The double-wall will run about $100. But you can get a very good, standard press pot for like $30 or $40.
Re. grinders, sounds like you have a blade grinder (a single blade running at the bottom of the bean container - like a mini food processor). These aren't great - they create two relatively important problems in grinding coffee:
1) blade grinders produce a very uneven grind. Some gounds are large, some are small. This produces a bitter taste in the coffee
2) blade grinders produce a lot of heat, which can negatively affect the flavor of the beans
If you also use a drip machine, or an espresso maker, you may want to look into conical burr grinders. These allow you adjust the coarseness of the grind, so you can have a very coarse grind for the French Press and a medium grind for the drip machine (and fine grind for espresso). If you're not grinding for espresso, you could probably get away with a $60-$80 burr grinder. If you're grinding for espresso, then I'd start in the $200 range and do a fair amount of research.
My two cents, for what they're worth.
Michael Kline said:
I am interested in buying a French press. What should I look for? Any accessories I may need? I do have a bean grinder but it is not adjustable. Any advice is appreciated!
I think any of those would work for a secondary/non-espresso grinder. Or look into a Hario Skerton hand grinder. Mark Prince (coffeegeek.com) and a bunch of rockstar baristas are big fans of it, and it can choke a La M GS/3, so it's good for espresso too.
I really like my Aerobie Aeropress. It works as advertised in my opinion.
1) Very easy to use.
2) Its fast. It brews the coffie in about 20 seconds plus the time it takes to bring the water to 160-180 deg. F
2) Easy to clean, just rinse it off.
3) If the coffee is made according to their instructions, it really does bring out all the flavor of the coffee without any bitterness.
4) Its versatile too, you can make anything between one to four espressos or American cups at a time.
5) It only costs$25-$30 and $4 for a years worth of filters. I reuse the filters with great results so that year's worth of filters is going to last 4-5 times longer.
Its only shortcoming is the 4 cup capacity limit at a time, so its not for entertaining large groups, which hasn't been an issue for me yet.
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