"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2002 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
351/20/00 - To round out my collection of brewing devices I decided to get a French Press coffee maker. If you are unfamiliar with this method of coffee making I suggest you acquaint yourself with it immediately. Basically, there is a glass cylinder open at one end. Into this you put the appropriate amount of coarse-ground coffee. I set the Rocky at about 50 which worked out perfectly. Pour in the correct amount of just-below-boiling water (the ratio is one tablespoon of grounds for each four ounces of water) then the lid with the attached strainer goes onto the pot. The strainer has a spring around its circumference to keep it tightly sealed against the sides of the vessel. You allow this to steep for four minutes then gently press the plunger downward. If you have to press hard then you ground the coffee too fine or your grinder creates too much coffee dust. The plunger pushes the strainer to the bottom of the pot, straining out all the grounds and leaving a wonderfully delicious and rich pot of coffee. The strainer is a fine-mesh metal screen so there are no paper filters to replace or to taint the taste of the coffee. The process . The process is a good one because it is fairly fast and quite easy, taking only the time it takes to boil the water then four additional minutes to steep, the coffee is never boiled, the grounds all get brewed exactly the same amount of time, and the grounds are totally exposed to the water for an extended length of time as opposed to a drip machine where the water gets one trip through the grounds and that's it. The negatives are minimal- some amount of fine grounds end up in the cup and there is a bit of a clean-up to deal with in cleaning out the pot and the strainer.
Our First French Press Coffee Arrives
1/25/01 - The entire day was an adventure. It started snowing about 11:00 or so, and by noon it was getting fairly white around here. Mom called about 2:15 to say she had spun out coming up the highway with no damage except to her nerves. She managed to get her car up to the local store and called from the pay phone. So we loaded into our big, nasty, noisy 4WD pickup, loaded up our chains and a couple of shovels just in case, and picked her up and took her home. Just as well because on the way out we were able to stop by the local post office satellite station and pick up our new Bodum French press. So this evening, as we relaxed in front of the television, we enjoyed a cup of press pot coffee. I used Donkey decaf blend from Sweet Maria's as neither of us can tolerate much caffeine before bed time, and even this was very delicious made in this manner. The coffee lacked all hint of bitterness from a medium roast (very early second crack) and had a finish that was sweet and rich with a hint of the way chocolate finishes. It is comparable in smoothness and rich taste to the vacuum pot coffee but didn't quite have the same 'thick' feeling on the palate- could have just been my palate this evening. I drank mine black with no sugar and it was delicious right to the next-to-last drop. There are some fine grounds that end up in the glass with this method so leave the last sip for the cup to enjoy.
Press pots are an excellent and affordable way to enjoy a rich cup of coffee on the road or at work where an espresso machine is unavailable or where a vacuum pot would be a hassle. In times of 'desperation' you could even pre-grind the coffee, place it in the glass chamber and take the assembly to work or wherever. When there, just pour in the correct amount of heated water and your coffee will be ready shortly thereafter. You could even pour out the remaining water and clean up at home if there isn't a handy facility for that.
So now we have a couple of older aluminum percolators which will never get used in this house, a Braun drip machine (which will probably never see use again around here), a French press, a vac pot, and Rocky and Silvia. The collection grows.