Archive for the ‘Preparing coffee’ Tag

THE FRENCH PRESS FOR GREAT COFFEE

My press pot with hot water & coffee ready to plunge.

My family and friends have often heard me proclaim that coffee is my “drug of choice.”  It ‘s true.  I feel so very lucky in that regard.  To my knowledge, no one has ever been pulled over and charged for driving under the influence of coffee!

Last Autumn I had a delightful experience in a terrific restaurant in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. My wife and I were “double-dating” with friends who had  recommended the place.  Though the food was wonderful and I highly recommend the spot, it was the coffee that I’ll definitely not forget. This is because I had never had coffee prepared in a French press. Not only that, I had never heard of the device. I guess it’s fair to say that in-so-far as varied dining is concerned – this 70 (and a half)-year-old man hasn’t really gotten out and about much.

So, it was coffee from a French press along with the company of our friends that were my memorable experiences at the Knife and Fork on the “lower street” in downtown Spruce Pine. The waitress instructed me skillfully on how to use it and offered her advice for a “first-timer.” The French press is known by many names, including: press pot, coffee press, coffee plunger and сafetière à piston. They come in many sizes. An on-line search using the term, “French press,” will score many “hits.”  A You Tube search will show you probably more examples than you’d care to endure on how to use a French press.  I do not go to great pains like thermometers and grinders as shown in some of those You Tube demonstrations.  I use the K.I.S.S. guideline (keep it simple, stupid).  I don’t find that gourmet coffee is necessary and I don’t make a big performance out of the process.  I often use store-bought ground decaf coffee.

Therefore, it should be clear that I am not a coffee connoisseur. In fact, I am about as far-removed from that category as one can be. But I am a daily coffee drinker. Though I don’t prefer it – I even enjoy instant coffee. I regularly go so far as to drink “left-over” coffee brewed the previous day. I’ll store it in the refrigerator overnight and heat it in the microwave in the morning. I suspect this is simply because I deplore waste. I realize that this admission ruins any credibility I might have when it comes to making recommendations about coffee.  I do enjoy Cuban coffee – that’s a whole different dimension.  I like “cowboy coffee” too and recommend that you try it also, if for no other reason – just for fun. http://www.ineedcoffee.com/04/cowboycoffee/ But the bottom line is this:  The best coffee I’ve ever had, at home and away from home, has been brewed in a French press. I won’t bother to try to offer advice on how to prepare French press coffee because there are too many variables – e.g.  your personality, the size of your press, your preferences regarding strength.

Mine (pictured at the beginning of this entry in front of the old coffee grinder) makes about a cup and a half of coffee and it’s just right for me. It was a gift from my youngest daughter, Lauren; she had heard me rave about the coffee I experienced at the Knife and Fork. It was a wonderful gift and I suggest that you consider one for yourself if you drink coffee.  Even if you don’t – it’s a wonderful way to serve coffee to guests.  Multi-cup French presses are available and easy to use.  To be sure it is a unique gift idea for any coffee drinker and bound to be most appreciated.  While you’re at it – if you happen to be anywhere near Spruce Pine – give the Knife and Fork a try.  I think you’ll be delighted.