Sunday, January 22, 2006

Cool Kitchen Gadgetry: French Press

I have been too sick to cook lately, but all this talk about the clay pot cooker got me thinking that I should post about some of the kitchen gadgetry that I just adore.

I won't start with the clay pot cooker, even though I am still pretty excited about it. I'm going to instead start with another gadget that I am pretty excited about: my French press.

I learned about French presses while I was in Scotland. I was getting breakfast one morning at the palace (the Scottish palace that our school leased for having classes overseas) and one of my professors was making his own coffee in a funny little contraption. I asked him about it, because I like really good coffee. He told me that the French press is the only way to go if you like really good coffee.

I was going to buy one while I was over there, but they were glass and I was not bringing any glass back in my bags.

It did not take me long to find one here though. One of my new favorite stores is the World Market from Costco. It ROCKS!! Way better than Pier One. It actually has things that you would use everyday at very good prices. My husband was all for trying anything that would make a really good cup of coffee so he put it in our basket. $25 for this one.

As soon as we got home we started heating some water and grinding some coffee beans.

The top is attached to the strainer thing, so that when you pull on the top knob, it pulls the strainer up. You have to pull the whole strainer out and put the ground bean in the bottom.

You want the beans ground coarse so as to not clog up the strainer, but we have used pre-ground coffee with this. When using the pre-ground coffee, you just need to be extra careful when pushing the strainer back down so pressure won't build up and break the glass.

I use about a 1/3 cup of grounds.

Use boiling water. The hotter the water, the better tasting the coffee will be. Also, using good tasting water dramatically affects the taste of the coffee. I use the water from our Britta filter pitcher.

Stir before putting the strainer back in the decanter. Push the strainer down slowly. If it gets hung up, pull up a little, then continue pushing down. The finer the grind, the harder this part can be - but it is easy to get the hang of it.

Serve the coffee immediately.

The one that we got only makes about two mugs of coffee at a time, but that is fine, because then each mug is fresh, and we usually only want a cup or two of coffee at a time.

We liked the way that it made coffee so much that we gave away our electric coffee pot. I think this press looks way better sitting on the counter. Don't you?

(BTW: That's SSB's hand modeling this fine kitchen gadget for us)


Blogger Garden Obsession said...

I've always wanted to try one of those, but I foo-foo up my coffee so much, it hardly matters. Got a Flavia instead, which is probably questionable quality wise, but it makes me a decent sumatra mocha in about 1 minute, and that makes me happy. But I applaud you for going old skool with your coffee!

1/24/2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Garden Obsession, I usually doctor up my coffee too, but that's because the coffee usually isn't that good. I still use creamer and sugar in my coffee when I use the press, but I find that I use a lot less. Plus, add a little chocolate syrup and you've got yourself a rocking mocha!
A little whip cream and you are in heaven.

1/24/2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger Garden Obsession said...

Oh no, I can't turn my back on my Flavia now. I've named her! Earlina. Beautiful, Sumatra-giving Earlina.

Nope, I must remain loyal.

1/24/2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

I agree about the water. The water here in NJ is TERRIBLE! It's so bad that it actually destroys coffee makers. I buy spring water to make my coffee with. Tastes better and my coffee makers last longer.

1/26/2006 5:24 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Garden Obsession, I wouldn't want to suggest breaking you two up ;)

OldRoses, I have been serioulsy thinking about putting in a house filter or water softener since our water is so hard. I just replaced the faucets in the kitchen and bath less than a year ago and they are already caked with mineral deposits!

1/26/2006 10:35 PM  
Blogger sideshow bob said...

My pinky looks funny:(

2/06/2006 2:59 PM  

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