F is for French Press

My favorite coffee is made with a FRENCH PRESS. It takes a little longer to make coffee this way and there is a bit of mess to clean up afterwards but, in my opinion, the effort is worth it. If you have seen these coffee gadgets and have always wondered how they work I am about to give you a brief tutorial which is bound to make you tea drinkers run and grab your favorite tea bag shaking your head in dismay.

Each French Press comes equipped with a plunger-filter unit inside it. The plunger is removed and the French Press is warmed with water as you grind dark roasted oily beans to a coarse grind. Finely ground coffee will clog the filter.

The coffee is then placed in the bottom of the French Press and the warming water is discarded.. Hot water, not boiling, is added to the pot leaving a minimum of one inch at the top. The coffee and water is stirred gently before placing the plunger unit back on top of the pot.

The lid spout opening is closed and the coffee is allowed to brew for at least four minutes. Do NOT press down at this point.

The pot handle is held firmly with the spout turned away from you. Using the weight of your hand, slight pressure is applie on top of the knob and the plunger is lowered straight down into the pot. Lowering the plunger slowly with minimal pressure produces the best results. Do not use excessive force, which can cause scalding liquid to shoot out of the pot or cause the pot to fall over spilling coffee all over the place!

The lid is turned to the strainer position and the coffee is poured. Yummy! French Press coffee lacks the 'burned' taste that you so often get when using a traditional coffee maker.

The downside, as I mentioned earlier, is that you do have coffee grounds to deal with in the pot. They have to be scooped out with a spoon and discarded. BTW, does anyone know if you can put coffee grounds down a septic system?

So, this is the French way to make coffee. Or, at least one French way. When I was in college one of my roomates was a Cajun girl from the deep Cajun country of southern Louisiana. Cajuns, as you most likely have heard, are descendents from the French Arcadians and are steeped in French tradition and language. My roomate made coffee in a similar way without the nifty French press filter that we have now. She used a plain old strainer. This, of course, was back in the days when folks used a percolator to make coffee, shortly before Mr. Coffee came along. And, the coffee we used was chicory coffee which had a unique flavor of its own.

This is my "F" entry for the ABC Along. And, if you are wondering what happened to my "D" and "E" entries I now confess I spaced them out and forgot to post them. "Forgetfulness" would have been another "F" entry I could have made. This attribute is something those of us who grew up in the percolator generation can identify with these days :-)