The diversity in coffee making: The press pot

The second part of this article on the diversity in coffee making discusses the popular press pot, also known as the French press or cafetière. Having become a real classic, it is easy and quick to use and available in different sizes as well.

As described in the first part, there are just about infinite methods when it comes to making coffee – ranging from traditional to trendy, from simple to sophisticated; there are manual and mechanical methods, but also country-specific variants of the preparation of coffee. The basic principle of all these methods, however, is always the same: hot water is poured over ground beans in order to turn the coffee powder into an aromatic beverage. There are two main types of coffee making: with and without pressure. The result is not just a matter of taste, because the chosen coffee should always be in harmony with its preparation. Preparation without pressure means that the brewing process occurs without any artificially generated water pressure. This includes brewing in the cup, Turkish moka, the filter methods, such as hand filters, ceramic filters, paper filters, with or without a machine, filtering into the vacuum flask, the Neapolitan coffee maker or flip coffee pot as well as various special types of filtering. For preparation with pressure the hot water is pressed through the ground coffee with additional pressure. This preparation method includes the use of steam pressure pots, such as the percolator, the glass piston coffee machine, the espresso or moka pot, special types of the moka pot, press pots, portafilter machines, semiautomatic machines, lever machines, fully automatic machines with piston technology, pod or capsule machines, vending machines and other special types.

The press pot: The extremely popular press pot boasts numerous advantages: Even smaller quantities are easy to prepare. The taste of coffee made with this method is characterised by a full body, high intensity and intensive flavour. The flavour can be adapted to personal tastes by changing the parameters of steeping time, grind size, temperature and coffee quantity.

For the ideal flavour it is recommended that some guidelines be followed:

1-2 | Preheating of the French press pot with hot water (90 to 94°C) to reduce heat loss. The water poured to heat the pot is discarded afterwards. The desired quantity of the ground coffee powder should be put into the pot, and 50 to 100 ml of water should be poured over it followed by slow stirring; only after brief soaking should the remaining water be added and stirred into the coffee as well. For press pots medium to coarse grind sizes are recommended. Since there is no filter, the water takes longer to penetrate the ground coffee.
3 | The lid is put onto the pot, the plunger is pressed down slightly to hold the coffee powder under the water; then the coffee is left to rest briefly to leave the coffee powder settle.
4 | After approx. 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the desired strength, the metal rod or plunger is slowly pressed towards the bottom of the pot; this separates the powder from the finished coffee.
5 | The coffee can be served right out of the cafetière. After that the mesh filter must be cleaned thoroughly.

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