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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

01.15.2001

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the art of using 
a french press 
by Corey S. McFadden |
1 2 3 4 

I always appreciate a great cup of coffee. In fact lately, I've become something of an enthusiast a connoisseur, if you will. The vegetable drawers in my refrigerator are full of little paper bags containing coffee beans of every conceivable flavor and origin everything from African Blue and Jamaican Blue Mountain to Toasted Almond and Toasted Coconut. I've got brewing with the Mr. Coffee programmable 12-cup machine at the office down to a science. Everyone agrees. (Even if its only to butter me up so Ill make them coffee...)

So when I moved into my current apartment, a family member knew I'd be needing something with which to make coffee, and gave me a small, 8-cup drip machine. I dont really know what brand that coffee maker was if there was a brand, it was that same one that packages canned vegetables in plain white wrappers printed with a single word identifying the contents as "CORN" or "PEAS." Anyhow, no surprise: the thing made terrible coffee. (It was weak, and despite the filter, always contained sediment.)

My friend Geoff, whos an even bigger coffee buff than I am, offered to pick up a French press for me. They've got a certain buzz right now. All the coffee joints are selling them and all the purists seem to swear by them. Basically, a French Press consists of a glass beaker to which hot water and ground coffee are added and allowed to steep. Then, a plunger is depressed, filtering out all the grounds and sediment. According to some, they make the best coffee. So, when he dropped it off I couldn't wait to try it out.

Boy, did it suck. After spending twenty minutes cleaning the press, boiling the water, and reading the instructions, I brewed one of my favorite flavored coffees: Toasted Macaroon. To my dismay, it tasted exactly like the swill produced by the no-named 8-cup wonder. I tried again and again without success using spring water, more water, less water, fine-ground beans, coarse-ground beans, and every other potential variation I could think of until eventually, I just gave up on the whole thing.

About a week went by before I was able to warm myself up to the idea of giving it another try. This time, I decided to hit the Internet and see if others might have some brewing wisdom to share. I wasnt disappointed -- ten minutes later, Id reviewed five different techniques and was ready to give it another go.

keep walking, there's more! 

 

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