As with much of the history of coffee, there is some controversy about who brought about the French Press and when the French Press really came about. There is an argument between the French and the Italians as to who first created the French Press. The story of the first French Press goes like this. In the 1850’s a Frenchmen was on his daily walk and needed some coffee. He prepared a pot of coffee over an open fire use a piece of fabric and a stick to push the grounds to the bottom. The Frenchmen thought the coffee was going to be gross, but instead, it turned out to be the best cup of coffee either of the men had drunk. So really, the first French Press was a happy accident.
The first patent for the French Press came in 1852 by Frenchmen Mayer and Delforge. Although this was the first patent, there is little resemblance between the original patent and the French Press we use today. The first register patent (that bears a resemblance to the one we use today) is from Italy and date by to 1928. They were created by Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta.
The French Press has a well-recognized design that features a glass or metal beaker to put the coffee grounds and water in, a metal or plastic lid, and a plunger with multiple components to it. While the general shape and design of the French Press has stayed the same, there has been some evolution. One such development includes switching from class beakers to metal beakers.
Now for some tips for the perfect French Press:
Having a coarse ground coffee works best and makes for the cleanest, least gritty cup of coffee. If the grounds are too small, some of the grounds will get through the filters, and your coffee will leave behind a residue and will be somewhat gritty. Next, make sure you have the proper ratio of grounds to water. A good starting place is to have 15 grams of coffee and 225 grams of water. As far as water temperature goes, it varies depending on the person drinking the coffee, but you at least need to bring the water to a boil. After the water boils you want to pour a little water into the french press to wet the grounds. The ideal ratio is double the grams of coffee for water. So if you have 15 grams of coffee put in 30 grams of water. Then stir, pour the rest of the water in, put the lid on and wait 3-5 minutes before pushing the plunger down.
As with any coffee brewing method, there is going to be a lot of trial and error that goes into making the perfect cup. Play around until you find the ideal ratio for your favorite cup of coffee. Have fun and enjoy the process. Our favorite beans to use in the French Press right now are Guatemala Antigua.
Let us know if you try some and what your favorites are!