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Patented by Attilio Calimani in 1929, the French press is a simple coffee brewing method with a unique and evolving history. A French press is also known globally as a press pot, coffee plunger, or coffee press.
The first French press, which historians believe may have originated in France, was a rudimentary version of today’s model. The French press boasts a rod with a metal or cheesecloth screen. The rod was then pushed down into a pot containing boiling water. After modifications and subsequent patent by Italian inventor Attilio Calimani, the French press continued to undergo numerous design changes. Faliero Bondanini patented his own French press in 1958. Bondanini began manufacturing the coffeemaker, and its popularity started to spread. The Danish kitchenware company Bodum distributed the product across Europe, aiding in its growth.
The modern French press used today varies from its original form, and through its numerous design modifications has become more sophisticated. Today, French presses boast a cylindrical beaker, which is typically made of glass or plastic. The coffeemaker has a lid and a plunger. The plunger is designed to fit tightly in the beaker, and is commonly made from plastic or metal. The plunger also has a wire or a nylon filter. The device is simple, which has resulted in more artistic designs intended for after dinner, aesthetic appeal and use.
The French press requires coffee preparation before use. For instance, the coffee grounds should be manually ground, although they should be relatively thick. Coffee ground for drip coffeemakers are too fine for French presses. Fine coffee grounds will slip through the French press’s filter and into the coffee. To brew coffee using a French press, coffee and water are introduced into the beaker together. The mixture is then stirred and left to brew for several minutes. Finally, one presses the plunger, which leaves the coffee grounds at the bottom of the beaker.
Similar to drip coffee brewers, the strength of French press coffee can be adjusted and is dependent on the amount of coffee grounds used during brewing. Using the French press method can result in bitter-tasting coffee if the used coffee grounds remain in the brew. However, some people actually prefer this bitter taste, and view the effect as one of the advantages of the French press method. Despite this, French pressed coffee left to sit can spoil in as little as 20 minutes. Brewing methods differ, and some French press aficionados actually utilize a brew period of numerous hours to create a superior beverage.
Compared to other coffee brewers, French presses are more compact and easily portable due to their small design. Different design variations of the French press exist, such as the travel mug. In this design, the cylinder beaker is made of plastic instead of glass, and the model boasts a closeable drinking lid. Such variations are targeted to bikers, hikers, and other outdoorspeople who prefer the compact design over heavy percolators. Similar to thermoses, other variations of the modern French press include insulated presses that keep the coffee fresh.
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