Detonate your way to the perfect cup of coffee...
USING A CAFETIERE
A Cafeteire or French Press is a plunger based cup, jar or kettle sized kitchen utensil designed to produce coffee or other hot drinks in small quantities - usually a single cup. Some confusion of terminology may abound as a Cafetiere may be known by a generic brand name for example in France the name Melior is synonymous with their version of the French Press. Whatever the name there is always an element of fun surrounding coffee making in what a Cafetiere, the plunder and piston always reminds me of a detonation box.
Over the years I have always drank instant coffee but found that, due to the emergence of high street chains such as Costa Coffee, Starbucks and McDonalds coffee that the expectations of my tastebuds have been raised over the years. I've found that, despite the convenience of instant coffee (which itself can be variable in quality from good downwards) just doesn't cut it for me any more. I long for the taste and aroma of fresh roast, but how to enter the world of freshly brewed coffee without the expense and hard work of grinders, percolators, coffee makers etc. The Cafetiere is the perfect and inexpensive way to make small quantities of fresh ground coffee at home cheaply and conveniently at any time of day.
The French Press to give it its more descriptive name takes the form of a cylindrical vessel (usually glass such as Pyrex which will not crack when in contact with boiling water), a stand or base - often detachable, and an integrated lid and plunger. The plunger incorporates a fine, multi use filter, usually stainless steel of other material in a mesh. Initially placed on the Cafetier in the raised position the plunger is depressed slowly at the right moment to separate the mixture of hot water (most recommend that just below boiling water is best)and coffee grounds into two phases the hot mashed coffee grounds at the bottom and the freshly brewed coffee infusion at the top. A lip in the rim of the French Press then allow the coffee to be poured straight into a cup.
Ready ground coffee can be purchased by the bag at most supermarkets, delicatessens or other gourmet outlets, but remember your Cafetiere requires a coarser grind than some off the shelf filter coffee due to the larger size of the mesh in the filter. When one gets more adventurous you can even coffee beans (Aribica, Robusta maybe blends) and roast and grind them yourself.
There are many benefits from using a Cafetiere the primary one being that you are making and drinking better coffee! Nothing quite beats the aroma of freshly brewed coffee around the home and the taste will as good as if not better the commercially bought coffee from the best on the high street.
Making coffee this way is also more environmentally friendly (you can choose to use Fairtrade of other ethically sourced beans and grounds) and need to use just enough energy to make a single cup - no waste!
The Cafetiere is also a very flexible little friend too, it's just at home making a fresh brew using leaf tea (do you know what's inside your tea bags?) Chinese green teas - with their powerful antioxidant benefits - can be made in a Cafetiere, you can experiment with various blends, add lemon and line. The fun is in experminations. You can also make infusions of other plants and herbs such as Camomile - great for shredded nerves.
CHOOSING A CAFETIERE
As in other things size is important, ask yourself how much or how many cups you may need to make at a time. Pick a Cafetiere that will fit in with your family’s needs remember that you do not have to fill it every time you can always brew several cups and drink them later though leaving freshly brewed coffee on top of the grounds for more than about 15 minutes can produce bitterness.
Will you want to heat or reheat your drink in a microwave oven? If so choose a Cafetiere without any metallic components, models are available with stands and other components (though probably not the plunger) made from heat resistant plastics
Its a fact that strong coffee does stain using teeth sterilising tablet to clean your French press can prevent the build up of discolouration and marking. Most Cafetieres can be cleaned in the dishwasher, special attention must be paid to the cleanability of the filter and plunger mechanism as this is where used grounds will accumulate.
Chosen wisely a good sized Cafetiere from a reputable manufacturer should give year of use, Bon Apetit!