French Press

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A French Press
A French Press

A French press, also known as a press pot or cafetière, is a French coffee- or tea-brewing device. Its operation is simple and it produces a stronger coffee than other devices.

A French press consists of a narrow cylindrical jug usually made of glass or clear plastic, equipped with a lid and a "plunger" which fits tightly in the cylinder and which has a fine wire or nylon mesh acting as a filter. Coffee is brewed by placing the coffee and water together, leaving to brew for a few minutes, then depressing the plunger to separate the coffee at the bottom of the jug.

The French press goes by various names around the world. In Australia and Ireland the whole apparatus is known as a plunger and coffee brewed in it is known as plunger coffee. Its French name is cafetière à piston or a melior (from an old brand of makers of coffee pots of this type). In the UK the device is known as a cafetière (the French word for "coffee pot"), perhaps from the La Cafetière brand name.

Because the coffee grounds are in direct contact with the brewing water, coffee brewed with the French press captures more of the coffee's flavour and essential oils, which often become trapped in a traditional drip brew machine's paper filters. It is usually stronger and thicker and has more sediment than drip-brewed coffee. Because the used grounds remain in the drink after brewing, French pressed coffee should be served immediately so as to not become bitter from over-extraction.

Coffee for use in a French press should be of a consistent, coarse grind. The use of a burr mill grinder gives a more consistent grind than the whirling blade variety. The ground coffee should be more coarse than that used for a drip brew coffee filter, and far coarser than that used for espresso. A French press can also be used in place of a tea infuser to brew loose tea.

A French press is also more portable and self contained than other coffee makers. Travel mug versions also exist made of tough plastic instead of the more common glass, and have a sealed lid with a closable drinking hole. Some versions are marketed to hikers and backpackers not wishing to carry a heavy metal percolator or a filter using drip brew.

Studies have found that drinking large amounts of coffee by the French Press method increases LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, while filtered, percolated, and drip coffee does not .

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