Guest Post || Italian coffee culture by Emma..

The history of the appearance of the French press

In 1852, the French inventors Mayer and Delforge presented an interesting novelty to the public: a cylindrical vessel with a press designed for brewing coffee. But the adaptation was not successful: due to the imperfection of the press, too much coffee grounds slipped into the cup.

It wasn’t until 1928 that Italian designers Atilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta patented an improved French press. In the new model, not just a metal plate was attached to the piston, but a filter mesh, which made it possible to carefully separate the liquid from the thick. In the following decades, the design of the fixture was improved by attaching a safe handle and a stable base to protect the tabletop from heat.

The real popularity came to the manual coffee maker in 1958, when its design was finalized by Faliero Bondanini, and two European companies were engaged in production at once: the French – Martin S.A. (Chambord brand) and English – Household Articles (La Cafetiere brand). The original owner of Household Articles, L.J. de Ville-Castel, was one of the investors in Martin S.A., but in the 90s of the XX century, the French company was bought out by the Danish holding Bodum.

How Italians choose the French Press

flask material: glass, stainless steel, ceramics. Heat-resistant glass flasks are most often found, but they are fragile, and cheap models are sensitive to sudden changes in temperature. Therefore, it is good if the kit includes a spare glass container. The vessels made of stainless steel and ceramics are stronger, but the color of the drink is not visible when brewing. It is believed that the most delicious coffee is obtained in French presses with ceramic flasks;

1. Double-walled flasks retain heat better, which is very important for correct coffee extraction;

2. The stainless steel filter is designed for medium and coarse coffee. Fine powder can be brewed with a nylon filter;

3. The handle of the french press must not heat up. Polymer coated handles are preferred. Sometimes on sale there are teapots with bamboo handles;

4. The base of the French press must be stable.

How coffee is made at the French Press in Italy

A classic French press is a cylindrical container made of heat-resistant glass (less often – made of stainless steel or ceramics) with a lid, where a piston (plunger) with a filter is inserted. It would seem that everything is simple. Ground coffee needs to be poured into a vessel, closed, lower the press – and an invigorating drink is ready. But the taste of coffee brewed in a French press depends on many little things: the type of beans, the method of roasting, grinding, water quality, brewing time.

Choosing coffee for a French press

The coffee made from a blend of Arabica and Robusta, prepared in a French press, is too bitter. But even bitterness lovers are not recommended to use blends that contain more than 10% robusta. The best coffee for  French press which you can find at MyFriendsCoffee is made up 100% Arabica, and experienced baristas prefer single varieties, although mixtures are also acceptable. Delicious coffee is made from medium roasted beans: Vienna, Full City. If you like sourness, then you can use coffee and a lighter roast.

Burr coffee grinders grind beans much more evenly than knife grinders. If you have a choice, then it is better to grind coffee for brewing in a French press on a grinder.

In stores, ready-made ground coffee is sold, but the drink from the beans, ground immediately before preparation, turns out to be more aromatic. At home, ground coffee is stored in hermetically sealed vessels for no longer than 2 weeks

Selecting water for coffee

Tap water, even boiled water, is not suitable for brewing coffee in a French press. In extreme cases, such water can be purified using an aquafilter or ozonizer. But bottled water with a mineralization index of 150 mg / l (or at least in the range of 70-200 mg / l) is much more preferable.

Step-by-step recipe for preparing iconic coffee in the French press

1. Before brewing coffee in a French press, rinse the flask of the French press with hot water at a temperature of about + 70 ° C (it can be slightly lower or higher, but in no case with boiling water).

2. Put in a flask 7-9 g of ground coffee per 100 ml of water. In one teaspoon without a slide, about 3 g of crushed beans is placed, with a slide – up to 5 g. If you need to prepare a full container of the drink, it is easier to focus on the handle of the French press: pour coffee powder exactly to the level where its lower part is attached …

3. Pour some room temperature water into a flask (just to moisten the ground coffee) and stir.

4. After 15–20 seconds, add hot water with a temperature of +85 to +9 to the flask 2 ° C. The water level should not be higher than the top edge of the handle. Under no circumstances should you brew coffee with boiling water! If the vessel is glass, then before pouring hot water, put a metal spoon in it: even heat-resistant glass does not always withstand temperature drops

5. Stir coffee and cover. Do not lower the piston. The filter should be 1 cm above the water level.

6. The brewing time is 4-7 minutes. After 4–5 minutes, a moderately strong, aromatic coffee with a noticeable acidity is obtained. If you want to get a stronger drink, it is allowed to extend the brewing for a few minutes. But starting from the 4th minute of brewing, the bitterness of coffee increases significantly, the concentration of not only caffeine, but also harmful substances increases in it.

7. Slowly lower the plunger and immediately pour the brewed coffee into the cups, it cannot be left in the flask. Add sugar to taste.

8. After making coffee, the French press should be washed as soon as possible: no matter whether in the dishwasher or under the tap. If there is no time to wash the dishes, then you need to at least leave the flask open: let the coffee grounds dry better than the vessel and filter acquire a musty smell, which is difficult to get rid of !!

Disclaimer: *Contents of this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

**Photos from the guest Author / Google

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