Photo by bloodstone/iStockphoto
Nearly all the coffee I brew for myself is press pot or espresso. I love my espresso machine, of which you will certainly hear much more in the future, but an espresso or a caffé macchiato just doesn't last long enough for the first awakening of my taste buds in the morning. I no longer enjoy the steamed-milk and espresso cappuccino, and I never liked the extreme dilution of a caffé latte.
Thus, in the morning I use the press pot (also known as the plunger pot or French Press), which can make a mug or two, or four, according to the situation and mood.
The moment I first became enamored with press pot coffee was nearly concurrent with my entry into the profession. [Curator's note: the press pot also shows darker roasts to their best advantage, as Peet's coffee has always demonstrated.] Because the metal screen is more porous than a paper filter, it allows the coffee oils and sediment, and the entire coffee flavor, to be present in the cup, and because the filter is metal rather than paper, it doesn't impart any other flavors (if you keep it clean), as paper filters inevitably do.
The classic press pot is elegantly simple: a glass or metal cylinder, a metal screen filter, and the lid. One should preheat the glass with hot water from the kettle, or at least hot tap water. Measure the coffee grounds (two tablespoons for each six fluid ounces of water), then pour in the hot water--about a third of the pot at first.
Photo by Jerry Baldwin
Fresh coffee will bloom with bubbles of gas. I pick up the pot and swirl it to get the grounds thoroughly saturated with water, but one could also stir. When the gas has dissipated or three minutes has elapsed, I pour in the rest of the water, swirl or stir, then insert the metal filter apparatus, and plunge. The screen separates the grounds, and I pour into a preheated mug after a brewing time of about three and a half minutes.