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The French Press Conundrum

Written by Kevin Koperski

I enjoy coffee. I’m no connoisseur, no taste perfectionist, no seeker of the perfect bean, but I enjoy a cup every morning, with just a hint of sweetener. I’ll usually have another cup later in the day or perhaps a mocha or latte in the evening at the bookstore (I’m trying to cut down on the latter for obvious caloric reasons).

My particular quandary as it pertains to coffee, and where I’ve always struggled, is determining how best to make it at home. I’ve tried the traditional drip coffee maker. Blah. I’ve tried Keurig, which isn’t bad, especially for flavored coffees, but it’s overkill when all you want is a regular brew. I’ve even tried the Starbucks Via packets, which work well and taste surprisingly good for instant coffee (I have a water cooler with a hot water spigot in my kitchen, so this is literally a 20 second cup of coffee).

Without doubt, however, my favorite method is the French Press. I love grinding whole beans. I love the smell as they tumbled through the grinder. I love stirring them into hot water. And I find delightful satisfaction pressing down that plunger, marveling as it filters every ground, intrigued by the plunger’s ability to maintain its shape and constant pressure against the glass. How can it so consistently prevent those pesky coffee grounds with delusions of escape from sneaking past its defenses? It’s an engineering feat.

Then there’s the coffee. Always thicker and more flavorful than other methods. I imagine it’s thicker because I’m too lazy to properly measure, and so the grounds-to-water ratio is probably twice what it ought to be. But boy is it good.

No matter. The French Press wins for fun, intrigue, and taste. It has but one significant drawback.

Clean-up.

I hate cleaning the damn thing. You have to pull it apart, rinse it, unscrew the bottom plate from the wire mesh, scrape the grounds out, rinse it off, screw it back together. And it’s sharp. I’ve sliced my finger on it twice. And you really need to clean it immediately after you pour the last drop. If you don’t, the grounds start to clump up in the filter, making the process that much more painful later. I’ve forgotten to clean it immediately on many occasions. I’m no germaphobe, and I don’t really mind messes, but there’s something unpleasant about cleaning up wet, mucky coffee grounds that have been sitting out all day or even overnight.

I don’t know. It seems to me someone could invent a self-cleaning version. I know there are all sorts of coffee making contraptions permeating the world. Maybe I’ll try some of them on my quest for a clean-up-free French Press. In the meantime, I’ll keep using mine, because as I said, it makes the best coffee.

And that’s my meaningless whine of the week.

About the author

Kevin Koperski

Kevin Koperski is the author of the mystery novel Amontillado. He’s a tech entrepreneur currently developing several new products.

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