Where Was French Press Invented

Where Was French Press Invented

The moment we walk into a coffee shop, we often see the presence of a French press pot in some corner. Because of its simple design and strong coffee flavor, it has been sought after by coffee lovers in many places since it was promoted to date. You will even find that the French press pot has different names in different countries.

For example, the British like to call it cafetière, while South Africa likes to call it plunger coffee.

Where was the French press invented and what are the advantages that make it so popular?

Whatever you like to call the French press, we need to know the story behind its "fame".

Why French Press is Called "French" Press?

"From the very beginning, the French have devoted more enthusiasm to how to make coffee than any other country," wrote William Harrison Ukers in his book "All About Coffee," published in 1922. The first French-made coffee machines appeared around 1800, Ukers said, and the first coffee machines made of glass appeared another 40 years after that.

Although Ukers cites dozens of coffee machines like a coffee encyclopedia, there is not a single word about the simple French press pot.


Who Invented the French Press?

The French press is called a cafetière in England, and it is not mentioned in Ukers' book because not many people were using this device when Ukers was alive, but the history of the French press can be traced back to long before Ukers' book.

In March 1852, an artisan and a businessman were granted a joint patent for a "piston filter coffee device". The patent described a metal pot connected to a movable rod with a hole in the bottom of the rod and a layer of facecloth on the top and bottom. When the rod is pulled manually, it moves in a cylindrical container. "Press the lever to the bottom," the inventor wrote, "and the filtered coffee remains above the lever, crisp and fresh."

But it wasn't until the late 1920s, when an Italian company registered a patent for a modified version of the French press pot, that the French press became better known. This company perfected the French press design within a few years of registering the patent.

In 1935, they introduced a modified version of the French press with a spring in the disc at the bottom of the piston to keep the disc flush with the bottom of the container. This action was called the French Press.

A similar coffee appliance appeared in Europe in the 1950s, but the French press took a lot of effort to become popular in the United States, and it has been a long time since the French press is revered by coffee lovers around the world.

To this day, the Oxford English Dictionary's first explanation of the French press is "an exercise that exercises and strengthens the biceps".

  • Yes, the design patented in 1958 is arguably the most popular, it was designed by the Swiss Faliero Bondanini and was known as the "Chambord" in France where it was made.
  • Bondanini later marketed the Chambord in England as "La Cafetiére Classic", giving the cafetiére a French character.
  • The famous Danish company Bodum later became the distributor of Chambord in Denmark and eventually bought the rights to the name and factory of Chambord. the trademark of "La Cafetiére" is still in the hands of the original owner.

Although it is indeed complicated from the point of view of "who invented it" and "where it was invented", it does not stop people from loving it, and of course, I prefer to call it a French press.


How Does the French Press Work

Although the origin of French press pots is complicated, it is simple to make, and as long as you grasp certain steps, you can also make a very good cup of coffee. As you can imagine, the French press is a very accommodating coffee pot, which is perhaps one of its charms.

The French press pot is a full immersion coffee brewing appliance, the pot comes with a metal filter (mainly made of stainless steel), this coffee powder, and the full immersion of water so the French press pot coffee has a very obvious feature: the coffee oil will be richer, so the taste will be more full.

You just need to add coffee powder and hot water, leave it for 4-5 minutes, then gently press down the metal filter, a pot of aromatic coffee has been made. But for people who do not like the taste of coffee with fine powder, this French press pot coffee brewing method may not be her first choice.


How to Brew French Press Like a Pro

To brew a professional-level cup of French press coffee, you need to know the factors that affect the flavor of French press coffee or that we can control, and improve the brewing flavor according to our personal preferences. Of course, the prerequisite for improving the flavor is that you must know the correct brewing method.

The following five points, when mastered, will allow you to brew a professional-level cup of coffee.


Method 1: Grind Coarseness

Regardless of the grind coarseness used to grind the coffee, use a high-quality flat or tapered knife grinder instead of a blade grinder, and this brewing method has a high potential to lead to over-extraction. So what exactly is the correct coarseness?

Using a coarser grind scale is recommended, somewhat like small gravel rather than fine sand. If the grind is too fine it may allow the water to extract the coffee powder too quickly. This may not be a problem for other immersion brewing appliances, but if you use a French press pot and grind too fine, there may be coffee fines that penetrate the metal filter, thus causing a large amount of residue to settle in the brewed coffee.


Method 2: Powder-to-water ratio

Powder water ratio is a simple formula, that is, how much water to how much coffee powder, a common ratio is 1:15 (for example, 15 grams of coffee powder on 225 grams of water). You can start with this ratio, and then increase or decrease the amount of coffee or water from the next brew according to your preference until you find the ratio you like best.


Method 3: Water temperature

If you don't have a thermometer, you can let the hot water come to a boil, sit for 45 seconds (depending on the temperature), and brew at a temperature of about 90 degrees Celsius. If you want to control the flavor of the brewed coffee, it is recommended to buy a temperature-controlled hand-brew pot.


Method 4: Brewing time

If you are brewing a darker roast coffee, 5 minutes may be too long; if it is a lighter roast, 3 minutes may be too short, so at first, it is recommended to try from 4 minutes.


Method 5: Brewing Process

Pour the ground coffee powder into a preheated French press pot, then slowly fill the pot with hot water and make sure all the coffee powder is moistened. Start by pre-soaking the coffee powder with about twice the amount of powder (e.g. 30g of water for 15 servings of coffee powder).

At the 30-second mark, gently stir a few times and fill the remaining hot water and place the press barrel on top, do not press down yet, wait for the coffee powder to steep for 4 minutes, then slowly press the barrel to the bottom and pour out the coffee liquid carefully to avoid stirring the coffee grounds at the bottom of the pot.

If the press barrel is a little difficult to press down, it means the coffee powder is too finely ground.

If the coffee powder sinks and the resistance to downward pressure are too low, the grind is too coarse.


Tips for Brewing French Press

-Pour out the coffee immediately after brewing. If not, the coffee powder will continue to come into contact with the water, resulting in the release of the bitterness of the coffee.

-Make sure the French press pot is thoroughly cleaned, as even fresh coffee can be spoiled by coffee grounds that are not cleaned on the filter. Most filters should be easy to clean.

-If the brewed coffee never satisfies your taste buds, it is recommended to try all the variables. Brewing coffee should be fun and experimental, and once you have brewed your favorite coffee, it will give you more motivation to study coffee brewing skills!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.