Coffee Lesson of the Week – History of the French Press

At Brooklyn Roasting, the French Press is one of our favorite methods of brewing. In early days of BRC, inside founder Jim Munson’s Williamsburg loft, French Presses were constantly brewing for the then three people-strong company to sample experimental initial roasts of favorites such as Mocha Java or BQE. While popular history favors the irony of the French Press’ Italian origins with Atillio Calimani’s 1929 patent, the French Press indeed was first proposed by French designers Mayer and Delforge in the late 19th Century. Unfortunately, they were ahead of their time, as manufacturing was not precise enough to accurately reproduce the snug fit of filter within pot of the design. Calimani adapted the design to include a rubber seal around the edge of the filter, and the cafetiere in its current state was born.

calimani-patent

The Classic Design: Calimani’s patent drawings, 1929

The French Press is favored by our team for its unique filtration system. Filtering the brew through metal allows the essential oils to come through into the cup, which allows for a fuller mouth-feel and complexity that is very distinct from the cleaner filtration of paper. What’s distinctive about the French Press is that it is a steeping brew. All of the coffee is in contact with the water for the entire brew period. This makes it very unique and consistent.

Despite its name, the French Press is no more popular in France than in any other part of the coffee-brewing world!

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