|A French press, which is used in America and probably made in Taiwan. (Not pictured) The ever-present Brown Puddle.|
A French press is, as I feared, deviously simple. It’s a cylinder. You dump coffee grounds in the bottom. Then you pour in hot water. Then you take the filter and push it down through the water. This pushes the grounds to the bottom, leaving the now-coffee-ified water on top where it can be poured into a suitable vessel for consumption.
Well, that’s the thoery, anyway. Here is how the French press actually works:
- 5:00am: Wake up and realize that, predictably, you need coffee.
- 5:01am: Open the press to add the grounds, only to discover that you’d left the previous day’s grounds in the bottom. The press doesn’t have a filter that can be lifted out and thrown away, so you must somehow get the grounds out of the bottom of this thing without pouring them down the sink where they will eventually just clog up the works. It will save you a coffee filter, at the expense of several paper towels, a couple of minutes, and the nagging realization that you’re never going to be able to get all of those grounds out.
- 5:06am: Add coffee grounds. No, add them before you put the filter in. Idiot. Now you’ve got grounds on the filter. Why aren’t you thinking straight? You need coffee. Now where… oh, right. Wash the filter off (again) and add the grounds.
- 5:07am:You need hot water. Note that the press is made of both glass and metal, making it incompatible with both of the heat-generating devices at your disposal. You’re going to have to boil water using the Old Ways, which means using a stove, which means using fire. Since you can’t boil the water in the French press, you’ll have to boil it in some other container – preferably a teapot or kettle of some sort. You must have one of those around here, somewhere. Maybe in the cupboard, back behind the crock pot and the big pitcher that only gets used on holidays.
- 5:09am: The kettle is opaque, and thus you’ll have to guess at how much water you’ll need. You could use the French press for this, but you already put the coffee grounds in it, remember?
- 5:10am: Put the water on to boil and go back to playing Mass Effect.
- 5:32am: After defeating the Geth ambush in the garage and making your way in the Mako across the glacial rift of Noveria, realize that you need some coffee. Then realize that you’re ostensibly in the process of making coffee, which is now something that requires your ongoing participation.
- 5:33am: Check on the kettle to discover it’s boiled most of the water away and you now have just enough to dampen the grounds. Add more water. No, even more this time, just in case. Put it on to boil and go back to playing Mass Effect.
- 5:45am: The game has presented you with the classic Tower of Hanoi puzzle to reboot the Virtual Intelligence mainframe. Pfft. As if anything so miraculous and grand as intelligence could be expressed by such a simple system of… Ah. Crap. You forgot about the coffee again, didn’t you?
- 5:46am: Dash back to the kitchen to discover that there is still enough water left to supply the French press. Pour it in.
- 5:47am: Push the filter down through the coffee to remove – or at least displace – the unwanted grounds.
- 5:48am: Pour yourself a cup of the stuff. Don’t bother cleaning up the puddle of brown right now. That’s actually part of the rustic charm of the device.
- 5:49am: Note that this stuff is frigging hot, for real. This isn’t like coffee-maker water, which is Just Hot Enough. No, this stuff is boiling and will kill you if you do something foolish with it. This must be the secret ingredient that makes French Pressed coffee “better” – danger. You’re going to have to wait for it to cool.
- 6:00am: Once it’s cool enough, enjoy some coffee. As you get to the end, chew thoughtfully and reflect on what the filter might actually be for, since it doesn’t seem to remove the grounds from your morning beverage.
- 6:20am: Have another cup. Since the Frech press doesn’t actually make or even preserve heat, it will now be cold. Use the microwave.
- 6:30am: Realize that since the press is much smaller than the coffee maker, you’re going to have to go through all of this, all over again. Twice.
Maybe I can streamline the process by building a humanoid robot to run the press for me.
Happy New Year.
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