History Of The French Press Coffee Maker
Is there anything as ubiquitous as the French Press? Its simple yet brilliant design makes it instantly recognizable anywhere. This coffee plunger is known by many names in different countries around the world.
Bodum, a popular French press brand in the United States is actually the word used in France along with Melior. South Africa calls it the plunger coffee while the UK prefers the term cafietiere. If you ever wondered, “Is a French press the same thing as a cafietiere?” the confusion is warranted! Whatever you call it, this little coffee plunger has a fascinating history.
When Was The French Press Invented?
The history of the French press might not be well known. Despite it being called French, the Italians and French contest its origins and claim to its inventor status. Like many brilliant inventions (like the chocolate chip cookie), it was an accident!
The legend goes like this: In the 1800s a Frenchman was boiling water when he realized he had forgotten to put the coffee grounds in. As this was the only coffee he had and he wanted to save it for further use, he grabbed a piece of metal screen he bought from an Italian merchant who happened to be passing by. Sizing the screen over the boiling pot of water and coffee grounds, he used a stick and pushed the screen down, over the grounds. While he expected it to be terrible but happily, both of the men thought it was the best coffee either of them had ever tasted! With necessity as the mother invention, the first coffee plunger was born.
Now, while the Frenchman and Italian merchant were both present at its conception, the French press design as we know it today was officially patented first by an Italian. Things get a little muddled - the first documented origins of the coffee plunger date back to 1852 by two Frenchmen, Mayer and Delforge. Their design was indeed patented, however in 1928 in Italy, Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta registered their own invention patent of a design similar to Mayer and Delforge.
Following them, many designs applied for patents in the United States until a significant redesign came from Faliero Bondanini. This Italian designer patented his version in 1958 and this coffee brewer design gained traction in the European market and was able to be mass produced and distributed by a French company Martin S.A. and they called it Chambord.
Bodum’s Chambord Cafetiere
The Chambord is the best French press design we know and love today, with its glass vessel, steel lid and ball-shaped rod plunger. Eventually, the company Martin S.A. was bought by Danish Bodum Holding who has kept its design alive. At the same time as the Chambord design became popular, Martin S.A.’s investor Louis James de Viel Castel was producing coffee plunger in Britain called La Cafetiere. This history of patents, designs, and production companies over the lifespan of the French press explains why it is known by so many different names and households around the world.
The company Bodum as we know it today got its start in the 1940s by Peter Bodum in Copenhagen, Denmark. His son, Jorgen Bodum, introduced the company’s first Chambord style cafetiere called the Bistro in the 1970s when he took over as the CEO. The Bistro was awarded for being one of the most environmentally friendly coffee presses on the market. Since then, the company has taken great strides in keeping innovation fresh and impactful.
Best Coffee For Cafetiere
After all that history, what is a French press used for in this day and age? Coffee, number one, but the ingenious design allows for the coffee plunger to plunge many things besides just coffee! Anything that needs to be brewed in water and then plunged can be done in a French press. Grated ginger, varieties of tea, citrus, all can be thrown in the French press and strained to enjoy. The benefits of a French press are endless stopping only at your creativity. It's become quite popular to use the coffee plunger as a cold brewer too!
If you want to know how to brew French press coffee look no further. In just a few steps you can quickly be sipping on a delicious cup of coffee, just like the original 1800s Frenchman and Italian merchant.
- First, buy the best coffee for a cafetiere which is any roast and flavor you like!
- The best cafetiere for perfect French press coffee is going to be a clean one. Make sure anything previously brewed is clear from the plunger and lid. This will ensure a smooth taste.
- Boil water and weigh the coffee beans according to your serving size needs.
- Preheat your French press with hot water and discard, then add freshly ground coffee.
- Pour your boiling water in and set a timer for five minutes. Mix and allow the mixture to sit another 5 minutes with the lid on.
- Slowly press your plunger down until the grounds are at the bottom and then you’re ready to serve your delicious coffee!
We hope that you now know how to use a French press with confidence! It’s no wonder why this invention from the 1800s is still used around the world to this day.