The best method to prepare coffee to experience everything a quality bean has to offer is via espresso. A close second, and probably closer to American coffee, is the French Press method. It's quite simple. Freshly coarse ground beans are placed in a pre-warmed carafe. Then water, just
off the boil, is poured over the grounds. After a brief stir, the carafe is wrapped in a towel to prevent heat loss,
and the grounds are allowed to brew for 4 minutes. The lid to the carafe has an incorporated plunger with a fine screen
filter. Immediately following the brew time, the plunger is depressed firmly, thereby separating the grounds from the
coffee, leaving them compressed at the bottom of the carafe. Then you pour your cup and enjoy.
The french press
I have is a quality one made by Bodum ® . I have had this press for years, and I absolutely love
the results. Some models, now, are made with a vacuum-sealed insulated steel carafe, but I believe the coffee experience
loses a bit of its romance when you stifle it with the cold steel motif.
For years, I have been content with wrapping
the press in towels, despite its inefficiency. Recently, it dawned on me that I should ask my mother to make a "french press cozy". A tea cozy, as many of you may
know, is a simple hat-shaped covering for tea kettles designed to preserve the warmth. I did not know if such an item existed
for french presses, but by design they would need to be made differently to account for the plunger. Ultimately, an
online search revealed that many different styles of french press cozies are on the market. However, sentimental as
I am, I love to have items that have personal meaning and are functional at the same time. For instance, the coffee
mug I drink from every day is an old diner-style mug my dear aunt Lola used for years. Every time I use the mug, I remember
how she would slightly over fill it and then pour about a third of the cup into the saucer. She would then methodically
transfer the coffee from the saucer back into the mug, effectively cooling down the cup to a drinkable temperature since she'd
made the coffee with an old fashioned percolator (an absolute horrible way to make coffee, by the way.) Another example
of my sentimentality is my razor and shaving mug, both of which were my grandfather's. I use these every day, and
I can not help but think that my grandfather, while I never knew him, must have had a similar routine.
But I digress...
you know, my mother is well known for her magnificent crocheting abilities. I have several functional afghans made by
her that keep me quite warm in the winter. She custom made the armrest covers on my sofa with only an emailed picture
of the armrests with some crude measurements. They fit perfectly, complete with drawstrings, and they hold up to frequent
I knew making a french press cozy would not be much of a challenge for her. The challenge came from
my inability, as it were, to convey what I wanted. Despite that, she exceeded my expectations. She even made a
pad on which the press can sit as well as a "hat" since she had some of the same style yarn left over. I absolutely
love the end result! Click on the thumbnails for larger versions and to see the detail of her craftsmanship.
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