Coffee has been around for generations. The first known record of coffee stretches back to the days of the thirteenth century, just after the end of the Dark Ages when trading routes opened from the Middle East into Europe. Rich Persian and Turkish traders took advantage of wealthy traders’ tastes and began propagating coffee and spice routes across the world. The richest merchants supplied mass quantities of coffee to princes and kings across the world. Guests shared cups of coffee as an extravagant gift from the host, especially in upper class Europe.
Before the time of electricity, coffee was often ground fresh with a pestle and mortar and then passed through hot water over a fire. Thin cheesecloth was used as a filter and often reused by poorer coffee drinkers. Many times, coffee drinkers would add raw grounds to water and allow them to settle as the water boiled. There’s a myth that a Frenchman forgot to add the grinds one day as the water boiled, and when he realized his mistake, he poured the grounds in. The grounds floated to the top, and in a stroke of creativity, he fitted a flexible screen to separate the grounds. This produced the first “French” press coffee pot. The French press is also often called a “press pot”.
As the industrial age spread in the 1700s and 1800s, metal frames and wires became a possible widespread filter for coffee makers. The French press really saw its main rise during the late 1800s. In America, the industrial age was just starting and millions of men reported to work everyday in need of a pick-me-up. The French press is one of the most potent ways to drink coffee- especially for caffeine content- since the beans are exposed raw to the water instead of passing through a filter. As a result, the French press became a widely used coffee brewing method.
When the vacuum coffee pot was invented, the French press quickly saw a drop in consumption brewing method in America. In Europe, the French press remained a beloved brewing method, mostly because of its superior flavor delivery. The vacuum coffee pot allowed for a quicker brew while the French press required more cleanup and preparation- an important piece for the busy American coffee audience. Still, many coffee hobbyist and enthusiasts continued using the French press, especially in Europe.
As electricity and electric coffee pots became the standard in the coffee industry, the French press method continued to drop. In the early 1990s, Starbucks and many smaller coffee companies brought the French press back as a novel brewing method. This sparked interest in America in the French press method again, while Europe continued to use the French press reliably as they had throughout the decades.
The French press is the most time consuming brewing method out there, but it also produces the best tasting coffee on the market. The oils and tannins are preserved during the French brewing method and this makes for one of the best tasting coffee cups you can brew. This method, though somewhat unpopular, is great.