In our last post, we started a series called “Demystify” where we walk through some of the ins and outs of the more complicated aspects of coffee. In Part One, we covered the pour over methods: V60, Chemex, and Kalita Wave. For this post, we will focus on the French Press and the Clever Dripper. Although all these brew methods are part of our slow bar offerings, “Pour over” is not really the proper term for the French Press and Clever. The French Press falls under the category of “full immersion brewers” because the coffee gets fully immersed in the water, and the Clever shares aspects of both immersion and pour overs, making it a “hybrid” method.
The French Press is one of the most classic brew methods. For many, it acts as an introduction to specialty coffee, and at 1418, we have noticed it’s the most familiar item on our slow bar menu.
The origin of the French Press is actually a little complicated. The original 1852 product came from Frenchmen Mayer and Delforge. Over the years, the design went through many changes until 1929 when two Italian men named Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta landed on a version pretty similar to what we use today.
Brewing in a French Press enhances the body of the coffee more than anything. Ground coffee sits in hot water for 3-5 minutes and then gets plunged down with a metal mesh screen that serves as a filter when pouring. The full immersion of the coffee allows the water to soak up the oils, resulting in a very heavy body and thick texture. Often times, grounds will escape the mesh filter and add a sort of grittiness to the mouth-feel. (I like to call this coffee pulp). These unique attributes continue to make the French Press a popular choice for coffee drinkers who seek a full-bodied coffee with a nice, big aroma.
The Clever Dripper takes elements from the French Press as well as filtered pour overs, resulting in a hybrid method of brewing. Essentially, the ground coffee gets fully immersed in the water for a few minutes, like with the French Press, but instead of a metal mesh filter being plunged down, the Clever has a release valve at the bottom that allows the coffee to go through a paper filter at the end. This mix of techniques results in a very balanced cup that provides both body and flavor.
At 1418, and really in the coffee industry as a whole, the Clever often gets overlooked. However, many of our baristas prefer it to our other offerings. In addition to the balanced taste, the Clever’s simple design makes it very easy to use.
Plenty of other slow bar methods exist, but the five that we went through in the last two posts make for a good starting point. Plus, we offer each of them at 1418! We hope this information has helped clarify the differences and has made you more interested in different brew methods. Now that you have a good foundation for each one, we hope it inspires you to come by the shop and try them out! Let us know which one you like most, and keep checking back with us as we will soon be posting how to videos and blogs!