I had the pleasure of receiving an American Press from Cafuné to add to my excessive collection of home brew methods, and immediately began reading up on the product. Promoted as a brand spankin’ new brew method, I set out to test that claim.
With a design similar to that of a French press in terms of it being an immersion brewer with a press—hence the name—the American Press features a plunging action that feels almost similar to that of an AeroPress and, as you push, water rises up through the grounds in a manner similar to that of a percolator.
So is it a French press? An AeroPress? A percolator? It's not quite any one of these, but is it a new brew method? I would say it's more like an amalgamation of these different kinds of brewing, and when it comes down to it, it’s an immersion brewer that uses some very intelligent design—it is a Red Dot Award winner after all.
I’ve had a few months to test this bad babe out now, and straight out of the box, I was honestly a bit surprised. It’s not like I didn’t have high hopes, but it’s easy to get caught up in the sparkle of new coffee technology and this pressy-thing seemed so simple and humble by comparison. I didn’t expect it to be quite so visually beautiful and well thought out.
Currently, my recipe uses a medium to medium-coarse grind (around setting 20 on my Baratza Encore) at a 1:15 ratio. Lately, I’ve found myself pressing until the water hits just above the top of the pod and letting the grounds immerse for just a minute, maybe two. This part is the most satisfying for me as you can see the pre-infusion rise up over the top the pod almost like a percolator and then create a perfect layer of coffee on top of clear water. It’s really lovely. After the pre-infusion is done, I pull up on the press to create an agitation before very slowly plunging it all the way down. From there, simply serve it up, take out the pod, knock the grinds effortlessly into the compostables and rinse the Press.
The really important question, though: How does it taste? Expect the smooth, full-bodied flavour you would get from a French press, but without all the sludge at the bottom. I still get some silt, but it’s nowhere near the amount of fines I would get from a traditional press: the cup is noticeably cleaner, and with a high-end grinder or with the help of a Kruve sifter, I'm sure you can easily create a very clean cup.
If I were to choose one feature that I didn't like about the American Press, I guess it would have to be the fact that despite the durability and longevity of the Tritan copolyester body, it’s still, well, plastic.I would have definitely preferred a beautiful, double-walled glass design over Tritan. Aside from that, the only other minor downside is serving size, as it holds just 355ml of fluid, which is great for one person who wants a 12oz beverage or for two people who don’t need too much coffee to get them going, but needless to say this is not for entertaining.
All in all, if you live in a small space, are looking for something minimalist, or want to stop buying paper filters, the American Press is right up your alley. Perfect for a student or to keep tucked away in your office desk—or even to travel with—this is a brewer that’s adapted for anyone who wants great coffee with minimal effort and easy cleanup.
Note: Photographs by Alexander Mills; illustration by Rose Trinh.
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