The week before Easter was apparently "drop things" week, and I just hadn't gotten the memo. In the course of a few days I managed to drop and break not only a bowl (which had successfully survived at least five moves) but our French press.
It was the second or third I've managed to break since we made the switch away from Mr. Coffee and into the world of amazing French press coffee a few years ago. Being a repeat buyer has given me a new perspective on the topic, and I thought I'd share some pointers for people who might be new to French presses (or just considering one) on how to pick the right press for you.
Tip 1: Avoid the plastic framed presses.
They say they're shatter-proof but they're not. (I just shattered one.) And once they're broken, you're out of luck. Also, I found that the bottom of this style can be a bit prone to seepage. Not a lot, just enough to be annoying.
Tip 2: Buy a Backup Carafe.
Buying a metal framed press allows you to monitor the shade of whatever you're steeping (very helpful if you like your tea lighter or darker than the standard steep time produces). You can also buy replacement carafes to keep on hand, so if you do crack or shatter one it's a simple swap and you're back in business without delay.
Tip 3: Consider insulation.
I'm not a fan of stainless steel, particularly in the kitchen, but our newest French press is this insulated thermos model and I'm very happy with it. Not only will it not shatter, but I no longer have to wrap the press in a towel on cold mornings to keep the coffee hot during the steep time. This keeps my coffee or tea hot long enough to come back for a warm-up or second helping - a nice bonus!
Tip 4: Watch the sizing.
The first two presses we bought were just the right size for two generous mugs of coffee/tea, which worked out well since they were uninsulated and anything left in the carafe quickly got cold. Our newest is larger and holds extra, which also works out fine since it's insulated. If you shop in a store, your size options may be limited. Hop over to Amazon, however, and you'll find a range of sizes. Think about what you need most often and buy accordingly. Keep in mind the number of ounces is more important than the listed number of servings - the servings are based on an outdated 4 oz per cup measurement, where as most people these days start with an 8 or 12 oz mug!
We love using a French press, and if you're not using one I strongly recommend checking them out. Just be sure to spend a few minutes doing your homework before you buy to make sure you get the right fit for you!