The Cafetiere

Making Coffee in a Cafetiere


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The Cafetiere also known as - French Press, Press Pot, or Bodium Jug

Most households own a Cafetiere of one sort or another. Large ones are now available in supermarkets for less than £10. At these prices however the components are obviously cheaply made and it will not be long before the mesh frays, the thread goes or the handle comes off. The very best type incorporates a vacuum flask.

The availability and low cost tends to encourage complacency when using one of these devices. This is a mistake. There are a vast number of variables involved here and carelessness will result in un-drinkable coffee. Used well the results can be excellent.


Like all coffee equipment the press pot should be kept clean. The components separated and washed after each use.

The coffee should be ground relatively coarsely as the mesh used is not that fine. If it is too fine you will find difficulty in pushing the plunger down and you will get sediment at the bottom of your cups. The coffee should be ground at the last possible moment to avoid it drying out.

To make 1 litre of coffee you will need:-

  • 1.2 litre of boiling water
  • 55g of coarsely ground coffee
  • Measuring jug
  • Wooden spoon
  • Stopwatch

Once the water has boiled, pre heat the press pot with a little boiling water. I also heat the plunger and lid. You may now need to top up your kettle and boil it again.

When the press pot is hot, dry it with paper towel, this is to stop coffee sticking to the sides, and pour the coffee grounds in.

Coffee should NEVER be brewed with boiling water. To quickly reduce the temperature I find the most convenient and repeatable method is to pour freshly boiled water into a Pyrex measuring jug. In addition to reducing the temperature this also serves to check to amount of water used. Once measured, pour the water onto the coffee, start the stopwatch, and stir the coffee for around 30 seconds.

Brewing time is dependant on many things, the fineness of the ground coffee, the beans used, the degree of roast and the strength of coffee required. A ballpark figure is around 3.5 minutes. Whatever brewing time you decide on, it will be ample time to allow the coffee to cool down, so wrap the jug up in a thick hand towel. This is where the expensive thermos type jug comes into its own.

Once the brewing time has elapsed slowly push the plunger down and serve immediately. Because water is always in contact with the coffee, left over coffee is best poured away as it will taste foul.