Disclosure: Primula Products provided me with a coffee press to review. All opinions and photos remain my own.
Once I had gathered my unusual suspects for the Coffee Quest, I’ll admit I was a little nervous. This all should have been so simple–no electricity required, after all–but it was a whole new world for me. Where do I begin? The coffee press seemed the most recognizable to me, so I selected it first.
All Primula Products coffee makers come with an instruction booklet in multiple languages. There is additional information available online, as well. I read through the booklet, washed and dried my coffee press, reassembled it, and got to work.
Why use a coffee press? The theory is that, when you use a filter, you trap the oils found naturally in the coffee beans and therefore lose a good portion of the flavor instantly. By allowing the coffee to sit in the hot water directly, you can extract more flavor and get a fuller-bodied cup of Joe. Just add your ground coffee to the beaker, bring your water to just about boiling on the stove (if you have a natural gas cooktop, like I do, you don’t require any electricity for this process), pour the hot water over the coffee, stir, cover, and let it steep for 4 minutes before pressing down on the plunger and pouring.
It’s very important to use coarse ground coffee, or you’ll end up clogging the filter screen and quite possibly drinking the grounds. It’s also essential that you do not over-tighten the press parts. The first time I made coffee with the press, I tightened everything down really well in a misguided attempt to make sure it was all perfect. When I placed the lid on the pot, the plunger would not stay up–it dropped immediately, letting the filter fall into the grounds and making one heck of a mess. I kept pulling up on the plunger but I could not get the filter pieces to stay up. It was incredibly frustrating. Let’s just say that the first cup of coffee I had from the coffee press was a bit disappointing.
I decided to watch the video on Primula Products’ website explaining how to use the coffee press. It was a little embarrassing, but clearly I was missing something here. I watched the video twice, but still couldn’t figure out how to keep the plunger in the up position–it was glossed over, assumed that you knew exactly what they were talking about.
Next I asked my co-worker, hoping she could shed some light on the situation. She said it should stay up easily–it shouldn’t be the struggle I was having–but she didn’t know why I was having a problem. I wanted to ask another co-worker how he brewed with his press (he keeps one in the office), but I ran out of time. It would be up to me to figure out.
At home that night, I looked at all the pieces closely again. I noticed there was a little topper that would flop around loosely if the discs were tightened down entirely, but if I loosened them up a bit, it could be threaded on the spindle with the discs and hold the discs in place. Was this what I missed? This tiny little piece forgotten, assumed that the user would know exactly how to assemble without overlooking that step?
It turns out that, yes, that was the key. Once I assembled it correctly–leaving the discs loose enough to tight down that little cap that serves the function of a nut on a screw–the coffee press worked the way it should. The plunger remained in the upright position until I gently pressed down on it when I was ready to pour. The puzzle pieces were finally put together properly–I was able to brew a cup of coffee press coffee the right way.
The printed instructions recommend 1 Tablespoon of coffee per 4 ounces of water, and you can brew up to 8 4-ounce cups at a time (32 ounces) [the video recommends 3 scoops of coffee, utilizing the included scoop, for an 8-cup press] . Most coffee mugs hold 12 ounces or more of coffee, however, so you’re more likely to only get 2-3 cups of coffee out of a full coffee press. Don’t expect this to be the way to make coffee for a crowd, but it does a decent job when you know you’ll be looking for more than 1 cup at a time.
Verdict: This is a nice option if you are away from a stove but have access to a microwave or hot water tap (at work). It takes a bit longer, especially if you have to heat the water first. The first 2 times I made coffee with it, I thought the coffee was a bit weak, but I think it was more my ineptness that was the problem. The last cup of coffee I had from it was pretty divine. Deep, rich, flavorful. Every time I had fine grounds in the bottom of my cup.