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KAFFE French Press: A Review

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 8:06 am
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At only $12.99, IKEA’s KAFFE French Press is an inexpensive coffeemaker no doubt, but is it worth the savings over the very popular Bodum Chambord French Press coffee maker?  Everybody knows I’m a diehard IKEA fan (duh … I started a website and what did I name it?), but I don’t always think IKEA’s the best at everything. I’ve been making my morning brew in an IKEA KAFFE French Press Coffee Post for almost a week now, and I’ll tell you why I wish I’d bought the Bodum instead after the jump. 

chemex-museum-of-modern-art-momaI recently was treated to many wonderful cups of java at lovely Kelly’s house Golden Valley, Minnesota during the 4th Annual IKEAFANS ModCon.  Having used and abused many a coffee maker over the years, I was intrigued by Kelly’s choice of a French Press. I’ve been using a Chemex for about 4 years now, and I really do like the coffee it makes. I dislike having to purchase the special filters that trap the oils (which I admit is key to making the really nice cup of coffee), but I love the fact that it doesn’t require electricity.  Don’t ask me why that is important to me. I do not know.  Not to mention that it has a place in the Museum of Modern Art – if you’re going to be a coffee snob, this is a good place to start.

Anyhoo, Kelly’s French Press has all the features I like about my Chemex, without the requirement for the expensive filters, so I decided to give it a whirl.  Last week, I was at IKEA and I picked up the $12.99 KAFFE press pot and I’ve used it over the course of this week. Coffee’s been good, but to tell you the truth if I had to do it again, I’d spend the extra money ($26.50 more, to be exact) to get the elegant Chambord by Bodum.

Here’s why:

The Chambord’s look and feel are better. The KAFFE plastic parts are rough and feel cheap. I don’t want to feel cheap when I’m drinking my cheap home brew. I don’t want to get poked with plastic sprues leftover from the molding process. I want to feel like I’m a coffee artiste.  Like I’m too hip for the coffee shop in my flannel pj’s.  With the Bodum presspot, I felt like I was sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Paris.  And that’s as it should be.

The Chambord has replaceable glass. Part of the reason that I’m even looking into other coffee making methods is that my Chemex suffered an injury when I cracked it against the undercabinet stereo that noone ever listens to. There’s a big honkin’ piece of glass that I have to keep supergluing back in place, then covering with plastic wrap to prevent accidental ingestion of toxic chemicals.  So not cool.  The Bodum offers a replaceable glass beaker that fits the 8-cup Chambord. Sweet.

The Chambord’s plunger / filter mechanism is better. With a built-in strainer, the entire plunger and filter component of the Bodom french press was smoother, and produced a cleaner cup of coffee.  The higher quality mesh and sproingy thing around the edge made pressing the coffee easier and cleanup was much simpler.  With the IKEA KAFFE, I am constantly having to bang it against the edge of the sink to loosen bits of coffee stuck between the mesh pieces. Also not cool.

So, there you go.  Wish I’d gotten the Chambord. Oh, well…there’s always Christmas. And there’s always that undercabinet stereo that noone ever listens to…

How to Brew Coffee in a French Press Pot

1. Remove plunger from pot and fill with warm water. Set aside.

2. Bring cold, filtered water to a boil, then remove from heat.

3. Grind your beans to a coarse grind. Use a burr grinder for best results.

4. Pour warm water out of french press, and measure 2 TB of coffee grinds into pot for each 8 oz cup of coffee to be brewed.

5. When water is between 195°F and 205°F, slowly pour water over grinds taking care to wet all the grinds. Leave at least 1″ of room at the top of the pot.

6.  Gently stir coffee in pot with a plastic spoon or wooden skewer (or chopstick!). Don’t use metal – one false clink can break the glass.

7. Place the plunger unit on the top of the pot, but do not press down. Set the timer for 4 minutes and walk away.

8. When the time’s up, slowly and carefully press the plunger down until it reaches the bottom of the pot.

9. Pour yourself the perfect pot of coffee and enjoy!


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