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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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18 Responses to “KAFFE French Press: A Review”

  1. quiltmaster says:

    Is it true that the french press requires a coarse grind?

  2. Susan says:

    Yes – the finer the grind, the more likely it will sneak through the mesh filter and create a ’sludge’ rather than a smooth brew. I’ve set my coffee grinder all the way to the coarsest grind, and it’s a fine cup of Joe! Haha – I’m so funny. In the Chemex, I used a fine grind – I’m thinking I’ll save quite a bit in coffee beans, don’t you think?

  3. Heyruthie says:

    The Bodum (and some other equally good brands which also use the same exact standard-sized glass carafes, one is called “Cafe” I think) are often on sale at my local TJMaxx and Marshal’s in the home section. Maybe also sold at Home Goods. they are usually less than $15, and sometime under $10. Crack open the box to make sure it’s all there and in good working order. I never pay full price for my Bodum French Presses.

  4. Susan says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’ll take a look next time I get to a TJMaxx. I wish I had one locally! I need a TJMaxxFans.com! LOL

  5. Do I need a filter and if so where can I buy them. I am at present for the winter in the Az desert. The closest town is Blythe Ca.

  6. Susan says:

    Nope, no filter necessary for the French Press – there’s a metal mesh screen that will filter out the grinds when you ‘press’ it at the end of the 4 minute brewing cycle.

    As an aside, and a THANK YOU! I received a Bodum French Press from Kelly today! Thank you, thank you!!!

  7. Amy says:

    I have to disagree with the review that the IKEA French press feels cheap or makes a poor cup of coffee.

    I have owned one for years now and love it. The plastic parts (which is only the top of the plunger and the handle) do not have any remnants of the molding process.

    And as someone mentioned earlier, you MUST use the coarsest grind for making coffee in a French Press. If you do that and do not use prepackaged ground stuff you will not have any issue with sludge.

    I am not sure what you are talking about having to bang it to get all the grounds out. Are you talking about the end of plunger? That part screws off so you can rinse and wash the screen and two metal it goes between individually & thoroughly.

  8. Stan says:

    True about quality and enjoyment. Having been a mechanic, tools that I used constantly, I paid 7 times Craftsman prices for Snap-on tools which are better quality. The both did the same job, but one “felt better” when using the best. I can get GREAT coffee with a Pyrex cup, mesh strainer and hot water. It tastes the same, but it’s about the activity. Does receiving gifts wrapped in paper bags convey the same excitement as opening a wrapped, and bowed box? Thanks for the insight.

  9. Damoly says:

    Hi, I also love french pressed coffee. Although I do not use my Ikea press a lot, the mesh part of the filter bent and, basically stopped filtering the grinds that now make their way into my coffee.
    It seems a waist to through away the entire mechanism because of one small part. I assume Ikea does not sell replacements (I could not find any). Do any of you coffee lovers know if another company’s filter will fit??

    Thank you, so much!

  10. hakujin says:

    1. not important to me, i just want a good cup of coffee.

    2. who cares about replaceable glass when the kaffe is cheaper than replacement glass? lol. that’s the sole reason why I bought a kaffe in lieu of replacing the beaker on my bodum (which lasted me all of 2 months before cracking

    3. I don’t bang anything, it’s not really a big deal getting the coffe out for me and this aspect differs none at all relative to my now sidelined bodum.

  11. kk says:

    the thing fell apart in parts i do i put it together?

  12. Lisa says:

    I haven’t tried Ikea’s french press, but the replacements for the small Bodum are $16.00, and the glass are very thin and weak and break easily. I don’t think they are using the same glass they used to. Too bad the glass in the Ikea one won’t fit the Bodum

  13. John says:

    re – replaceable beakers on the Bodum

    You’ll need that feature! Because they are notorious for cracking. Everyone I know has that problem but loves their coffee so much they overlook the expense. I’m on the prowl for an alternative though. This is getting expensive.

  14. Michael says:

    I’ve had the KAFFE for years. Works great! Course grind. 4 Minute brew. Excellent coffee. I like my coffee but I’m no coffee nit.

    I wish it was larger. I have a tjmaxx near my home. I’m going to start checking there for a new French Press.

    Thanks for the info. and comments!

  15. Art Chester says:

    Gotta disagree with honorable site owner. I’ve used French presses for years and they have had a serious design flaw: the mesh is held onto the rod by a threaded plastic nut (the black cylinder in the Bodrum photo above). After some use, the threads get stripped and the plastic will no longer hold the mesh to the end of the rod. You push down the plunger and the darn mesh floats up, not capturing all the coffee!
    A house guest left an IKEA press as a gift and when I saw it I liked it so much that I had to search out whose it was. The IKEA press is the first model I’ve seen in which the critical working parts are all steel. And as for the design – give me the IKEA style any day over the fusty old Bodrum.
    BTW – With all the French presses I have owned, I have never broken the glass part, although the handle did come loose on one of them. But for the IKEA price I would not lose sleep over having to replace the whole thing once in a while!
    The coffee prep directions above are excellent. For the best taste, I suggest French roast beans, preferably organic (Trader Joe sells a good one).

  16. Michael Ann says:

    After three years my IKEA Press need new screen and
    metal holder. The glass has NEVER broken. I broke bodum and others usually by two months.
    And prices on replacement parts for them has gone up too. I do NOT want a “clean” cup of coffee.
    To me the point of having european coffee is that it still has the
    crema that paper filters remove. That’s the good stuff–the crema.

    You can see it floating on the top of the coffee before you push the plunger.
    Unfortunately when you push the plunger you lose some of it.
    I think this may be the sludge your’e talking about in the bottom of the cup.

    I found myself re-stirring my cup as I drink it.

    Maybe that’s why you see people in Europe stirring more…

    I going to go buy another IKEA tomorrow.
    I’m going to use my old Kaffe as a second serving pot.

    Does anyone know someone who make a Kaffe cosey?
    Something to keep the coffee hot longer?

  17. Al says:

    I own the Bodum Chambord, and I recently purchased the Ikea French Press called Upphetta.
    I purchased the Upphetta at Ikea in NY.
    I tested both French Presses using the same coarse ground coffee.

    Both French Presses produced IDENTICAL RESULTS.
    There was absolutely NO DIFFERENCE in the resulting coffee.
    The amount of residual coffee grounds was IDENTICAL.

  18. Rachel Smith says:

    I have an 8oz. Bodum French Press and the glass beaker is very delicate. It just broke about a month into having it. I read that the ikea upphetta coffee maker beaker will fit the Bodum French press and be much more durable. Does anyone else know if this is true?

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