The History Of The French Coffee Press-Alternative Brewing

A winning combination of design, flair, and simplicity put the French Coffee Press on the global map. The French Coffee Press design evolution has been a natural progression from just a metal or cheesecloth screen fitted to a rod that would be pressed into a pot of boiling water to the modern design, high in quality and typically made of stainless steel.

The French Coffee Press goes by different names; for instance, in South Africa it is called plunger coffee, in France, it's known as Melior or Bodum, in the United Kingdom it's called cafetiere, and in The United States it's French press or coffee press. Whatever the name being used, people identify this brew method with the French Coffee Press.

The Birth Of A Legacy

Attilio Calimanon Patent

Attilio Calimanon, an Italian designer maestro, patented the Coffee Press in 1929. he made it his life’s mission to get the design perfect so that when coffee is put into the cup everyone should enjoy it as a beverage. He began to unpick the process of making a cup of coffee and reconstruct the Coffee Press in a manner that would pay homage to flavour, as opposed to the bitter and unenjoyable status quo.

At the forefront of the push for the French press coffee maker global introduction was another Italian, Faliero Bondanini which became his first enterprise. At that time, Faliero Bondanini had made some inroads, with improved designs on the back of the previously patented model. This proved to be the right coincidence. Bondanini became innovative in his ideas by working on new designs for the product. Although his intitial model was already established, it was the passion of redesigning it that eventually got Bondanini success. He patented his own version of the Coffee Press which was filed and approved in 1958.

Full-Bodied Coffee Culture

It was ventures done by those such as Attilio Calimanon and Faliero Bondanini that really introduced the art of selling coffee machines into the realm of the new breed of distributors. From the mid-1950s to the early 1990s came an exciting new breed of distributors - one who would eagerly embrace and promote anything. From coffee machines to craft beer and organic coffee. Consumerism culture had firmly taken hold.

The French Press Coffee Maker was given different names across Europe and the Societe des Anciens Etablissements and Martin S.A. were able to distribute a brand of French Press called the Chambord in different parts of Europe.

Martin was the major shareholder of parent company Louis James de Viel Castel. His subsidiary company named Household Articles Ltd was a British firm that sold a French Press coffee maker called the La Cafetiere.This company acted as both a supplier and retailer and Martin paid a meticulous attention in ensuring that the French Coffee Press was distributed all over Europe. The competition for market share was beneficial to the product as it was now being distributed not only in their present market but new markets around the world. Customers were presented with a new product which promoted its' brand name.

Competing to bring out the best in home coffee brewers, La Cafetiere and the Chambord were the two leading French Press brewers at that time. The manufacturers of these remarkable brands embarked on the next discerning quality adventure, by ensuring that there was consistency on their sides.

La Cafetiere and the Chambord

They battled to make sure that coffee drinkers had excellent coffee in the cups whether by removing that blunt bitterness, enhancing everyone's morning through a unique combination of good flavoured coffee. The coffee makers uniformly perfected cup was welcomed by those who prioritised quality. The competition as fierce and resulted in a refined French press that delivered a quality, bold coffee every brew.

After going through this enormous undertaking, all of Martin’s shares were acquired in 1991 by a Danish tableware and kitchen company that was and is still known as Bodum Holding. Having seen the success of his proven and successful formula, James de Viel Castel, insisted that the French Press coffee maker should continue to be manufactured. He came up with a concept that sales should be done through his company, Household Articles Ltd.

An agreement was struck with Bodum Holding that restricted them from selling French press coffee makers in France under any labels (including the trade names such as Chambord and Melior). He was also forbidden from distributing the product through the channels that Martin had used during the 1990-1991 period.

This turned out to be a major turning point for Bodum Holding. This partnership and joint venture worked because Bodum Holding made more money and became successful. The products were and are now sold under the brand name Chambord. This was the beginning of the successful journey for this brand which has seen it being sold globally and has a devoted as well as loyal customer base; the elegant Bodum Chambord is therefore considered the original French press. Its' simplicity in design ensures that it is easy to clean and the sieve works well to prevent the ground from reaching the coffee.

Brewing With A French Press

Hario French Press Coffee

The French coffee press has a narrow cylindrical cup made of glass or clear plastic which is fitted with a metal or plastic lid and plunger that fits tightly in the cylinder. There is also a fine wire or nylon mesh filter to prevent grounds getting into the coffee. If you're in need of brewing instructions for your French Press, be sure to check out our French Press Brewing Guide.

A French press requires a coarser grind because finer grounds will run through the press filter and into the coffee. Coffee is brewed by placing it with hot water, stirring it and leaving to brew for a few minutes, then pressing the plunger to trap the coffee grounds at the bottom of the beaker. French pressed coffee can be brewed to any strength by adjusting the amount of ground coffee that is brewed. The French Press Maker is past the days when bitterness was considered as an acquired taste.

The French Coffee Press has undergone a remarkable transition. It has been handled by dedicated designers since the time it was first patented in 1929. There have been major improvements on the design aspect which has in turn improved the overall brew quality for the better.