French Press Coffee: A Brief History

This article is sponsored by Coffee On Point

French Press, also known as press pot, cafetiere, coffee plunger or coffee press is a coffee brewing device that was first patented in1929 by an Italian designer, Attilio Calimani. However, some reports indicate that the first patented design used to make the French Press was originally made by two Frenchmen; Delforge and Mayer in 1852 but the duo failed to create a seal inside the carafe unlike the one found in the modern French press.

Since its invention, French Press has undergone multiple design changes. The first coffee brewing device which is said to have been made in France was what the current modern coffee press is in its rudimentary state i.e. it had a cheesecloth screen or metal that was fitted into a rod which users would use to press into a pot of boiling water. Another modified version was introduced in the market in 1935 and it had a spring wrapped around its plunger- discs .In 1952, Faliero Bondanini came up with his own patented modified design.

He began manufacturing the Coffee Press in a French Clarinet Factory which was known as Martin SA while using the brand name Melior. Bondanini’s version of French Press gain a lot popularity in 1965 when it was used in Michael Caine’s Film. It was further popularized in Europe when a Danish kitchenware company known as Bodum and a British Company called Household Articles Limited began selling it. It took a while before this gadget made its way to the US and even longer for it to gain its current modern appellation. It only started to gain popularity in 1980s and even so the Americans still used the British term Cafetiere or the phrase French –Plunger.

Note that the modern type of the French Press contains a narrow and cylindrical beaker which is normally made of a hard clear plastic material or is also equipped with a metallic or plastic lid, a tightly fitting plunger as well as a nylon mesh or stainless- steel wire filter. French Presses are usually more self contained and portable when compared to other coffee makers. Furthermore, there exists different variations of this coffee brewing device. If you are constantly on the move, there is a Travel Mug Version which is made of tough plastic, a sealed lid and a closable drinking space. This version is commonly loved by backpackers and hikers who do not wish to carry heavy metallic brewers. Another version of the French Press is an insulated stainless steel press which has a similar design to a thermos flask in order to ensure that the brewed coffee remains hot.

Some of the things that have put French Press on the global map is the winning combination of simplicity, flair and design. This coffee brewer’s design evolution over the decades has followed a natural progression from the days when it was just metal / cheese-cloth screen fitted to a rod to the current ultra- modern design that features high quality stainless steel. The French Press can sometimes be used to cold brew coffee and it can also be used in place of a tea- infuser to brew loose tea.