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Le French Press!

I love using my kettle again

Several weeks ago my beloved Hello Kitty Coffee Maker took its last gasping breath. We used it for two years straight which is pretty good considering it was pretty cheaply made in the first place. We weren’t even supposed to be using it every day anyway. It was the stop-gap coffee maker to help us get by when our original wedding present coffee maker broke.

The Hello Kitty coffee maker was supposed to be for me when I was pregnant so I could have “decaf” all to myself while Toby drank the more potent stuff from the regular pot. But you can imagine my inner glee when our regular coffee pot broke and Toby (Mr. I’m-too-manly-for-my-Banana-Republic-pants) had to pour himself manly coffee from the pink Hello Kitty pot every day. It kind of made up for the fact that I was struck with the morning sickness from hell and coffee smelled like sour garbage for the entire nine months.


Anyway, this post is not about that. This post is about my NEW FRENCH PRESS! I am so in love. Could it be because it has the word “French” in it? Possibly. But really it does make a fine cup of coffee. It took me a while to find the right ratio of coffee grounds to hot steamy water (the markings on the side? totally worthless!) but once I got it right, I was hooked. I will never go back to the old style coffee maker again. I love it that much.


Most of it is taste but part of it is the process. I love using my tea kettle. I love that I don’t have to plug anything in to make something so delicious. I like to pretend I’m back in time making coffee the old fashioned way. I also like to pretend I’m in Paris but then I’m the pretending sort of girl.


When you look like this in the morning an imagination is quite helpful. Ack! Did you see my hair? What exactly is going on up there? Obviously I cannot stand for one single hair to touch my forehead. Where is my chic hair-do of a few months ago? Do I need a hair cut already? I think so. And lets not even talk about the apron. Ugh. I am so matronly sometimes.

But anyway, that photo is taken so you can see how the French Press is used. This step is really important. You rest your hands on the little plunger knob thingy and just let them slowly push the plunger down with gravity only. No force allowed. Or else you will have grounds squeeze up the side and ruin the whole zen-ness of it, or just plain burn you. Not that I’ve tried forcing it but by reading the directions, I kind of got the idea that it could be very dangerous.


I like the process. It’s almost as nice as cooking spaghetti for dinner and drinking a big glass of cabernet while you cook. But then that’s just me. I normally hate cooking. I don’t mind making coffee.

I’m a natural morning person so it’s kind of a delayed gratification thing. I make myself do all the dishes and prepare Baby Bug’s breakfast before I can get anywhere near a cup of coffee. It’s my treat for the morning and I want it to last as long as possible.

soothing circles

It could be a bit of a sugar addiction. I’ve been trying to cut down on sugar for years and for some reason this is one area that I just can’t kick it. I cannot stand any kind of fake sugar. I’ve tried them all and nobody’s foolin’ me. So I’m just kind of stuck. Happily stuck.

now about that hair!

Now off to do something about that hair! Maybe an external hard drive will help?


  • Gry

    Oh! We used to have one of those when I was a teen (oh sigh, it’s many years ago by now). We also had one you put on the stove to boil up and then the water bubbles up into another glass container and.. well.. it’s hard to explain but it looks like a science experiment…

    Seeing as I don’t drink much coffee we just stick to a “normal” coffee maker these days. Although I kinda feel sad about the Hello Kitty maker on your behalf, but it looks like I shouldn’t bother =D

  • BigGUM

    What kind of a tea kettle is that? Do you really love it? We’ve been through a series of bad ones and now the latest is dying and I’m scared to try again, but I need my tea!

  • Roz

    Oooo i love french press coffee makers. Now all you need is one of those electric hand-held milk frother thingys!

    Also, i have switched from sugar to honey in my coffee. It is divine! It is so smooth and really rounds out a good cup of coffee. Might be worth giving it a try if you’re trying to cut back on sugar :)

  • DeeJay

    We received one of these presses in a gift at Christmas this past year. I’ll have to admit that I am pretty intimidated by it. I have my mucho lovie Cuisinart that is stainless steel (dream kitchen appliances will be one day) that makes 12 cups but serves 1 at a time. I also have some old style perkolator kinds that you use over a flame on the stove…no plug in for them and you get to see the coffee perk in the glass knob on the lid. One I scored from my grandparents house and the other at an estate sale. Those two make the best coffee of all, honestly.

    So now that I’ve seen how to work the French press we now own I will venture out and give it a try. Thanks for the instruction. Maybe you can make us an instructional video on how you do it. It could be fun!!!

  • emily

    …after the fascination and adoring of our french press subsided (a good three years!), we began referring to the end-product as “cowboy coffee.”

  • meg

    Give the apron a break! In that photo, you look exactly like a French mère in the morning — a glamourous woman looking fake-frumpy.

  • Uncle George

    I have to agree with meg! I love the pic, just love all of them, Jo. You have the eye I wish I had. A camera in my hand for 35yrs and I still can’t shoot ’em like you do.

    The French stuff should really be a given…You are a Ponnay, after all. Sure, Dad insists we’re Swiss. OK, I believe him. But the Ponnay region is in France now, so who knows?

    I just finished rolling on the floor until my sides ached…”I’m to manly for my Banana Republic pants…” heheheheheeee! My carafe cracked on my crummy Toastmaster coffee maker, so I’m back to boiling water and using my crockery Melita drip…You are so right, grinding beans, the whistle of the teapot, pouring carefully, the smell wafting about, and then, MMMMM…Fresh Java!

  • Gretchen

    You rock, SAJ! Seriously, you are my favorite person in all the internet.

    I’m starting a fan club for you :-)

  • jessie

    I love french press also. Once you start you really can’t go back. I found a coffee shop near me that makes all their regular coffee in a french press. It makes me very happy.

  • Sarah

    I love love love my French press! It’s orange! My new thing is to warm up the milk and whip it a bit with this handy little handheld whipping thing from Bodum (it came with the press). Then I really feel like I am having a “cafe creme.” :)

  • Amy


    That’s how I make coffee!

    My husband is such the coffee snob we have no less than 10 coffee makers at any one time.

    I got a little single cup french press with some Baileys and chocolate I got for Christmas and it’s my very favorite coffee maker right now.


  • Alissa

    Being a lover of all things french you should call it a cafetiere. I love ours but my fav is an italian stovetop espresso maker – a moka pot. I think it is even better than our Pavoni espresso machine.

    I don’t think I ever saw your Hello Kitty coffee maker in any of your photos. Hello Kitty rocks and she must have been a real doll to last that long. I had a HK shower radio that recently broke after 2 1/2 years of faithful service. Who would have thought?

    How much sugar do you take? I’m a real sugar addict and have recently reduced my coffee/tea sugar intake. I have done it in the past by very gradually reducing the amount but it has never lasted long as sometimes my drink didn’t taste as good (it was probably just my husband using too little sugar :)) but I just went cold-turkey and halved my tea/coffee sugar and I’m happy and it has been a month or so.

    Also I love your idea of waiting to savour the coffee until you can really enjoy it. I will have to give that a try. I currently tell my husband that my son and I are awake and he brings me my half sweetened tea in bed while I check my email and read SAJ of course!!

  • Nicole

    ooo la la! I love french press coffee but in my head it takes too long and therefore reserved for camping!! I shall dig my frenchpress out an dgive it a go again. Good coffee beans help! Love the apron!

  • august

    I took 4 weeks off of coffee because I too cannot stand fake sugar. I don’t actually put sugar in my coffee because the many different flavored creams I use have enough sugar in them already. Anyway, I gave in today and made myself some with an International Delights Marshmallow Mocha… Ohhhhhhh sooooooo yummmmy.

    I have yet to try a french press but I too swoon over all things “Franch” so I’ll have to give in one day and buy one. Have you tried cold pressed coffee? I heard it’s the best… no bitterness whatsoever that even the biggest sugar in their coffee person can drink it sans the sweet stuff.

    Just a rumor.

    Love the pics as always… before I read your description of your hair and apron, I was thinking “awww, what a cute pic”.

  • KA

    Hello – this is unrelated to your current post, but I meant to add a comment about dummies… I wanted to let you know that I consider myself a well-adjusted adult, and think other people generally concur, and I had a dummy till I was five! My mum eventually made me leave them for Santa ‘to take to the poor children in Africa’.

    My sister was SEVEN – also now a very normal person – when she finally kicked the habit. My mum put together a chart for her, where she got a star for every day she didn’t have a dummy, with the prize of a Disney jewellery box if she held off for two weeks. She made it, but had misunderstood the deal – she thought she was getting her dummy back once the two weeks was up. My mum felt so bad for her that she gave her the dummy again!

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know – in case it was reassuring – from veteran dummy suckers that I wouldn’t worry about your baby at all!!

  • Jessica

    holy crap… I haven’t seen rollers like that since my 2nd grade tap recital.

    and now I want a french coffee maker press thingy… Do they come in red? I must have red.

  • OMSH

    Would you come make me coffee too? I have a French Press and am so hurried in the morning I don’t take that bit of time to use it. And yet, I WANT TO.

  • lisa

    Nothing is better than french press coffee. I have a whole ritual for mine…with a special combination of coffee roasts, ground a certain way. I also have a special little sauce pan that I got a thrift store just for heating my milk (to make the perfect cafe au lait). The saucepan works as a timer too–I know that if I fill it up to a certain level and turn my stove on to 4 the coffee will be ready just as the milk gets hot.

    These days I’m poor so I have to buy cheap coffee, and I get up at the butt-crack of dawn to go to work. That means the french press is in the pantry. Now I use a cheap-ass Mr. Coffee drip machine that spits and leaks, but it brews the 9 cups that my husband and I need to make it through the day. Some day when life settles down a little bit and I can afford my whole-bean stuff I’ll dig it out and indulge in the ritual. It’s five minutes that can totally change your outlook on life. I’m feeling more peaceful just thinking about it…

  • bethany actually

    august, I make cold-brewed coffee USING my French press! :-) I love it, though I do have to add sugar. But that’s because I am a wuss.

    OMSH, I will make you some coffee with your French press, dearie. See you soon!