The French coffee press could very well be one of the most important innovations of the early 20th century. Little did Italian designers Giulio Moneta and Attillio Calimani know that the device they patented in 1929 would become one of the most important portable devices among coffee-lovers anywhere. It is very simple to operate. Within minutes, one can enjoy a fantastic brew. As simple as the design of the French press may be, it has plenty of other uses. In case you are at a loss as to what other functions you can expect from this unpretentious coffee-making wonder, then read on. Here are 10 amazing uses of the French press coffee maker:
1. Make Tea
Contrary to what you may believe, coffee is not the most popular drink in the world; tea is. This does not mean you can start ditching your handy French press coffee maker. The good news is that the device can become an excellent French press tea maker. Conventional tea-making practices call for steeping a teabag in a cup of hot water for a few minutes. The longer the steeping process, the stronger the tea flavor.
Now, there are those of us who would prefer making tea out of fresh tea leaves. The only issue with such an approach is that you will have to make do with the bits of tea leaves in your drink. These can get on your lips or worse, your teeth. Turning the coffee maker into a French press tea maker solves that problem. It contains a mesh strainer that should function like a tea bag. You get to enjoy the full-bodied freshness of tea leaves without the worrisome bits of leaves.
2. Cold Brew Coffee
There is a growing fan base of cold brew coffee. And why not? Cold brew coffee provides a richer and smoother coffee. Its greatest advantage is in its lower levels of acidity. One of the reasons why some folks do not like coffee is that it can aggravate their hyperacidity. Cold brew coffee is about two-thirds less acidic than traditional piping-hot brewed coffee. In other words, it is friendlier to the tummy.
Using a French press to make your own cold brew coffee makes perfect sense. There is only one thing you have to understand: while hot coffee brewing methods can deliver great-tasting brews within minutes, you’d have to wait 18 to 24 hours to complete the cold coffee brewing process. So, the coffee you prepare today will only be ready for your consumption the next day.
3. Froth Milk
Folks who love lattés and cappuccinos will also love the French press. No longer do you have to buy a steam wand or boil milk and whisk it until it becomes frothy. Not only is whisking very messy on your stovetop, it can also be uncomfortable for the arms. A French press coffee maker can get you the rich, frothy milk for your cappuccino in no time.
Pour your chosen milk in the French press. Warm it a bit in the microwave, but do not let it boil. Take it out from the microwave and put the lid, filter, and plunger mechanism in the French press. Now give it several brisk pumps. You will notice your milk becoming frothier. Get your cup of coffee and pour the frothy milk like a barista.
4. Make Whipped Cream
If you are into baked goodies and want a rich and fluffy whipped topping, then the French press can be a handy tool. Forget the wire whisk and toiling all day, trying to whisk cream until light and fluffy. It works like making frothy milk for your coffee latté or cappuccino. The only difference, of course, is that you will use heavy whipping cream instead of milk.
Fill about half of the French press carafe with the heavy cream. Now put on the lid assembly and start pumping. This is a lot easier and faster than using a traditional wire whisk. Of course, a mixer will come in handy. But if you only want an instant whipped cream topping for your dessert, then the French press is here to help you out.
5. Rinse Grains
Rinsing grains such as faro, quinoa, and rice can be challenging for some people. They may use a strainer to help separate the grains from the water. In so doing, some of the grains can get stuck in the small holes of the strainer. Some folks do not also like to use a strainer. Instead, they pour out the water and catch any grain that may fall.
A much better way to rinse your grains is by using a French press. This is as easy as pouring the grains in the carafe. Pour water and put the French press lid assembly. Push the plunger all the way down and watch as the grains separate from the water. Keep the plunger in its position and turn the carafe upside down. Empty the contents in your pot and get cooking.
6. Drain Defrosted Foods
One of the inadvertent consequences of draining frozen food items is that they tend to form condensates. This leaves a lot of moisture in thawed food items. When it is time to cook, you will have a soggy dish. There must be an easy way to draw out excess moisture from thawed frozen ingredients. And there is.
The French press can be a worthy moisture extractor for thawed vegetables. Put your shredded potatoes, spinach, or any other thawed food item in the carafe. Press on the plunger to squeeze the excess moisture from the food item. Drain the water and you can get ready to cook. The downside is that you can only put food items that are small enough to fit in the French press carafe. It is still a neat extra use of the French press.
7. Mix Drinks
If you fancy a cocktail, the French press can be an invaluable tool. There is no need for a cocktail mixer that can slip from your hands. The French press as a cocktail mixer is a great tool to concoct instant drinks to serve your guests after office hours.
Mixing your drinks using a French press is almost similar to frothing milk or making whipped cream. Put all of the cocktail ingredients in the French press carafe and close the lid. Next, pump the plunger up and down. Watch as your ingredients get mixed into a fancy drink. Pour the contents into a tall glass or a cocktail glass and you’re done. If you prefer having the pulp in your cocktail, you can remove the lid of the French press first before pouring in a glass.
8. Infuse Oils
Are you a fan of flavored oils? For instance, do you always find yourself using both olive oil and garlic in many of your dishes? Well, infusing spices and herbs into your favorite cooking oil is now made a lot easier with the French press.
Add your favorite spices and/or herbs in the carafe. Pour olive oil or any other oil that you often use for cooking. Put on the lid and let it sit. Every now and then, press on the plunger to help extract more flavor from the herbs and spices. This allows them to infuse into the oil. Once you’re satisfied with the concentration of the infused oil, press the plunger one last time. Pour the oil into its container.
9. Rehydrate Dried Food Items
Dried food items are exceptional ingredients to use. Dried mushrooms, for instance, can have more robust and more concentrated flavors than fresh mushrooms. The only problem is that you will have to soak these dried food products for quite some time to reintroduce moisture into them.
With the French press, you can simplify the process of rehydrating your dried foods. Put the food product in the carafe of the French press. Fill it with hot water and put on the lid assembly. Give it about 3 to 5 minutes to rehydrate. Once done, push down on the plunger and drain the water. This is a cool and easy way to rehydrate your dried food items.
10. Infuse Water
For health-conscious folks, a better way to stay hydrated is by drinking infused water. This is plain drinking water that’s been added with choice herbs and/or fruits. The natural nutrient goodness of the herbs or fruits or both gets infused into the water when left overnight in the refrigerator.
Using a French press, you do not need to buy an expensive infuser water bottle. The French press can now serve as your infuser. Put your chosen fruit or herbs in the French press. Cover it with filtered water and put in the lid assembly. Place the French press in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, take it out of the refrigerator, press down on the plunger, and enjoy your version of infused water.
There are more than a hundred possible uses of a French press other than making coffee, of course. You only need to unleash your imagination to further expand its versatility.