Review of Bodum French Press coffee maker 3 cup, 12oz, 0.35l

Espresso flavour on the cheap?

In a world where a robust espresso machine can set you back $600, the Bodum French Press 12oz cost us less than 30 bucks.

It’s a low-tech approach …

  • Spoon your coffee into the main container
  • Add boiling water
  • Wait … or, maybe not (see my “fake expresso” technique below)
  • Plunge down a sort of piston with a mesh on the end
  • Pour out your finished coffee

They’re a Danish company who’ve been around since 1944. So they’ve had a few decades to get the design right. The initial unboxing does reveal a certain quality of build: it doesn’t scream “bargain basement” at you. Rather, you’re handling stainless steel metal components and heat-resistant glass combined in a no-nonsense design.

But the price tag isn’t trying to portray this coffee-maker as a luxury. The proposition is solid value for money and after having used it at home for 6 months now, that would also be my assessment.

How big is “small”

I chose it mainly for its small size – I tend to be making coffee just for myself. But how big is it? The box says “3 cups, 12oz, 0.35 litres”. Personally, I find I can’t really visualize 12oz or zero point three five litres in terms of my morning cup of joe.

Can we make sense of “3 cups” as a size? Hmmm. Sounds like we’re serving coffee for three people, but how big are the cups? Wikipedia says a cup is 237 to 250ml. That definition would suggest this Bodum has a capacity of about one and a half cups, not three. That seems about right to me. I normally use it just for myself, but it’s no problem to get 2 servings out of it if I’ve got a friend over. But I’d struggle to serve coffee for 3 out of it.

How to make fake espresso

As you probably know, a “shot” of espresso is the basis of everything Starbucks do with coffee. It all starts with the “shot”.

I can use the Bodum to get a result that’s close enough to the Starbucks espresso taste that I don’t feel motivated to actually buy an espresso machine. Here’s how …

  • 3 heaped desert spoons of coffee
  • Pour on about the same amount of boiling water and stir straight away
  • Let it settle. Adjust the water so that the layer of water is about the same height as the layer of coffee. A one-to-one ratio.
  • One last stir
  • Plunge and serve

You should end up with a small amount of pretty strong coffee, that “shot”. Personally, I then dilute that with about twice as much hot soya milk, et voila: my flagship soya latte.

The verdict?

  • Simple approach: not much to go wrong with the device
  • Minimalist robust build quality
  • Tried-and-tested design
  • Flexible: you can vary the amount of water and coffee to get the taste you want
  • 3 cups? I’d figure on one and a half
  • Won’t break the bank

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