I purchased my first press pot, an 8 cup Chambord, at the beginning of my "coffee adventure." Three months ago, I decided that I wanted a smaller press pot that I could use to make single cups, so I did some research and found this Columbia 4 cup. First off, this press is far more stout and plump in comparison to some sleeker designed pots. It has a polished exterior with a brush interior. The entire carafe section is insulated, so the interior of the design is obviously straight up and down - no curved edges like the exterior. The top of the press is not insulated, but with the way I use the pot, that is not an issue. The whole unit is very light and easy to clean. The filter is plastic with a rubber seal that wraps around the edges to seal the filter to the walls of the carafe. The filter material is a fine micro-mesh with what appears to be two layers. It is a very fine mesh design compared to other press pots on the market.
As with all press pots, there is a standard instruction set that most people use, or begin with, that calls for a coarse grind, 4 minute steep, and a plunge. I have adopted a different method that has worked very well for me and I share that below.
- Bring water to a boil, pre-heat press with hot tap water, and grind coffee to a coarse setting. Be sure not to grind overly coarse. I look for a nice tight coarse grind, which may be finer than what some look for.
- When water cools down to 201, dump water over grounds being sure to agitate them sufficiently. Begin timer for four minutes, and place a small saucer over the top of the press. I use a sauce because my water level is often too high to full press the plunger top into the carafe and I find that ceramic plate works well.
- When the timer is finished, I remove the plate, and I break the crust up with a soup spoon. Then I slowly scoop out all of the "scum/foam/bloom" that is left on top. It usually takes me 3-4 scoops to get it all out and I place it into a cup that I have right next to my press. After the break and scoop, I secure the plunger, and plunge slowly and evenly until I reach the bottom.
- At this time, I allow the coffee to settle for 15-20 seconds, and then pour very slowly.
Using a home roasted Columbian, the results using this technique, with a brew ratio of 27-28/400ml, have been great. The coffee has an almost oily/syrupy body with a rich fruitiness. Overall, the coffee is less bright when compared to a paper pour over, but the body is highlighted in a big way. Using this method, and a quality burr grinder, the sediment in the bottom of the cup is minimal. I find that the scoop removes a lot of floating fine sediment in the foam and makes the press quite smooth. I have also seen no issues with over extraction when I allow the coffee to settle after plunging. This technique is one that I learned from Tim W.'s website. Jimseven has a good video of the technique on his blog.
Between the exterior look of the press, the ruggedness of the metal, and the heat retention capabilities this has to be one of the top press pots on the market. Take that for what it is, as I have only used one other press pot before. I make this call based on the qualities that I would look for in a press pot and what the Columbia has. It absolutely is an expensive brewer, but there is no reason for it to not last a decade longer than any glass french press. Used in the correct manner, and don't let yourself think that there is only one way to use a press pot, the Columbia will produce a delicious cup of coffee.