I have been using a Bodum 8 cup for over fifteen years, having transitioned from a Chemex with filter paper and then a gold filter. This is a variation of cowboy coffee in which the grind is in the cup. An intense cup is very easy to produce because extraction is dependent upon the fineness or coarseness of the grind, amount of grind, and the time allowed to extract. In a sense, it is a throwback to the idea of close to maximum extraction at minimal cost. It is only within the last seven years that I went to a burr grinder from the inexpensive whirly blade whacker. In those pre-burr grinder days, I bought Peet's roasted coffee beans and then Graffeo roasted beans. In the last two years with the advent of the Hearthware Precision Roaster, I discovered home roasting and the quality of the coffee went up tremendously.
In my opinion, the recommended coarseness of grind is way too coarse, especially if you see what Peet's recommends. I use a Pavoni PGB and that degree of coarseness is difficult, if not impossible to attain. The key to outstanding coffee with the French Press is the evenness of the grind. That implies a more costly burr grinder because no amount of shaking or pulsing the whirly blade will come close to what a good burr grinder will do. My first burr grinder for the Bodum was a De Longhi which I gave away after a year and went to Pavoni. Even so, the De Longhi @$100 produced a stunning cup of coffee compared to the whirly blade. The difference was not subtle because there were less ultra fine particles that were inevitably over extracted, resulting in bitterness. The Pavoni was even better, a lot better than the De Longhi grinder in what ended up in the cup. The fineness of the grind with the Pavoni is at 8 out of a possible 9 setting. Because the grind is finer and more even, extraction time is minimal. Not the two to four minutes or more that is typically suggested once all the water has been added. Once the coffee is dispensed directly from the grinder into the Bodum, hot water is poured onto the grind to wet the grind. I will fill the Bodum about a quarter of the way up (it should be soupy enough to stir) and then stir with a metal tablespoon (be careful not to bang the spoon against the glass), then fill the glass Bodum to about one inch from the rim to allow for easy pressing and avoiding a squirting mess when the plunger assembly is put to place. Total time from pouring in the first of the water to finishing the pressing is about 90 seconds. Yes, there is resistance and that is all the more reason to have thicker glass supported by metal struts. If the grind is too fine, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to press and possibly dangerous with shattering glass (which has never happened to me). Adjust the grind so that it is pressable, but if you should run into a little too much resistance, you can pull the plunger up and then repress. I use an electric air pot to heat the water, although one could also use the tried and true kitchen kettle. The suggested range for the temperature of the water ranges from 190F to 202F. The electric airpot that I use maintains a water temperature of 208F. I estimate the amount of water that I will need and pump it into a one liter thermal carafe. This serves two purposes, the large mass of water heats the thermal carafe and cools the water down to about 200F. Immediately after pressing, the coffee is poured back into the pre-heated thermal carafe. With the thermal carafe, the extraction process is immediately stopped. The internal temperature of the coffee inside of the carafe is now 170F and the temperature will drop pretty slowly so that the coffee is still more than hot enough at 20 minutes plus. Still I would suggest preheating the cups prior to pouring in the coffee. Cleanup is straight forward and easy - disassemble and wash with warm/hot soapy water with a sponge and brush out the nooks of the plunger assembly with a toothbrush. The grind can be used as a compost. The stainless steel assembly at the end of the plunger, a three layer sandwich, needs to be Urnex'ed (a cleaner used for espresso machines and air pots) or something equivalent to that every so often. It is amazing to see a brown residue float off what appears to be a very clean stainless steel surface.