For our special theme day on coffee, I decided to review the Bonjour Montano French press &mdash not because it's new (it came out in 2007), but because it was by far the coolest looking commercially sold French press out there. I was digging the brushed stainless steel leaning-tower-of-Pisa look. It makes eight cups of coffee, which was perfect for when I had a pancake birthday party for my dog Malcolm last weekend. At $70, it's on the high end of the French press market, but think of it as an investment into the overall coolness factor of your kitchen appliance collection.
I tested the Montano with Peet's Arabian Mocha Java, a full-bodied French roast that takes like chocolate. Yum. French presses are great because they don't have filters, which means you get stronger coffee and you end up tasting more of the natural flavors and oils in the coffee bean (in a regular coffee maker, those often get trapped in the filter). The Montano also has a rotating steel screen that separates the grind from the liquid so that the coffee lasts longer in the press. The steel encasing also kept it hot for a good half hour. The only down side is that you can't see the coffee, so if you're one of those gauge-by-color people, it won't work for you.
By the way, here are some tips on making a good French press:
* Make sure your beans are freshly ground and coarser than for drip coffee.
* Let the water sit after boiling for half a minute so you don't scorch the beans.
* 2 Tbsp coffee for every 6oz of water.
* Pour just enough water in to cover the beans first, stir it, and then put the rest of the water in.
* Push the press down halfway and wait three minutes; then push it down all the way.
* Put it in your fave mug and drink it.
The pot of Arabian Mocha Java for Malcolm's pancake party came out great. There was a nice foamy bloom at the top, and the flavors weren't compromised.