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Making coffee is simple, but there are a number of factors to take into account when it comes to meeting your needs. Perhaps you’re looking for a fast prep and brew process, or maybe taste is key. Either way, there are lots of methods to choose from.
Since coffee requires two key ingredients, water and coffee beans, to come together, there are different ways to make this happen. With the advance of the convenient household appliance, automated methods of brewing coffee became popular. However, many still like a simpler manual process when making a cup of Joe.
The French press is perhaps the most popular manual method, but it has a rival, Softbrew, which has more recently been attracting the interest of coffee connoisseurs. We take a look at the different approaches each method takes.
Softbrew vs French Press Review
The invention of the Softbrew, also known as the Sowden Softbrew, happened very recently. It is a device invented by George Sowden in 2010. The method of brewing is often compared to that of a teapot, which the device closely resembles, as the coffee grounds are immersed in water.
In comparison to the Softbrew, the French press has a lot more history. The concept is said to date back to the 1850s, and the first patent was filed in the 1920s. Since then, several adjustments and improvements have been made to the design. It can also be referred to as a press pot or coffee press.
You’ll need the Softbrew pot to make coffee in this way. There is a porcelain pot that looks very much like a teapot. The second aspect is the infusion cylinder that goes inside the pot. This cylinder acts as a strainer or filter and is made from stainless steel with incredibly fine perforations.
The French press is a similar construction in that it has a cylinder and a filter. However, the French press has a stand-alone glass, ceramic or stainless steel carafe or cylinder, and then a plunger which has a mesh filter attached.
Place the metal cylinder, also known as the filter, inside the porcelain pot. Add coffee grounds to the filter. Pour in half the desired amount of boiling water. Stir the mixture and then allow it to settle. Fill with the rest of the water required and stir again, then leave with the lid on.
The process of making coffee in the French press is similar. The plunger needs to be removed and set to one side. Place the coffee grounds in the cylinder, pour the desired amount of hot water over the grounds, and stir.
The brewing process is pretty simple. Leave the pot with the lid on for 3-4 minutes to achieve a good brew, for a stronger finish, leave it for a few minutes more. Remove the filter from the pot and then pour your coffee.
The brew time for the French press is similar. Leave it to sit for around 3 minutes for a decent brew. Steep it for longer if you prefer a strong cup. Once the brew is complete, gently press down on the plunger to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid. It is best served straight away.
Since the perforations in the filter are so small, you might have more leeway with the grind that you choose. Aim for a medium grind, but you can experiment and go finer if you prefer. As always, freshly ground coffee beans taste best, or you can get them already ground.
You will need to use a coarse grind for the French press, but some models can handle a medium grind or a medium-coarse grind. You can grind your own coffee beans or purchase pre-prepared coffee grounds. There isn’t much room to experiment with fine grounds here, as they might pass through the filter, resulting in a gritty cup of coffee.
Getting the Best Results
Placing the filter in the pot and pouring in hot water is a good way to warm things up. Always discard the water before continuing the preparation process. The pot holds 32oz of water, match that with 65g of coffee for a good balance. The temperature of the water should be between 195 and 200 degrees.
A French press also benefits from being warmed up before brewing. Add a small amount of hot water, swirl, and then pour away. Try to serve your coffee as soon as possible; if it sits for too long in the cylinder, it will grow bitter. We recommend one cup of water and one tablespoon of coffee grounds for each serving.
The Softbrew is pretty easy to clean. Once you have removed the filter, you can tip the wet coffee grounds straight into your compost or garbage. The pot and the filter can both be washed in the same way, use dish soap with warm water and a cloth, then rinse well.
Remove the plunger and add some water to the cylinder to loosen the grounds in the French press. The simplest way to remove the grounds is to use a strainer; you can then dispose of the coffee grounds in your compost or garbage. Add dish soap and water to the cylinder, then replace the plunger and push it down several times to get the water moving. Use a sponge or a brush to clean and then rinse.
- Easy to clean
- Infusion process means fewer grounds in your coffee
- Equipment not as readily available
- Great flavor profile
- Fast manual process
- Messy to clean
We hope you found this Softbrew vs French Press review helpful. Although the French press process isn’t complicated, using a Softbrew means that making coffee is even simpler, and there is less mess. The flavor profile is similar, but the ease of use makes Softbrew a winner.