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I enjoy a good cup of coffee, sometimes feeling the stronger the flavour the better, and have recently been using a rather nice espresso machine to quench that desire. But before that I quite like to use a rather different type of device, one which was a lot easier to use yet managed to create a cracking cup of coffee for me and my guests to enjoy. This particular device I refer to is in fact a jug looking creation and goes by the name of La Cafetiere Coffee maker. This particular Cafetiere comes in a few sizes, cup sizes that is, a 3 cup, a 4 cup, an 8 cup and a 12 cup size, and it is the 8 cup size I am talking about today. ** WHAT IS IT..? To be perfectly honest it is simply a glass jug with a wire mesh, or filter, slotted inside its inner circumference which is attached to a rod, or plunger. 'Raw' coffee is dropped into the jug, topped up with hot water, and then the wire mesh is pushed down with the help of the plunger. Thus creating a strong cup of coffee without chewing on the coffee 'beans'. It sounds simple and it is, but it certainly makes a lovely beverage every time. This particular cafetiere is, as I said, the 8 cup size and is 171mm, (including the handle), x 108mm x 229mm high and weighs in at just over 900 grams with the metal parts being made of chrome. It stand on four quite pleasantly designed little feet, lifting the hot glass off any surface. These four legs extend upwards onto the glass container forming four sort of brackets which hold everything in place. There is a good sized handle on the side which will allow for the largest of hands to grip around. As for the lid, which the plunger slides up and down through, this lid is the same sort of style as the legs with a dome top where the plunger 'grip' protrudes from. Caution... This 'grip' can get a little warm if the contents of the glass container stand for a long period ** MY OPINION... I have owned this cafetiere for ages and remember when I first bought it I used it all the time, although I did remember that the freshly made coffee could go cold quite quickly if I was drinking it on my own, I mean, five good coffee one after the other can take some time. And the only reason I stopped using it was because I started using a different beverage maker. But recently I found this in the cupboard and decided to give it another go, remembering the taste of the finished product and how easy it was to use, and that hadn't change one bit as it was like riding a bike, so to speak. Since starting to re-use this one, after rescuing it from the back of the cupboard, I've realised what I was missing and how truly easy it is to use. Using it takes very little practice, only having to get used to the speed you plunge downwards as too fast will spoil the flavour. All you have to do is put a few scoops, (tablespoons), of coffee into the glass container and slowly fill it to the top of the highest ring with boiled water, then, with the plunger fully up into the lid, put the lid onto the container. Leave it for a few minutes to 'cook' before doing anything else, this timing depends on you taste preference. Then, this is the trickiest bit, slowly push down on the plunger so that the coffee beans are sent to the bottom of the container where they will stay out of the way and not end up in you cup. That's it, it's simple. And due to the way the legs keep the heat from any surfaces it is placed on it saves any damage to your precious Chippendale tables and Queen Anne cabinets. The handle on the side is ample size and can easily accommodate those with 'larger' hands, but be aware that as the glass can get hot when in use you should take care when holding. Please beware though... It may be only lightweight when empty when it is filled with water it can be a little on the heavy side, so, as it's hot water, do take care when handling. But as for the 8 cup size, well, I don't know about cup sizes regarding drinking mugs (and bra sizes come to think of it), but this one certainly doesn't give 8 normal 'cup' sizes, unless they are small cups of course, but it does give nearly five, as I like to call, 'normal' cup size coffees with no trouble at all. The cafetiere is made of strong stuff and can handle a fare few knocks, with the glass container being heat resistant, obviously, due to the fact that you have to pour boiling water into it. The filter itself, the one connected to the bottom of the plunger, is made of fine quality stainless steel and, even after this long, has not 'frayed' one bit, although it does look well used with the staining being firmly attached. But, as the mesh itself is still intact the coffee underneath does not have any chance of getting through into my cup of coffee, although, to be honest, a few dregs do manage to get through, (do these coffee beans have digging tools or something?). I find cleaning it is as easy as cleaning a long cup really, being a simple matter of rinsing the container through with some fresh clean water and a little knock of the filter, together with a bit of a dip under running water tend to get it clean enough to use again. You can give the filter a thorough clean using a plastic wire brush but I only do that every so often as I find that a quick clean does the job. So, what about the price for this easy to use coffee maker? the cost varies drastically, ranging from under £10.00 to over £35.00, depending on the size (cup) version, but this particular sized one, (the 8 cup) I bought a while back for just under £25.00, which I think is certainly good value for money. In all, this is certainly a must for coffee lovers, especially those that don't want to go through the hassle of those complicated machines that take a degree in Nuclear Physics to get going.
La Cafetiere is the original style plunger for filter coffee, just like you get in many hotels. They come in 2 finishes - chrome-plated on stainless steel and 24 carat gold-plated on stainless steel. The glass beaker is heat-resistant; the filter and plunger are made from stainless steel. I prefer these types for filter coffee rather than the electric coffee makers you now get. You can choose any brand of filter coffee you wish, including flavoured. And best of all you can make it as strong as you like. You put the coffee in first with the plunger at the top, then you pour on the hot water and leave to stand, just a few minutes for weak coffee and as long as you want for strong coffee. I suggest you use a tea cosy over it if you like strong coffee as the water cools very quickly! Then when you are ready you slowly plunge the plunger to the bottom and pour your coffee. The downside is you will get some loose coffee bits in the bottom of your drink, but the authentic taste and smell is worth it. The major plus of these cafetiere is they are cheaper than electric coffee makers and cleaning is a doddle you just rinse them out and the flass can even be put in the dishwasher!
I've had my Cafetiere since 1982, and I still use it regularly. Within the first year a friend who was staying at our house broke the glass jug insert, but I managed to replace it, and have been using it since with absolutely no problems. It's had one new mesh filter in all that time. It's very easy to use. You measure out the amount of coffee you need for the number of cups you're going to make, and then pour boiling water into the jug. The lid has a plunger going through it with a three-part filter, the middle layer being a fine wire mesh which is held rigid by the two rigid outer filters. The filters screw on and off the plunger making them easy to take apart and clean. When your coffee/boiling water mix has had a few minutes to blend, you place the lid over the top of the jug, and press down on the plunger. This pushes the filter down through the coffee, allowing the liquid to pass through the fine mesh, but pushing the grains down to the bottom of the jug and isolating them. Hence the description French-press coffee maker. It's so easy to clean. Everything comes apart. I usually separate the three layers of the filter and put them in the cutlery compartment of my dishwasher. The same with the lid. The glass jug goes on the bottom shelf of my dishwasher, and even though I know you can wash the stainless steel jug holder in the dishwasher, I prefer to give it a quick wash by hand. This is because it has a wooden handle, and I'm afraid that the wood may deteriorate if I put it in the dishwasher. The only drawback I can think of is that there are no measures on the side of the jug, so if you want to make less than 8 cups you have to guesstimate. I love my cafetiere. It makes the best coffee, it's easy to use, and it's easy to clean. An 8 cup Chrome Caffetiere like mine costs £35 at John Lewis. If you think about how long I've had mine (with no maintenance costs), it's excellent value for money.