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Monday 18 March 2013

Coffee made simple with Oxo Good Grips and Douwe Egberts

The UK is partial to a morning coffee hit; but why are we so quick to reach for the instant rather than a simple fresh ground coffee? 

We love our coffee although we tend to go for tea first thing and start on the coffee for elevenses and then again after dinner in the evening.

A recent survey by OXO shows that 6 in 10 of us prefer instant to ground coffee because of the hassle ground coffee poses, not just in preparation but in cleaning up afterwards too. That was until OXO took away all the hassle with their new French Press.

The French Press (£35) is a modern twist on the traditional cafetiere. Housed in a sturdy stainless steel and glass carafe, the innovative ladle ‘the groundskeeper’ catches and contains ground coffee in a jiffy, removing the used grounds in one simple step.

For optimum brewing and the perfect cup every time, simply add hot water to your ground coffee using the measurement markings for guidance; stir, steep, plunge and pour. It can serve up to 8 cups, so when your friend pops round for a coffee, no need to re-brew.

To clean forget banging, scooping or scrubbing; simply lift the groundskeeper out of its carafe, wash and drip dry.   

I was fortunate to be able to test-drive the Oxo Good Grips French Press along with a selection of Douwe Egberts coffee.  

House Blend:  for those who want a delicious ground that tastes perfect every day this smooth, full bodied European-style coffee is prepared with a classic blend of the finest beans.  (Strength 3)

Café Milano:   when only a traditional Italian-style coffee will do, this smooth, laid-back blend with a hint of spice evokes the flavours of Milan and is perfect to relax and escape with.  (Strength 3)

 Fired Up:  for those who love to savour a rich, intense coffee this powerful, espresso-style blend is created with dark-roasted beans to bring out the delicious, intense flavours of spice and chocolate.  (Strength 6)

We found the 'Fired Up' coffee a bit too bitter and strong for us, so we made our own blend, mixing it with the House Blend worked rather well for us. 

Douwe Egberts have put together 10 top tips for making great coffee in the French Press and I've added my comments! 

Warm your OXO French Press: You wouldn’t put hot food on a cold plate, so don't put hot coffee in a cold French Press. Pre-heating your French Press with boiling water keeps your coffee hotter for longer and improves the flavour. A cold French Press will add bitter flavours to your coffee.  This is definitely a good tip, we still found that the coffee cooled more than in our filter coffee maker which has a heating element in the base.

Let your coffee 'bloom’: When you add your coffee to the French Press, add only a little hot water first, just to cover the coffee, then stir before adding the rest. This allows the coffee to 'bloom' releasing all the trapped aromas. No strong feelings about this.

Stir in a cross pattern: When stirring your French Press, stir in a cross pattern rather than round and round. This ensures all the coffee grounds are agitated and gain maximum exposure to the water. Again, I couldn't really taste any difference.

Never use boiling water to make coffee: This burns the coffee grounds and gives the coffee a sour, burnt taste. Once the kettle has boiled, leave it for one minute, which should allow it to cool to an optimum brewing temperature of approximately 90/95 degrees. We NEVER do use boiling water whether it's ground coffee or instant coffee.

Add lemon or salt: If you drink your coffee black, adding a slice of lemon to the French Press with a lightly roasted coffee will bring out the citrus notes in the coffee. Similarly, adding a pinch of salt to a French Press of dark roasted coffee will highlight the dark caramel and nutty flavours.  Still to try this sounds intriguing.

Wait! Once you've filled and stirred your French Press, leave it to brew for at least three minutes. After that, break the crust to let most of the grounds sink, scoop any remaining grounds off the top, put on the lid, plunge and enjoy! Absolutely!

Use the groundskeeper from your OXO French Press: Once you've finished your coffee, you can remove the grounds with no mess using the OXO groundskeeper, and re-use them for all sorts. Coffee grounds make great fertiliser and if you're feeling brave, can even be added to shower gel as an exfoliant! Mine goes into the compost!

Keep your French Press clean: Coffee is full of oils, which is why it has such a special aroma, but the oils also get everywhere, so make sure you clean your French Press after every brew otherwise the oils left behind can go stale and taint your next coffee. This is a good tip, but it would have been better if the French Press was dishwasher safe.

Don’t wait! After your first cup, don't leave your French Press for too long before drinking the rest of your coffee. Coffee (like all hot drinks) will go stale if left brewed for too long. Any more than an hour and you'd be better off brewing fresh, to get the best cup!  This is a top tip, it will cool quickly as well as becoming slightly bitter and stewed.

Take the plunge: When you plunge, make sure you plunge straight down and not at an angle otherwise you will end up with coffee grounds in your coffee cup. We still found a few coffee grounds, although cleaning the French Press was much easier than with other cafetieres.

 OXO UK have a French Coffee Press up for grabs on their Facebook Page  it runs until this Thursday, 21st March 2013.

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