I come from a generation that used coffee percolators. They were rather odd things to be sure but they made a pleasing noise even if they were a bit awkward to use. Then came instant coffee, which was disgusting back then and for my money still is.
The Cafetiere (or French Press, which sounds like something a gentleman might treat himself to in Soho) was a real breakthrough, easy to use and it did make damn good coffee – if you didn’t give yourself third degree burns by pushing down too enthusiastically on the plunger.
Capsule devices that came later like Nespresso aren’t bad but they do rather limit your options as the capsules aren’t always easy to buy. especially if, like me, you bought the Betamax of machines (which I won’t name here), but which seems to have been abandoned by most shops that used to sell its capsules. Sigh.
Basically you could call it a Cafetiere that you can drink directly from. Add coffee to the main jug, then add your (off the boil water, because boiling water kills coffee). Wait a few minutes then press down the inner sleeve which has a bottom made up of a fine strainer. When the sleeve is fully depressed it contains your drinkable coffee with the grounds safely on the other side.
You can now pour it out into ordinary cups, or add milk and put on the rubber cap that has a handy hole to drink from. The insulation of the outer sleeve is so effective that it’s completely cool to the touch, so you can take your coffee’to go’ and perhaps join those curious people you see drinking out of their own coffee cups on station platforms at 8 am.
On our test we found that the coffee did indeed taste very good, better than the same coffee from a Cafetiere. This may be down to the fact that the micro filter at the bottom is very fine indeed and stops any coffee grounds getting into your hot beverage, but unlike a paper filter does allow the essential oils through.
We were a little cautious, worried that when pressing down on the inner sleeve a geyser of hot coffee would erupt all over us, but in fact the silicon gasket does a perfect job of forcing the liquid to pass through the filter and not go up the sides. Not much effort is required, but you do need to fit the rubber cap to the inner sleeve before pushing down as the top of the sleeve is rather sharp.
I’ve stopped using my Cafetiere now, the Impress holds a good two mugs worth of good coffee and keeps it drinkably hot a long time, at least an hour. It’s perfect for working at the desk, but the actual lid is a bit awkward to drink out of, a design flaw that is not the end of the world but does go against the’on the move’ concept slightly.
All in all we liked this simple idea and the build quality is good, which along with the excellent coffee it produces justifies the price of around £30.
Buy the Impress Coffee Maker at Le Cafe Shop online