I switched from a Keurig to this French press with over 2,400 Amazon reviews and a near-perfect rating - it's worth the extra few minutes to use
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- I recently made the switch from my Keurig single-cup coffee maker to this 34-ounce Coffee Gator French press.
- Though it takes a little longer to brew, I'm really pleased my choice. This French press is easy to use, makes a great cup of coffee, and looks nice in my kitchen.
- It's not super cheap at around $45, but its features - like an insulated carafe to keep your coffee hot - make it a worthy investment.
Chaotic weekday mornings happen more often than I'd like to admit. Either the subway is running behind, my hair isn't cooperating, or I need to run back to my apartment for my phone. Despite the unpredictable chaos, one thing is certain - I always have a cup of coffee in hand.
I drink black coffee, meaning a bland brew can't hide under a ton of sugar and cream. Since my early high school days, I've counted on my trusty Keurig machine for my morning coffee fix, and though my colleagues claimed that I needed to "up my coffee game," I was hesitant to make a switch.
After talking to our team's coffee expert, Owen, I finally caved and decided to try a French press. Not knowing anything about how a French press works or what specifications to look for, I resorted to the review section on Amazon. I ended up settling on the large, 34-ounce French press by Coffee Gator. With over 2,400 reviews and an impressive 4.6 stars out of five stars, I was willing to give it a shot.
The Coffee Gator French press comes with three separate pieces - a vacuum-layered stainless steel carafe, a double-layered filter, and a to-go container for grounds (great for camping). You can choose one of five colors for the carafe, and each one is built from military-grade steel. I got the gray one for $42.99 and was pleased with the sleek design, packaging, and the durable feel of the product.
One of the best features of the product is the vacuum-layered carafe that keeps the coffee hot for longer. Most French press devices are single-walled, meaning that the hot water will cool quicker since it has closer contact with the temperature outside the container. The double-layered wall is a strong insulator and keeps the heat sealed inside the container - I noticed that my coffee stayed hot for over an hour, eliminating the need to microwave my second cup (and this size holds quite a few cups).
As an avid Keurig user, I didn't know how to gauge the quality of the filter, so my coffee-knowledgeable teammate checked it out and agreed with reviewers - it seemed to hold its shape during the drop test and fit flawlessly in the carafe to avoid grounds flowing into my mug.
I'm used to popping a pod into a single-serve brewing machine or going next door to my nearest coffee shop, so I was hesitant about putting in extra time and effort to use a French press. To my surprise, the process was actually pretty simple.
I use the grocery store grinder to grind my coffee beans, but if a grinder isn't available, you'll want to purchase pre-made medium to coarse-ground coffee for best results. You can also grind your own whole-bean coffee beforehand. Once you have the French press and coffee grounds, you'll need to heat water - Coffee Gator recommends using near-boiling water at around 200-degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your supplies are gathered, follow these steps:
- Measure the grounds and water according to the Coffee Gator recommendations - approximately two scoops (4 TBSP) of grounds per cup of coffee.
- Add your pre-ground coffee to the bottom of the container.
- Pour the hot water into the carafe, stir, and cover with the lid (making sure the filter is at the top of the container).
- Let it sit for four minutes.
- Open the container, stir the contents, and replace the lid for another five minutes.
- Push the plunger down slowly and as far down as you can.
- Pour the coffee into a travel tumbler or mug.
I found that the suggested process worked almost perfectly. The brew wasn't as strong as I would like it to be, but could have been a result of the water temperature, time, size of the grounds, or the water-to-coffee ratio. I tried a second batch with more grounds and my coffee came out much stronger.
Things to consider
The recommended coffee grounds-to-water ratio might not be ideal for everyone, but it's not too much of a hassle to go through some trial and error to figure out what works best for you.
When it comes to the French press itself, I didn't encounter any major issues. At 11.9 inches tall and 5.8 inches in diameter, it might pose a storage issue in a small apartment, but other than size, I didn't have any problem using it.
Some Amazon reviewers claimed that it was difficult to clean and that the filter scraped the interior of the carafe. I didn't find much difficulty cleaning it and the entire process took under two minutes. I simply dumped the grounds from the container, rinsed the carafe with a small amount of dish soap and water, and left the carafe and filter to air dry on a towel for a couple hours.
The Coffee Gator doesn't include a cleaning brush, but I didn't feel like I needed one after a couple uses. After a week's worth of use, you might want to give the interior a scrub with a dish sponge. I don't recommend putting it in the dishwasher because some reviews on Amazon reported that it caused the paint to chip.
Though my experience with my new French press has been pretty flawless, I'll report back after an extended period of time to see if any issues arise.
The bottom line
The Coffee Gator French press seems to be a great option for the price, and I was happy with the detailed instructions and ease of use. The process of brewing a few cups of coffee from start to finish took under ten minutes, and I appreciated the ability to control the strength of my brew - an advantage of using a French press versus a single-cup coffee maker. I would recommend The Coffee Gator to anyone looking for a quality cup of coffee with a minimal investment and minimal hassle.
Take a look at some of the best French presses we've tried here, too.
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