How to Save a Million Pounds: An Ode to My French Press

I’ve developed a pretty serious caffeine dependency in the last few years. Like any addict, I need my fix to get through the day. At this point, my body pretty much aches for coffee first thing in the morning and then again in the middle of the afternoon. Buying coffee in town, though, while delicious and social and always my first choice, gets very expensive at any rate. So I needed to find an alternative option. (Besides, of course, cutting back on my caffeine consumption.)

Enter my one-cup French press, a.k.a. the most valuable thing in my kitchen. While I would have loved a Nespresso machine and accompanying milk frother, I really needed a more budget-friendly, less time consuming apparatus. And, frankly, no one wants to hear milk steaming so early in the morning.

My French press has lent itself nicely to a little morning ritual. While the kettle is heating up, I spoon two big spoons of coffee grounds into the press. It can be a bit of a struggle to find regular, ground coffee in the bubble, but I’ve found a good option at Balgrove Larder, and I’d bet that Starbucks would grind whole beans in store for purchase.

The morning spread.

The morning spread.

Right now, though, thanks to a real moment of parental overindulgence, I’ve been using grinds sent to me by my mom. They’re from my favorite local bakery back home, and every time I make a cup of coffee with them, it’s like being right back in Cleveland for a hot sec.


The WhatsApp message I sent my mom when my coffee arrived.

The WhatsApp message I sent my mom when my coffee arrived.

However, considering it costs a small fortune to send packages across the Atlantic, I’ve only got till the bag runs out to enjoy this daily moment of transcendence.

Once the water has reached a boil, I let it sit in the kettle for a moment or two. While I make my breakfast or dance around the kitchen in my pajamas, the water is able to cool just a bit. This, according to an article I read on GQ’s website while trying to figure out this whole French press business, prevents the water from scorching the grinds once in the press. Burnt coffee is the worst, so I’m happy to delay my coffee drinking for the extra minute in order to prevent this nightmare.

After filling the press with water, I give the whole mix a quick stir and put on the lid/filter/press top. Then I set my phone’s timer for four minutes. A frantic early-morning Google search the first time I made coffee with my press yielded this number, and I’ve found that it results in a consistently strong, yet not at all bitter, brew.

Don’t forget to set your timer!

Don’t forget to set your timer!

When the alarm sounds, I press down slowly and watch as my coffee glimmers in the morning sunlight, free from any grainy grounds. Nothing makes me happier than pouring my coffee into my favorite mug, topping it off with some almond milk, and heading into my room for a leisurely drink.


In just the few weeks we’ve been at school, I’ve already earned back the cost of the press (and then some!) by not buying coffee each morning in town. And it makes it so much easier to justifying buy an afternoon flat white if I’ve made my own earlier that morning. Cheers to that!

Images courtesy of the author.