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A new type of French Press? Is that even possible?
We have been using the modern version of the French Press for over 60 years without any thought of changing it.
Well according to Capra it is not only possible they have a product all set to go.
The new innovative French Press is called, appropriately, the Capra Press coffee maker!
First, let us review a brief history of the French Press and then see how Capra has innovated to change its design.
Brief History of the French Press
According to Wikipedia “the French press has undergone several design modifications”. The first coffee press was invented by Mayer and Delforge in 1852 (yep, the basic French Press design has been around for over 170 years).
However, this early version of the French Press consisted of a… “a metal or cheesecloth screen fitted to a rod that users would press into a pot of hot water and coffee grounds”. This early version of the French Press did not have a seal that is an important component of the modern French Press.
The French Press design was modified and patented in 1924 by Marcel-Pierre Paquet dit Jolbert. However, this particular design didn’t seem to go anywhere. More precisely, I’ve not been able to find out what happened to this design.
The design of the French Press then passed from the French to the Italians (so maybe it should have been called the Italian Press?).
According to Wikipedia “In 1923 Ugo Paolini filed patent documents relating to a tomato juice separator and he developed the idea of making a coffee pot with a press action and a filter.” He later assigned his patent to Italian designers Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta. These two designers then patented the new design in 1929.
I haven’t been able to discover the reason that Ugo Paolini assigned his patent to Calimani and Moneta. People may reassign patents for various reasons such as not having enough money to continue with the patent or getting paid for the reassignment. Whatever the reason I hope Ugo got a good deal.
Faliero Bondanini made several further designs and patented his own version in 1958. Wikipedia says that this new design was “manufactured in French clarinet factory called Martin SA under the brand name “Melior”. This turned out to be a popular design and is the form of the modern French Press.
Perhaps, since it was manufactured in France, we should still call the coffee maker a ‘French Press’ even though it was designed by an Italian?
What is a French Press?
“The modern French press consists of a narrow cylindrical beaker, usually made of glass or clear plastic, equipped with a metal or plastic lid and plunger that fits tightly in the cylinder [with a silicone seal] and has a fine stainless steel wire or nylon mesh filter.” Wikipedia
The French Press has many names around the world it is also known as
- cafetière à piston
- caffettiera a stantuffo
- press pot
- coffee press
- coffee plunger
James Hoffmann in his fantastic book ‘The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing’ says “The French press, also known as a cafetière or coffee plunger, is probably the most underrated method of brewing coffee. It is cheap, easy, repeatable and just about everyone has one at home.”
James also has some great YouTube videos showing how to brew coffee with a French Press. You can use the same technique for brewing coffee with the Capra Press and probably get even better coffee!
You may also like to read our posts about the French Press such as French Press vs Drip Coffee- Which Brewing Method Is Best for You? and The Perfect Cup: 7 Pro Tips to Making French Press Coffee. Similar posts are also shown at the bottom of the page.
Capra Press. A New Innovative French Press
Capra was founded in Canada by two sisters, Mia and Zoey Knobler, and partner, Jeff Polster.
According to Capra’s press release… “Mia, Zoey and Jeff set out to redesign the French Press in 2020. As life-long coffee lovers, the trio took a deep dive into at-home coffee brewing devices during the pandemic, when many of their favourite coffee shops closed their doors.
While they tried different brewing methods, they found themselves returning to the French Press despite their love-hate relationship with it. They loved the full-bodied flavor of coffee from a French Press, but noticed recurring issues with the ones they tried.”
There were two main issues with the traditional French Press:
- The mesh filters would stay in contact with the coffee grounds after plunging, leading to over-brewed and bitter coffee.
- The French Press wasn’t easy to clean. In particular, rinsing the coffee grounds down the sink led to plumbing issues, but trying to scoop them out was difficult and messy.
As Jeff explained…“It’s my job to notice bad design, and it became increasingly obvious to me that there were many design aspects of the traditional French Press that were being overlooked to the detriment of the user experience.”
“We love not just coffee, but the ritual of making coffee, and wanted to create a product that took into account the whole experience,” Mia adds.
It took Jeff and partners about two years to research, design and test before coming up with a new design that is now the Capra Press.
They now claim that the Capra Press to be… “one of the most innovative French Presses to hit the market in recent years.”
The principal innovative features of the Capra Press include…
- a removable bottom with a non-stick coating that can be easily unscrewed to access and dispose of coffee grounds.
- a sealing filter that separates the grounds from the water after pressing to prevent over-brewing, and keeps the grounds in the bottom compact for easy disposal.
- a vacuum-insulated carafe to keep your coffee hot
- built with food-grade stainless steel
In traditional French Press filters, coffee grounds stay in contact with brewed coffee and old grounds build up between filter layers.
Long Steep Times + Old Coffee Grounds = Burnt, Stale Tasting Coffee.
Consequently, a particularly innovative feature is Capra’s patent-pending filter system seals off brewed coffee from grounds after pressing. This stops you from over extracting your coffee. Essentially, when you’ve decided your coffee is done brewing, the Capra Press stops the brewing process.
You can also use the Capra Press for brewing tea and cold-brew coffee.
Capra Press currently comes in 1-liter size (about 38 fl. oz) and can brew up to 4 cups of coffee.
Crowdfunding Capra Press On Indiegogo
The makers of Capra Press currently seek funding to manufacture their innovative Capra Press. Crowdfunding is a popular way to help innovators, inventors, and manufacturers raise funds for their new products or services.
The price of the Capra Press on Indiegogo is currently $85 which is a discount from a potential retail price of $85.
It is more expensive than the common French Press which have prices from USD$25 to $40 and an insulated French Press is about USD$55 (normal retail). However, Mia has this to say about the price of the Capra Press…
“We understand the Capra Press is on the higher end. We have spent a lot of time considering the price, and based on our numbers, the price of the Capra Press reflects the realistic cost to deliver it without compromising on quality or innovation.
We have weighed the trade-off that would be required in quality to lower the price, and decided we want the Capra Press to maintain its high quality and be a product that will last a lifetime.”
This sounds fair enough to me. The fact that the Capra Press makes it easier for me to clean up after making my infusion brewed coffee is a big plus . I also like that it is relatively large at 1 liter, has a stainless steel build, and is insulated.
I haven’t had chance to review the Capra Press yet because it is only a prototype at the moment. However, when I get one to try I’ll update this post.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the frequently asked questions you can find on Capra’s Indiegogo page…
What is Indiegogo?
Here are the words from Indiegogo itself:
“Indiegogo is an online crowdfunding platform that brings Users together and allows Users to seek to raise funds for their own Campaigns and to contribute to the Campaigns of others. Campaign Owners can offer Perks to Contributors in thanks for the Contributors’ donation of funds.”
A ‘campaign’ is a fund-raising effort by a particular person, group, business, or company. If you invest in a campaign then you may receive the product or service advertised and this is called a ‘perk’.
However, you should understand that Indiegogo is not a shopping platform which means that even if you do invest in a product or service you may not receive the product or service.
As detailed in the Indiegogo terms of service
“Indiegogo Does Not Guarantee that Campaigns Will Succeed or that Perks Will Be Delivered or Deemed Satisfactory. By contributing to a Campaign, Contributors are supporting an idea, project, or cause they care about and want to help make happen. Like anyone getting in on an early-stage project, Contributors accept the risk that the Campaign may experience changes, delays, and unforeseen challenges, or that a Campaign, and its Perks, might not come to fruition”
So the main message here is ‘investor beware’ and only invest what you can afford to risk. OK?
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