When it comes to making coffee, the French press is an easy, efficient and intuitive method, which is why many coffee lovers start their foray into coffee gear with this accessible product. Just pour in grinds and hot water, set a timer, plunge and pour. Is it possible to improve a process that’s already simple enough though? As it turns out, specialty coffee brand Fellow (whom we’ve shared about time and time again) proves that it can indeed perfect the humble design with the latest edition to its product line, the Clara French Press. Available in Matte Black or Matte Black with premium walnut accents, the Clara separates itself from other French presses with its luxurious build and thoughtful details that will impress even the most passionate coffee aficionados.
Unlike most French presses which tend to have a glass carafe that houses the brew, the Clara features a Heat Lock Double Wall Vacuum that uses insulated stainless steel to maintain a consistently hot temperature for longer periods of time. In terms of ease, the Clara has an All-Directional Pour Lid, which means you don’t have to worry about aligning the spout in order to pour, and two Ratio Aid Lines (one for water and one for coffee grinds) help you make the perfect cup each time without needing a scale. The accompanying wooden Agitation Stick also ensures all the grinds are fully saturated with water with no dry clumps hidden below the water line.
A small though subjective pain point of French presses is that they leave behind a small amount of coffee sludge, made from the extra-fine, micro-particles that get past the filtration. Some don’t mind it, others would prefer a cleaner extraction. The Clara uses an Enhanced Filtration Mesh to ensure very minimal particles make it into your cup for a complex, full-bodied brew. Once you’ve made your brew, the non-stick interior coating makes cleaning, also another pain point of French presses, quick and easy so you can get back to your cup.
With Clara, Fellow elevates the experience of the French press and makes it easier than it already is, but we wondered, how else can we fine-tune this method? Because we’re not baristas, we tapped on Samuel Han, who runs Jeong Coffee with partners Nicholas Cho and Ashley Min, for some expert tips on brewing a good-tasting cup every time.
Firstly, what’s the meaning behind the name Jeong Coffee?
Jeong was inspired by my experiences working as a barista, where having pleasant conversations, enjoying the atmosphere, and observing heartwarming moments unfold in the cafe reminded me of something deeply rooted in Korean culture. The concept of jeong 정 (pronounced “jung”) refers to enduring feelings of warmth, affection, or attachment that people experience in their everyday lives. Although hard to define with no direct English translation, jeong is central to Korean society where it is common to treat even strangers like family. We started this project because we observed how jeong permeated many of the communal aspects of coffee and wanted to create a brand that highlights an important part of Korean culture that we find profound and universal.
We love that this is akin to the popular Danish concept of hygge! You launched this creative coffee project in the midst of the pandemic, which must have been no easy feat. Were there any set backs or key takeaways you’ve learned during this time?
Having launched during the pandemic as an online-only business, we’ve found that our biggest challenge has been conveying the intimate aspects of jeong through meaningful interactions. Since jeong is deeply tied to connections and familial love, we took time to think about how we could reflect thoughtfulness and extra care through our touch-points and unboxing experience. We’ve learned that small gestures and attention to detail go a long way, and we’re excited to continue finding new ways to connect with people especially as the world begins to reopen.
What’s your favorite part about running a coffee business?
Our favorite part about working on Jeong has been the people we’ve gotten to meet along the way. Roasting out of a collective roastery in Brooklyn has allowed us to be a part of a larger community of coffee professionals. We’ve also gotten to know other small business owners and creatives that have encouraged and inspired us throughout the process. It really means a lot to us when people reach out and send us supportive messages!
Now, let’s talk about French presses. What are some key tips to perfecting this already simple process to ensure a good tasting cup?
In terms of French press, we like to start with a bloom pour to saturate the grounds and give them time to degas. In the middle of the brew, we also suggest gently agitating the film that accumulates on top to sink floating grounds back underneath the surface and ensure all the coffee is being extracted. Once the brew is finished, we recommend pressing the grounds with the plunger slowly and pouring the coffee carefully so that you don’t disrupt the grounds at the bottom of the French Press. We find this method keeps coffee particles from rising back to the surface and results in a cleaner cup.
Editor’s note: A gooseneck kettle is nice to have for a precise bloom pour with little effort, but you can get by if you have steady hands. However, an at-home grinder is arguably your most important coffee gear because freshly ground coffee will always taste better, and being able to dial in the right grind settings is what will take your next cup of coffee to the next level.
I noticed you also already use other Fellow products! What made you choose Fellow over other options?
Yes! We love Fellow products because of their beautiful design as well as their intentional details that make home brewing easier and more enjoyable. We view Fellow as a trusted brand in the specialty coffee space because their elegant yet functional tools ultimately enhance the process of brewing a good cup of coffee for beginners and experts alike.
>>> Want to elevate your French press experience even further? Sip slowly and with intention using a great-looking mug. <<<
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