A French press is a handy tool for making coffee, but there’s a lot else you can do with it too, from frothing milk to making cocktails.
Perhaps you’ve recently invested in a Keurig or the like, on top of which the changing of the seasons has inspired you to go all Marie Kondo on your kitchen. The French press coffee maker you once relied upon—but that has now been relegated to the nether regions of your cabinet—seems a likely candidate for removal.
But before you thank your French press for its service and send it away with the rest of the no-longer-useful items, consider that your French press is good for more than just making coffee. Functioning as a filter, a carafe, and even a pump, it is even good for much more than simply steeping beverages.
Even if it is no longer employed in the making of your daily brew, these 9 ways to use your French press can help move it back into the useful, and “sparks joy” categories.
While pod machines might produce an acceptable, even admirable cup of coffee, the delicateness of tea can never adequately be reduced to capsule form. But no need to go rifling through your utensil drawer for the infuser—used gently, the French press filter can do the same job, with the added bonus of being able to make more than one serving at a time. That’s the tea!
Rare Tea Company Loose Chamomile Flowers, $8.99 on Amazon
You haven't had chamomile until you've had full flowers bloom in your French press.
The French press can be used for cocktails broadly: The pump can do a bit of the aeration that shaking provides, or it can serve as a vessel for large-batch, stirred cocktails. It is especially handy for sangria: After the fruits have appropriately macerated, the filter allows them to be held back while you pour.
Homemade oil infusions are far superior to store bought in terms of freshness, plus you can control the intensity of the infusion to your liking. A large batch of a homemade oil infusion made in the French press can be portioned out to smaller bottles for holiday gifting.
Oil Dispenser Bottles, Set of 4 for $21.99 on Amazon
Homemade oil infusions make great holiday gifts.
Many grains benefit from rinsing before cooking: farro, some types of rice, quinoa, etc. The reason for doing it is primarily to rinse the starchy film that tends to form on small-particle grains, resulting in a less-sticky outcome. If this is a step you’d otherwise skip for the fact that trying to rinse tiny grains in average colanders is, frankly, annoying, French press to the rescue! Use the filter to separate the grains from the water, drain thoroughly, then remove the grains with a rubber spatula.
The French press doesn’t go so far as making foam, but so long as you’re making fancy pod coffee, you might as well have a little frothed milk to go with it. In the same fashion as whipping cream, a little pumping action with milk or half and half gives you a nicely frothy result.
Related Reading: More Ways to Froth Milk at Home
A long simmered stock is a fine thing—if you have the time, space, and wherewithal. A simple broth can come close however, in a fraction of those resources. Bouillon or conventional broth can be transformed by a quick infusion of aromatics, herbs, and vegetables. Your French press makes this exceptionally time and space efficient.
Vegetables such as mushrooms and some chilis are prized in their dried form, extending their shelf life and making them easier to store and use. The French press is an ideal vessel for rehydration, because the “press” function helps to keep the dried components completely submerged for more even hydration.
Yes, this is technically still coffee. But hot-brewed coffee chilled to be drunk tomorrow isn’t the same as cold-brewed coffee and you know it. There just isn’t any device that can produce the same outcome. Actually, there is. It’s your French press. So maybe you can re-employ it during the summer months and let your Keurig sit in the cupboard for a change. Get our recipe for Cold Brewed Coffee.
Mueller Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker, $25.97 on Amazon
For coffee, cold brew, and all of the above.
Header image by Chowhound