What could be missing from the world of triple shot, extra foam, anything-you-want coffee? A To-Go cup of French press coffee. Actually, Peet's new version is pretty clever. And who knows, it just might cleanse our fussy nonfat, double latte souls. Right. We'll settle for promises of a better cup of coffee.
Peet's version is a press and cup in one, or really a fancy plastic lid with a filter and plunger. Basically you state your favorite beans, which then are ground as you wait and added to the cup size of your choice (this was not supposed to be a Cleavage Cupcakes commercial). After the barista adds hot water, you get the instructions -- wait three minutes, then press down the plastic plunger and snap it into place. Much as we tend to favor simple culinary gadgets over the next Infomercial special, anything that promises a really great cup of coffee gets our attention. And so we tried it. Turn the page for the pros and cons of coffee plunging on the run.
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The problem is in that three minute wait. The lid looks like the sort of thing that if you mess with it, you'll inadvertently move the plunger and wind up with coffee grinds in your drink, so we asked our barista how to add a splash of milk to our coffee. She said we had to wait for the coffee to brew and press down the plunger first. Not a problem in theory, other than it means this is really an "after 3 minutes" To-Go cup. We could wait by the coffee stand during the morning rush (not good idea), or fill up a second cup with a splash of milk, which we did -- with much waste-not/want-not guilt.
But the plunger lid did actually work. Better than our glass French press at home, actually, in terms of the amount of coffee grinds that didn't wind up in our mouth. And the coffee was excellent. Still, we doubt the French press To-Go lid will be the McRib equivalent of the coffee world.
The barista at our local Peet's said she sells only twenty or so a week -- all of nothing in coffee lingo. "The French press is sort of intimidating," she said while refilling an espresso handle to make some sort of extra hot, no-foam, double-sweet latte creation. "And a little complicated. Customers seem to like things that are simpler."
At least when they're making the coffee themselves.