American Press Unboxing Deets
By now many of you have received your American Press, and I want to make sure you have the best possible experience right out of the box, and for years to come, too, by sharing this post with a few starter brewing tips, basic care & use instructions that we’ll expand on more later (for now, just want to cover the basics), and links to further resources.
First, pretty please with nutmeg on top (just kidding, we drink ours black), read the paper “Tips & Cautions” insert that’s inside the retail packaging. Just in case, here it is in digital form if you threw yours away (for shame!):
A few starter tips:
And a few cautions:
You'll see basics brewing tips covered in the insert as a primer, which boil down to:
- Don't rush your brew! Use a combination of pre-infusion and pressing time to give your coffee grounds time to transform into coffee : )
- When you're done, keep the mess in the carafe and pod by angling the pod slightly just as you're about to take it out of the carafe. This allows coffee trapped on top of the seal to fall off the seal and into the bottom of the carafe where it belongs
(residual coffee in the bottom of the carafe is a normal part of the vacuum extraction of residual coffee from the pod that occurs when you pull the plunger out after brewing, so you might as well keep all the drips there!)
And the basic cautions:
- Don't use fine grind (the American Press is easy to press with fine grind, but gets harder to press with finer grind, which just boils down to physics)
- Don't use very coarse grind (remember, this isn't a French press, for easy pressin' and strong coffee, medium grind is the best balance, same as you'll find in pre-ground, conveniently enough)
- The rod is made of steel, just like superman. Unlike superman, it's going to be super hot after sitting in boiling water and hot coffee for a few minutes, so give it a few seconds to cool before handling it (it does cool rapidly, but not instantly). If you're in a hurry, the knob on the top can be comfortably handled at any time
- Please periodically check and tighten the pod top! As detailed below, it's designed to come off, but for the safety and longevity of the pod top, it's important to keep it tightened and snug against the washer that sits between the pod top and the bottom of the rod.
Heads up! (temporarily tight pod tops)
For the first few months, the snap attachment that holds the pod body onto the pod top will be a little tight. This is intentional to make sure it doesn’t become too loose over time (after a normal break-in period). To make it easier to get the pod off, I recommend pushing the lid up and away from the pod as illustrated below so there’s more room to grasp the relatively small pod top in one hand, and the larger pod bottom in the other, then just give both parts a good firm twist to detach).
Seems trivial but holding the pod like this makes it a lot easier to open the pod:
As a note, we did add as much texture as possible to the pod top to allow for better grip, but any more and it would have prevented the tool pieces that make the pod top from releasing properly, and your AP’s would still be undergoing R&D : )
HOW TO KEEP YOUR AMERICAN PRESS LOOKIN' SHINY & NEW
We’ve done a ton of testing on how the American Press holds up over time, and while it resists staining remarkably well even after being submerged in coffee for long periods, one unsurprising issue is that coffee can, eventually, stain parts, but all that’s needed to prevent this is regular washing (at least a once-a-week thorough cleaning, though daily washing with dish detergent and warm water is recommended to prevent staining). The issue is a hard coffee film can build up over time and, once that happens, it’s impossible to get it off completely, but it can be prevented with regular cleaning, so this is a case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The American Press carafe is top rack dishwasher safe, and the top should be as well, but we’re still working on aging tests to see how the top holds up to long-term dishwasher use (slight concern is high-pressure water jets getting water inside the lid, which is indeed only a slight concern as the lid is designed to be exposed to steam and to be self-draining, but a larger concern is how caustic dishwasher detergent will affect the high-polish finish). In the meantime, if you prefer to hand-wash the stainless steel lid, please note the most important part to wash is the pod top which, happily, comes right off, as pictured below.
The filter screen is also easily removable (it is held in place only by friction and pops right out). Whether you hand-wash or use your dishwasher, I strongly recommend routinely removing the filter screen before cleaning because that's the one place where coffee residues becomes trapped (between the underside of the pod top and the top of the filter screen), but it’s easy to prevent this and clean out any trapped coffee simply by removing the filter screen (also pictured below) and washing the the pod top and screen separately.
(please note, if you do remove the pod top for cleaning, there is a small washer that's press-fitted on the bottom end of the rod; it shouldn't come off easily but because welding it caused too much warping, it is just press-fitted on and can come off if pulled enough, so please just keep an eye on that to prevent losing that very small, but very important part)
And speaking of the removable pod top, we've tested the you-know-what out of the American Press and have done everything possible (within reason) to make it sturdy and last a long time, but one of the biggest concerns we have for longevity is keeping the pod top tight against the rod and that washer I just noted above (this is also noted in the Tips & Cautions insert and image above, as well) so please periodically check and tighten that pod top.
And on to brewing!
Every last detail on how to set up and brew with your American Press can be found illustrated by hand in our How it Works page. Now that you know the basics of both care & use, please head on over there for a nicely illustrated digital guide to walk you through your first brew, step by step (if you already dove in, more coffee power to you!):
And once you have cruised through your first few brews, please also leave us a review (or just read up on what other folks are saying) at our American Press Coffee & Tea Maker Product & Review (just click on the link, then scroll down a bit and you'll see 'em).
Cheers & very happy brewing!