What is the Most Popular French Press Coffee Maker?

The French Press has always been one of my favorite coffee makers for a very long time. It is known by a number of different names all across the world but no matter the name is, personally, I feel that that a French press coffee maker is able to coarse the ground coffee beans more finely than a drip coffee maker is able to do. This ranking data of coffee maker provided by Coffeedx shows popularity of Keurig in market.

Today, we take a look at the Bodum Red Chambord French Press Coffee maker. It is among the best single serve coffee makers and one of most uniquely designed coffee makers which would look like a welcome addition on your kitchen shelf.

Pricing

Bodum is well respected around the world for delivering top-notch coffee makers and other accessories at a very justifiable price. The Chambord 8-cup French press from Bodum is another in those long lines of affordable coffee maker from the manufacturer at just $43.

Build Quality

The French press from Bodum is available in 4 different sizes. These include a 3, 4, 8 or 12-cup option where each coffee cup measures 4-ounches. The body of the French press is made of a durable and heat resistant borosilicate glass which can be detached from the metal frame. The top lid of the coffee makers is made out of stainless steel and is polished to provide a mirror finish to the brewer.

The Plunge

This French press coffee maker includes a 3-part filter system which is made entirely out of stainless steel, a press knob and a plunger rod. The plunger works effortlessly on the coffee maker and can be easily assembled by hands. The filter system is very nicely designed and is capable of doing a great job of separating the coffee from the grounds.

Taste of Coffee

We have been greatly impressed by the overall quality and the taste of the coffee which is produced by the Chambord. The strength of the coffee is very much constant to our liking with a full-bodied flavor. The bitterness is also missing from the coffee which is an added bonus for us.

Ease of Use

The one thing that absolutely struck to our mind while using this French press was how easily we were able to control this coffee maker. It only requires you to grind your coffee beans coarsely, stir the ground beans in hot water and press. The process might not be as easy as compared to an automatic drip coffee maker but is nonetheless very easy to understand and follow.

Cleaning of the coffee maker

All the parts of the Chambord French press are dishwasher safe. You can easily disassemble the parts and wash them separately using your hands with minimum efforts. Also, you can soak these parts in soapy water, rinse clean them and wipe a towel over them to dry.

Brewing Process

The brewing process of the Bodum Chambord involves you having to boil the water for your coffee on your own. You need to allow the ground coffee to steep for about 4-5 minutes. The whole brewing process takes around 10 minutes which is normal as compared to other French press coffee makers.

Final Thoughts

You would be impressed with the overall build quality of the Bodum Chambord. It looks very elegant and is quite sturdy. The taste and the quality of the coffee are second to none which makes it as one of the best single serve coffee makers in the market. Addition of a milk frother to this brewer allows you to make other coffee drinks such as cappuccino and latte effortlessly.…

MONDAY MUNCHIES: How to make the World’s Best Coffee?

Since I am currently hankering for a nice cup of coffee after we ran out of cream this morning (ARGH!), I thought I’d share a quick how-to on the subject.

While I may not be a barista in a fancy apron, and I’ve never had the pleasure of owning a costly contraption that will create a handsome espresso at the push of a button, I can tell you that the stovetop espresso maker is a thing of equal parts beauty and brilliance.

Revel in its shining, low-cost IKEA glory:

coffee maker

You’ll definitely want to get yourself a stainless steel espresso maker, and not an aluminum one—particularly if you have one of those schmancy ceramic-top stoves, which warn you that aluminum may actually MELT on them! This is mostly for reasons of taste. And if you’re concerned about Alzheimer’s. And if you like your stovetop items to last longer.

Anyway, the thing is pretty impossible to screw up, unless you:

  • Forget to put in the water;
  • Don’t screw it together tight enough, as the expanding metal might do something unpredictable, like spew out hot water and scald you; or
  • Keep it on the burner too long and scorch the bottom.

Okay, so it requires a bit of parental supervision, but you’re an adult and you like a challenge, right? Hey, man, I didn’t say this was going to be EASY; I said it was going to be GOOD.

Right, so the steps here are actually pretty simple, despite my previous dire warnings. All you have to do is:

  1. Fill the bottom piece up with cold water. You should use filtered water for better tasting coffee, and only fill the thing up to just underneath the little release valve (i.e. that knobby thing).
  2. Put the filter dohickey on top of the bottom piece, and fill it up with espresso. Not regular coffee, but actual espresso, ground for a stovetop device. (Or just grab a can of Lavazza at your grocery store for about $6.) The recommended dose is 1 T. of espresso per 3/4 c. of water. Don’t tamp it down, just layer it gently.
  3. Screw the top part on pretty tight. No need to get all Hercules on it, but make sure you put some pressure to get it properly screwed on there.
  4. Place the machine on one of your stove’s smaller burners and fire that puppy up! My espresso maker’s instruction booklet said to use a medium-high heat to slowly bring the thing to a boil, but I’m impatient and usually switch it on high, to no discernable ill effects.
  5. You’ll know when it’s done because it’ll start making a sound kind of like an airplane taking off. In case you aren’t sure, and you’re the impatient type with your burner on high, there will probably be a lot of steam emanating from the lid as well. You can take the espresso maker off the stove now, preferably using a potholder of some kind as that little plastic handle can get pretty hot, and either let it sit for a minute to cool down a bit or pour it directly into your favorite mug, shot glass or latté bowl. Add a little cream and sugar and you get the following:

coffee maker

Why yes, I do like my sugar with coffee and cream! Thanks for noticing. You may prefer yours a bit more black, in which case I salute your manliness.

So there you have it, the world’s best coffee, at home. How do you like YOUR coffee?

How NOT to get swindled by cheap wine

As you may know, we are suckers for some great wine deals here at Shoestring Austin. And we’ve found a lot of inexpensive wines that actually—gasp!—taste good, for about $5. But what about the ones that can trick you into thinking they’re a great deal?

Basically: how can a frugal foodie avoid getting hoodwinked by some cheaply-priced—and cheap-tasting—wine that isn’t worth its weight in pennies?

A few tips:

  • Judge the labels. This may sound like the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to be doing in life, making snap judgements based on how pretty or ugly a thing is, but hey, it’s not like we’re talking about someone you’re out on a date with. It’s just wine, and we’ve found that bottles with inordinately overdone graphics (or particularly underdone ones—think stick figure drawings or Comic Sans types of fonts) are usually trying to make up for the fact that the wine inside ain’t all that great. You don’t need to be a design snob to pick a winner but, in general, those with more “traditional” fonts (Times, Arial and the like) tend to taste better. Follow the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple, Sweetie!) and you’ll be able to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
  • Priced to move? AVOID! Here’s how we got taken in at a recent trip to the H-E-B: Beaulieu Vineyard Coastal Estates 2008 Chardonnay was on sale for only $3 (down from an original price of $9), and there were 2 bottles left. It was a steal of a deal, and I believe I even commented to Celebrity Intern “How low can you go?” Now, please remember that we previously purchased both the delightful Gato Negro Malbec and Sea Ridge Chardonnay for only $3.99 a bottle, so we knew good prices could be had for decent wine. Taking a chance on this one, we snapped up the last 2 bottles. BIG MISTAKE! While this tip depends on the retailer, to some extent, if you’re at the grocery store pondering a bottle that costs less than $3.99, we’d advise jumping up just a buck or two in order to avoid this particular brand of heartache.

bad wine

 

  • What’s hot? Who cares? Celebrity Intern and I were recently browsing the aisles at the “upscale” H-E-B in our neighborhood (y’know, the one that caters to the hipsters?), and there was a guy stocking the shelves who asked if we needed any assistance. We said we were just trying to decide, and he remarked that Zinfandels were on sale. Celebrity Intern rather cuttingly replied, “Yeah, we’re not old ladies,” to which the stocker replied, “Touché!” After we’d made our selections and moved on, I asked Celebrity Intern “Didn’t you read the Chronique this week? Apparently Zinfandels are all the rage!” To this, I believe he snorted, implying that the masses don’t know jack, and that the authors of the Chronicle’s food section are just pulling the wool over the herd’s eyes. While Food & Wine may know its shit, and you may want to start exploring wine guides if you’re serious about your vintages, it’s doubtful that the local paper has much to offer in the way of expertise. Follow your nose, your wallet and your eye for design no-no’s instead. After all, it’s what YOU like to drink, not what some “critic” thinks, that matters.

In the end, we did manage to snag an almost-as-cheap wine that was loads better than our Coastal Estates mistake. For $4, pick up a bottle of Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2009 from New Zealand and consume with a nice pork loin. Your taste buds will thank you.…

Freebie Friday: Perfume and weirdness

This week, having discovered the wonderful world of free beauty samples (thank you, Sephora!), I thought I’d share a quick round-up of some of the free perfume samples out there. These are just a few of the scents I was able to locate online with a Google search, and it seems like most perfumeries are happy to send potential customers a sample spritzer if you ask nicely.

 

Free Perfume Samples

fridayGucci (Guilty)

Lacoste (Joy of Pink or Touch of Pink for women; Challenge, Essential or Essential Sport for men)
Thierry Mugler (Womanity)
In other beauty giveaways, WalMart is currently offering samples of Cover Girl’s latest product, a foundation called NatureLuxe. How much more “natural” a fake cake for your face could be, we don’t know, but if you’re into that whole concept, here’s a chance to check it out.

And over at Philosophy, if you sign up for their mailing list, a sampler of free best-sellers will be added to your first order of $25 or more. For those who like to try new things, this is a nice add-on.

Weird Craigslist Freebies

Would your week really be complete without a little good, old-fashioned Austin weirdness? We think not. Hence, our top oddities via the Austin Craigslist free section:

view mail

  • Free Sphinx! (unfortunately, this one has been deleted by its author, but we grabbed the screenshot, at right, to prove it was there)
  • 2010 Halloween candy!
    Volkswagon bug “which was burnt in [a] fire”!
    20 ft-tall concrete cisterns!
    Large landscape rock!

Get ‘em while they’re hot!

P.S. Cami is graduating from beauty school in a few weeks and needs to prove she can do 12 types of cuts, so please stop flagging her “Free Haircuts” ads, already, and get yourself a damn free haircut! Geez, people, do you want another Beauty School Dropout on your hands?…

NEW FOOD TRUCK: The Giggling Goat

Austin, as you may already know, loves its food trucks. There are special little lots devoted to these meals on wheels, down on South Congress, and there are various pop-up eateries popping up all over the city every day.

Well, guess what? A really great one just popped up in our neck of the woods, and boy, are we excited!

austin

The Giggling Goat is located in South Austin, and it’s currently stationed just outside the AMLI apartment complex at 1620 East Riverside. Celebrity Intern and I have been driving past it for weeks, wondering when it might pop open its magical hood for some lunchables, but after consulting the all-knowing Internet, we discovered that they are only open for dinner.

You May Also Watch:

AHA!

So, first word of warning: don’t go looking for some sweet lunchtime eats, just yet. Perhaps, in time, this will be a swinging spot for the mid-day meal, but for current operations their hours are 4 to 9 PM (Tues-Thurs), and they’re open until 10 PM on Fridays and Saturdays (i.e. they’re closed Sundays and Mondays, too, so plan accordingly).

Great! So now we know where they are, when they’re open, and they’ve got a menu posted, so we notice they’ve got some hot bistro style foods on the menu: the much-recommended Cabrito Burger ($7), the Yelp!ers delight Soft Shell Crab Sandwich with Eggplant Fries ($7.50), and a Grilled Vegetable Napoleon for the veg-lovin’ types ($6.50). All of the items on their menu are under $10, despite their gourmet snob-appeal, so this interests us broke-ass foodies. We follow our noses down by the water on Saturday night to sniff what there is to sniff.

Oh, did we mention it’s BYOB? This will be even sweeter when the weather shapes up and that little pergola with its retro lawn chairs is offering a bit of shade from the glaring sun!

Parking is a little jammed, being that the AMLI residents are taking up most of the spaces (bummer, but I guess they live there and all…), but we snag a spot by the Radio Shack and mosey on over. We sniff. We sniff again. We smell delicious things and consult their chalkboard menu to confirm our selections.

Celebrity Intern ordered the Soft Shell Crab Sandwich, but was disappointed to learn they hadn’t any crab defrosted. Doh! I had originally planned to order their Sautéed Crawfish on a pan-fried squash cake, but reconsidered and ordered up one of the Cabrito Burgers instead. The owner/chef Chad Nunez was on hand, and offered us samples of a skirt steak with pumpkin risotto while we waited, so Celebrity Intern switched his order to that. We were impressed by the risotto, even by the spoonful, and I told him I was totally going to be stealing bites.

It was a chilly night, so we got our meals to go, and told the chef we would definitely be back for seafood delights (especially having accidentally bought a bottle of white wine in anticipation!), and zipped home to taste our morsels.

Chef Chad warned us not to give him a bad review without letting him know what we disliked, as he said he wants to make all his customers happy and will make everything right so long as you let him know what was on your mind. This is truly a great attitude! Plus it helps that he has nothing to fear, as his food is delightfully delicious. I think we may have even licked our take-away boxes clean…

austin blog

Celebrity Intern gives his Skirt Steak/Pumpkin Risotto combo an A++ and is busily attempting to reverse-engineer it in our kitchen for his own gastronomic pleasures. Personally, I’m more interested in the Pumpkin Risotto, which offered a creamy blend of caramelized onions, pecorino cheese and green onions folded into a tasty rice and pumpkin mixture. Mmm.

austin food

My Cabrito Burger was a densely-packed steaky burger slathered in honey mustard (which, incidentally, Celebrity Intern hates, but which I happen to love), a mild white cheese (white cheddar? mozzarella? I think I may have actually inhaled it before I really processed this, but I was happy to see it was NOT orange!), and sunflower sprouts, along with some salsa-sized chopped tomatoes and sweet pickles. The burger was definitely one of the tastiest I’ve had from a restaurant (we do like our home-style burgers with stinky cheese, after all), and I really enjoyed the sweet-and-salty combination of the sweet potato fries. Yum.

VERDICT: Give the Giggling Goat a whirl for dinner some evening. We’re definitely going back to try the Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches, one of these days, as we were impressed with their simple but tasty take on these dishes. We also look forward to warmer weather so we can laze in their trailer park with a bottle of wine and watch other customers enjoy their meals. We predict good things for this little goat, so get down to South Austin so you can say you’ve been giggling since the beginning!…

How to make great burgers AWESOME

Ok, remember how we gave you the secrets of amazing burgers once upon a time? Well, listen up, cus we’ve added some new details.

STEP 1: USE THE MOST DELICIOUS CHEESE MONEY CAN BUY

food

That cheese? Is Cambozola, a mixture of Camembert and Gorgonzola. Penicillin never tasted so good. Blue cheese + creamy Camembert = tastebud orgasm.

STEP 2: ADD BACON

add bacon

What doesn’t taste better with bacon, I ask you? Get some bacon, put it on a couple of layers of paper towel in a microwave-safe pan. Nuke it for 5 minutes, flip the bacon over, and then continue to heat it for another 2 or 3 minutes until it’s nicely crisped. No fuss, no muss. (Just be sure to cover the bacon with another layer of paper towel to keep from spattering.) Do it while you’re cooking your burgers, and you’ll be golden.

STEP 3: LOW-CARB BUNS

Okay, so maybe this sounds like we’re taking some of the fun out of the deliciously indulgent triple-creme Cambozola and the bacon and the juicy, fatty burger? But seriously, who cares what the bun tastes like when you’ve got this much delicious piled onto one tasty burger? Not I, my friends. So to hell with the “proper” buns; go buy the thin ones and savor the meat instead of the carbs. Yum!

Follow our directions for tasty burger perfection, and then add these gourmet fixin’s to really impress your guests. Or eat ‘em alone and enjoy the kind of heavenly tastes God herself might salivate over!