Looking for the perfect press
February 20, 2013 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Hi, all. This should be fairly short, so here goes: While suffering through the Influenza of 2013, I ended up watching a ton of episodes of Danger Man on DVD, only to become entranced with this particular object, which I've made a screenshot of.

Beautiful, right?

I know it's a combination french press/serving pot. My question are, are these still made, and if so, where can I acquire one?

My interests are twofold:

1. I work in a coffeehouse, and we're constantly having discussions about how to allow customers the ability to order personal pots of coffee without the attendant hazard of glass-walled presses, or the modern ick associated with even high-quality plastic presses; this looks like it's potentially made of metal, which would be helpful.

2. I...lust after this thing. Not on the same level as, say, general moral competency, or debt forgiveness, but it pops into my arena of awareness often enough for me to go "Where did those get to? Are they not manufactured anymore? Is my Search-engine Fu failing me? AARRGGG."

Any kind of helpful answer, even an answer that suggests or confirms that these kind of french presses are not in existence anymore, is appreciated.
posted by Minus215Cee to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you type in "ceramic kettle french coffee press" there are some results similar to what you are looking for (I think this one or this one looks the closest to the one in your picture).

I am not sure where to purchase the ones in the picture (I could only find it on a bulk retail website), but they do indeed exist.

(oh, and thank you for this post. I love coffee presses and now I know more than glass presses exist).
posted by littlesq at 8:18 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This looks like the French Coffee Biggin at the end of this page. The page says they discontinued it in 1964. It looks like a drip brewer rather than a press - and definitely not metal.
posted by payoto at 8:19 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some Etsy searching indicates it might be a version of a Neapolitan coffee pot.
posted by MsMolly at 8:20 PM on February 20, 2013

For a café it might be simplest to get a few Vietnamese coffee makers, which look like this and are cheap and non breakable. You'd have to experiment a little with the best grind and quantity but then you'd be good.
posted by zadcat at 8:21 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

There are less elegant metal ones that you can find around. Here are a few: etsy, these alibaba options which includes one that is a lot like the one you screenshot or this fancy thing.
posted by jessamyn at 8:21 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

For #1, there are plenty of stainless french presses, among them:

+ Frieling double-wall insulated press
+ Planetary Design
+ Bodum 8-cup
+ Thermos
posted by hades at 8:21 PM on February 20, 2013

Best answer: It's a Walküre Karlsbad, I think. They are still in production, along with the Bayreuth model (same technology, looks 60 years old instead of a hundred).

They're not a cafetière - there's a pair of porcelain filters in the body of the coffee maker, a chamber at the top for coffee and a shower head type thing above that your pour the water through. Pour-over without a paper/metal filter, essentially.
posted by jack_mo at 8:28 PM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I think the folks who suggest it's a biggin have it right. (Jack_mo's link looks to be a more modern version of the same.) You might like this letter to the editor from a coffee nerd of 1814 comparing brewing methods.
posted by MsMolly at 8:40 PM on February 20, 2013 [21 favorites]

They do occasionally show up on ebay. Here are a few which already sold. (That last one's close, but not quite the same design.) And, yeah, the operative keyword here is "biggin".
posted by hades at 8:42 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Huh. Those first two links worked before, I swear. Well, search ebay for "biggin coffee" and filter to show only completed listings, and you'll find them.
posted by hades at 8:51 PM on February 20, 2013

Uncommon words from that letter to the editor: a "soal-fish" is what we would call a sole; and from the context a "coffee-biggin" is a sort of reusable bag in which coffee is placed, the whole being put into the coffee pot.

I think that the word "biggin" must come from the word for a child's night cap, but according to the OED the term "coffee-biggin" actually means a specially-made coffee pot designed by Mr Biggin, which can hold a pierced container of coffee for infusion. Is the OED wrong? Or was Mr Biggin inspired to make the eponymous pots by the fact that people were using bags called "biggins" to brew coffee? I have no idea.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:20 AM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Joe in Australia, here's a little more info on the origin of the biggin, and this description of a museum piece has some history as well.
posted by MsMolly at 6:41 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have pretty much that exact coffee pot. It was my dad's. Looks exactly like this one, except the cylinder is not conical inside--just a cylinder with holes in the bottom. It has to be used with a filter of some kind, and operates more as a steeping/drip method, as opposed to a press style.
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:20 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

The coffee Biggin was invented by George Biggin, the man who went up in Lunardi's balloon with Letitia Sage, the first British woman to fly, an occasion recorded in a splendid picture by Julius Caesar Ibbotson (I am not making this up).
posted by Segundus at 1:01 AM on February 24, 2013 [7 favorites]

why don't you brew it for them, then give them a little cafe-branded thermos? nothing to break.
posted by facetious at 8:13 PM on February 24, 2013

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