Design in the City: Bodum's new coffee press/carafe


When I first opened my all stainless steel "coffee press" by Bodum (4th from left in picture), I stared down into the Amazon box, half expecting it to move. That was my reacton to its almost molten ready-to-flow look, which it still possesses. When I set it on the counter, my teenage daughter walked by and said "Pretty".

The seamless, bulbous body gives it an erotic quality. 'Definitely a "Blue State" thing' I thought. Did I mention it came last November? More importantly, it promised to be a problem solver.Backing up a bit, I had recently broken the glass cylinder of my old fashioned French Press coffee maker (3rd from left in picture), and thought I'd rush order a replacement cylinder, which, with shipping, was almost as much as the original press had been. So, I decided to shop around for a better design.

There was the 'grounds in the dishwasher' problem to consider. My entire family hated my French press coffee maker because when I put the plunger in the dishwasher, fragments of coffee bean often snuck out of it's crevices, at the last rinse, contaminating everything else. Many times we ran the washer twice, wasting time, water, and energy.

Problem Summary
.Plunger design engenders family tension, compromising otherwise perfect coffee drinking experience.
.Use phase of press is surprisingly resource inefficient.
.Product life extension options inconvenient or not very cost effective.

Further rationalizing a new choice, I realized that the old one required me to pour the coffee into an insulated carafe to keep it warm (one more thing to wash); or, I had to heat up the second and third, etc., cups in the microwave (more energy inputs).

And now, the deal done, was that new Bodum sitting on my counter. Insulated stainless steel. The plastic mounted plunger screen had no crevices. A brief cold-water rinse cleared everything. My new cleaning routine became to put it in the dishwasher weekly.

After the "Design in the City" excitement died down, I mulled over its green-ness. Design life matching mainly. Stainless will last forever: a thousand years, or until dented enough to lose its molten look. And if the soft, molded plastic plunger breaks in a few years, I still have a nice pitcher right?

Creative moment. Fishing out the plunger from my old press, I swapped; and, it was a perfect fit. Identical bore diameter and same lid/rim diameter. Good job Bodum. Even if the design life of the new plunger is shorter than the body, I can maintain its 'use phase', losing the beauty only until a replacement is found.

NOTE: Coffee stays warm enough to drink for 1 to 2 hours, depending on personal preference. Like all presses, best results are with coarse-ground coffee. ::Bodum

by: John Laumer