It’s a true love affair.
BY KRISTY ALPERT
It started off innocently enough. A few camping trips here, a long road trip there. But now I find myself spending every morning at home with Stanley…and my husband is all for it.
My Stanley French press entered into my life only a few months ago, but has already become one of my favorite parts of my morning routine, offering a welcome ritual between waking up and opening my laptop each day. The first time I used my Stanley was around a campfire, just steps from a pitched tent and my sleeping husband and baby. The early morning fog was still hovering just above the dewy grass while the sounds of the crackling fire began to stir the treetops and incite a chorus of chirping birds.
A bit poetic for a camping trip that took place in my own backyard? OK, yes. But the second that smooth, hot coffee slid down my throat, there could have been unicorns and trumpets for all I remember. It was one of those “eyes wide open, life stands still, everything is right in this world” moments.
I chalked the experience up to the fact that everything tastes better outside, or maybe it was just that I had to work to earn my coffee that morning by setting up a fire, heating the water, stirring the grounds, and then gently pressing them down below the water’s surface so they could do their magic. I have since tried all methods of coffee brewing at home—single pod machines (too wasteful), pour overs (too technical), stovetop cezves (too gritty)—but nothing has ever come close to recreating that ethereal experience of the first time I used my Stanley French press around that campfire…until I decided to bring him in the kitchen.
French press coffee is all about the experience, where the ritual somehow becomes equally important in the way the coffee tastes; a fact that Chicago French Press founder Kris Christian can personally attest. “French press coffee is for someone who enjoys taking their time to enjoy coffee as a pastime of gratitude and reflection,” Christian says. “My love for the French press method started on a trip to Los Angeles to visit my best friend, Warren. [He] took me to a local cafe where they served French Press coffee. I had never had it before, and, in addition to its fresh aroma and rich taste, it enhanced our conversation and made it more interesting and interactive. The French press method quickly became my favorite way to brew. That one conversation over French press coffee sparked Chicago French Press—a destination for freshly roasted organic coffee that connects java drinkers to philanthropic causes in underserved communities.”
The Stanley Factor
Similar to Christian, when I brought my camping French press inside, it instantly became my favorite way to brew as well. The Stanley company has been making all-steel vacuum bottles since 1913, and, although the 42-ounce French press is a new-ish addition to the brand’s lineup, the same ruggedly handsome construction is exactly what sets this French press apart from other glass, plastic, and ceramic models.
The BPA-free stainless steel body is reinforced by a double-wall vacuum insulation, making sure the coffee is poured out at exactly the same temperature as the water you poured into the container (water temperature is a crucial factor for brewing a perfect French press coffee; I prefer mine at 195 degrees Fahrenheit). It can keep liquids hot for four hours, cold for nine hours, and iced for 24 hours, and the steel mesh filter keeps the grounds in place as you pour, so you’re left with only a robust, rich cup of coffee with very little sediment (much less than my glass French press).
Of course, the freshness of the coffee and the coarseness of the grind play into the overall taste, but, ultimately, it’s the “Stanley factor” that makes all the difference with this French press. That same look and feel of the vacuum bottle my grandpa carried fishing, the tangible technology that my dad trusted for camping trips, and the reliable heat retention that my mom relied on to pour a seemingly endless stream of hot cocoa during my childhood winters are all part of the delicious stories behind my morning cup.
There’s something so peaceful and refreshingly rustic about using a piece of camping gear indoors every day, especially because not all will perform as well inside as they do out—camping stoves will never compare to my gas range and I’ll take my Dutch oven any day over a foil packet buried in coals—which is why I choose to spend my mornings with my Stanley. He does more than just make good coffee; he takes me somewhere new every day.
Kristy Alpert is a freelance travel and food writer on the hunt for the obscure and untold stories around the world. Her passion for savoring the local flavor of a destination has led to her unearthing bread baking secrets on Muhu Island to chiseling ancient ice for martinis in Antarctica. Kristy has won numerous international awards for her writing. See her bylines in Cosmopolitan, Food & Wine, Men’s Health, Fodor’s Travel, American Way, and more.