Fellow Designs a Modern French Press Called Clara

When it comes to making coffee, the French Press is a simple, efficient, and intuitive method, which is why many coffee lovers begin their foray into coffee equipment with this accessible product. Just pour in grist and hot water, set a timer, dip, and pour. However, is it possible to improve on a process that is already simple enough? As it turns out, specialty coffee brand fellow (which we have reported on over and over again) proves that the modest design is what makes the newest iteration of its product line, the Clara French Press. Available in matt black or matt black with elegant walnut accents, the Clara stands out from other French presses with its luxurious workmanship and well thought-out details, which will impress even the most passionate coffee lovers.

Unlike most French presses, which tend to have a glass carafe to hold the brew, the Clara has a Heat Lock Double Wall Vacuum that uses insulated stainless steel to maintain a constant hot temperature for extended periods of time. In terms of lightness, the Clara has an all-directional pouring lid so you don’t have to worry about orienting the pouring spout when pouring, and two Ratio Aid Lines (one for water and one for ground coffee) help you make each one Sometimes the perfect cup without the need for a scale. The enclosed wooden stir bar also ensures that all grinders are fully saturated with water, with no dry lumps hidden under the waterline.

A small but subjective pain point of the French press is that they leave behind a small amount of coffee sludge, which is made up of the extra-fine microparticles that pass through filtration. Some don’t mind, others would prefer a cleaner extraction. The Clara uses an improved filtration mesh to ensure very few particles get into your cup for a complex, full-bodied brew. Once you’ve made your brew, the non-stick inner coating makes cleaning, also another pain point of French Press, quick and easy so you can get back to your cup.

With Clara, Fellow is highlighting the experience of the French press and making it easier than it already is, but we were wondering how else could we refine this method? Because we’re not baristas, we tapped into Samuel Han, who’s running Jeong coffee with partners Nicholas Cho and Ashley Min for some expert advice on how to brew a great tasting mug every time.

First, what is the meaning behind the name Jeong Coffee?

Jeong was inspired by my experiences as a barista where pleasant conversations, soaking up the atmosphere and watching heartwarming moments in the cafe reminded me of something deeply rooted in Korean culture. The concept of jeong 정 (pronounced “young”) refers to persistent feelings of warmth, affection, or connection that people experience in their daily life. Though difficult to define without direct English translation, Jeong is central to Korean society, where it is common to treat even strangers like family. We started this project because we saw Jeong permeate many of the communal aspects of coffee and wanted to create a brand that highlighted an important part of Korean culture that we find profound and universal.

We love that this is related to the popular Danish concept of hygge! You started this creative coffee project in the middle of the pandemic, which must have been no easy task. Were there any setbacks or important insights that you learned during this time?

Having started as an online-only business during the pandemic, we have found that our biggest challenge is conveying the intimate aspects of Jeong through meaningful interactions. Since Jeong is closely associated with connections and family love, we took the time to think about how our touchpoints and unboxing experience could reflect thoughtfulness and extra care. We’ve learned that small gestures and attention to detail go a long way, and we look forward to continuing to find new ways to connect with people, especially as the world opens up again.

What’s your favorite part about running a coffee business?

Our favorite part about working on Jeong was the people we met along the way. Roasting from a shared roastery in Brooklyn has allowed us to be part of a larger community of coffee professionals. We also met other small business owners and creatives who encouraged and inspired us throughout the process. It really means a lot to us when people get up and send us supportive messages!

Now let’s talk about the French Press. What are some key tips to perfect this already simple process to ensure a great tasting cup?

When it comes to the French Press, we like to start with a bloom pour to saturate the soil and give it time to degas. In the middle of the brewing process, we also recommend gently moving the film that collects on top to lower the floating coffee grounds back below the surface and ensure that all of the coffee is extracted. When the brewing process is finished, we recommend that you press the coffee grounds slowly with the plunger and carefully pour in the coffee so that you do not disturb the coffee grounds at the bottom of the French press. We find that this method prevents coffee particles from rising back to the surface, resulting in a cleaner cup.

Editor’s note: A gooseneck kettle is nice to have for precise Bloom pouring with little effort, but you can get by with steady hands. However, a home grinder is arguably your most important piece of coffee equipment because freshly ground coffee tastes better and better, and the right grind setting will take your next cup of coffee to the next level.

Photo: Tina Park

Photo: Tina Park

I noticed that you’ve used other Fellow products too! What made you choose Fellow over other options?

Yes! We love Fellow products because of their beautiful design, as well as their deliberate details that make home brewing easier and more enjoyable. We consider Fellow a trusted brand in the specialty coffee space as their sleek yet functional tools ultimately improve the process of making a great cup of coffee for beginners and experts alike.

>>> Would you like to improve your experience in the French press even further? Sip slowly and deliberately with a nice looking mug. <

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