Saturday, January 8, 2011

CSN Product Review: French Press

It has been almost 2 months since I posted that I would be doing a product review for CSN stores and I am just getting around to posting my review. As you know from the title I got a french press. Not just any french press...the Bodum Columbia 12 cup Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press!
Isn't it gorgeous!?!
We used to have an insulated coffee pot for our drip coffee maker BUT it died (as well as a few other before it!) after only 2 years! So in the interest of producing less garbage and drinking better coffee we switched to a more permanent solution. We bit the bullet and invested in a large insulated french press because we both LOVE coffee in the morning but I always get up quite a bit earlier than Diego so in a normal glass press the coffee is cold by the time he gets to it or he needs to make a fresh batch because I drank the 500 ml!
I love that it is stainless steel. The shape is classy but can go with any decor. The handle is solid and ergonomic making it a pleasure to pour. Most presses have the metal coil on the plunger so to avoid the metal on metal, Bodum replaced it with a silicone ring. Silicone is inert so it doesn't leach any toxins into your coffee nor does it leave a flavour. The only part of the press that is plastic is the part of the lid that has the pouring screen. I would have preferred stainless but unfortunately all presses that I have seen are like this and I did look at many before choosing this one! Luckily, your coffee only comes into contact with it very briefly when you pour.
I love the spout. Our old french press had this tiny triangular indent (like most) that almost always ended up pouring out the sides and onto the counter. It always made a mess. This spout is large and rounded allowing it to pour so smoothly and I have yet to spill a drop!
It does keep the coffee warm for 2-3 hours if you filled it to the top to start with and about half the time if you fill it half way. I am sure if you warmed up the carafe before you put the coffee in, it would stay warm longer but I don't want to use more water and electricity than necessary. However, there are some pros and cons with the lid. The good thing about the lid the strainer for any stray grinds but also when you turn the lid it blocks the opening preventing the steam from escaping, helping to keep it warm. Not all presses have this feature. In my books this was essential for keeping the coffee warm. However, the lid itself is not at all insulated! So the rising heat is lost via conduction through the metal cooling rather than keeping the coffee warm. That also means that the lid gets very hot to the touch making it difficult to turn the lid to the strainer position to be able to pour your cuppa joe. You won't burn yourself but you can't always turn the lid in one swoop because it is quite hot. That being said, I love having had steaming coffee pour out of the press 2 hours after I made it, which is more than I can say the old insulated drip coffee carafe could do!
Holiday Coffee!
Overall, I am very happy with my new press and would recommend it to anyone in the market for one. Like most things there is room for improvement but the issues themselves are in my opinion very minor. The hot lid is easily overcome by using a tea towel and I am very satisfied with the amount of time it keeps our coffee warm. Also, all the parts are dishwasher safe, which was an important deciding factor now that we have a new dishwasher! We have been using our new press everyday since we got it and I would not go back to any other method of making coffee...except maybe the occasional espresso. This a great daily workhorse and looks great on the table for a dinner party.

The last thing I wanted to comment on was the service I received from CSN stores. I ordered my press in mid-November and I expected ~2 weeks delivery since it was coming from the USA via ground shipping. After 2.5 weeks and no press, I was contemplating calling CSN when I received an email and a phone call from them informing me that UPS had lost the package and asking if I wanted a replacement or a refund. I immediately responded that I would like another one sent but that I needed it to get to me before I left for holidays on Dec 22. The press was sent out the same day and a week later, 5 days before the 22nd, I received my press. The customer service was amazing! I was astonished that they contacted me before I contacted them and they did everything to accommodate my deadline. They were prompt, pleasant and polite. I would definitely buy again from CSN stores and recommend them to anyone looking for something they cannot find locally.

If you have any questions, leave a comment and I will get back to you!


  1. so beautiful!!!! sounds like a fantastic french press. also, i am so impressed with the service you got! :)

  2. It is gorgeous! Dh has given up coffee, so I can't justify buying this only for me, but if we were to ever both drink coffee again, your review is invaluable and I'm convinced to buy this press (they should give you a commission!).

    Do you have any recommendations for glass or stainless steel electric kettles? ;)

  3. Teresa: I have 2 stainless steel kettles. One at home (GE) and one at work (Black and Decker). I much prefer the GE because it boils that water much faster than the B&D. I can fill the kettle with enough cold water for the french press and it will boil in 5 minutes. The B&D takes twice as long. I personally prefer the stainless kettle since I would likely break the glass one pretty quickly. The metal is definitely be more durable. I have had my GE for over 4 years with no complaints and use it at least once a day but often 2-3 times. It also has a couple of small dents that have not rusted (inside or out). The B&D is less than a year old but I also use it daily...still no dents yet. One thing that is essential for me is the automatic shut off. I often take off and do something while the water is boiling and so often I remember that I was boiling water for tea like an hour later! Not such a good plan if there is no shut off and it boils dry!
    One thing that I find annoying is the button for opening the lid on my B&D. It actually limits the amount that you can open the lid making it more difficult to fill. My GE doesn't have it and I can stick it in the sink with the lid open to fill and be hands free...not so with the B&D, I have to actually hold the button down to keep it open AND use my other hand to push it open even more! Overall, I recommend a stainless steel GE with no button to open the lid. Hope this helps! :)

  4. Very nice ! I love the looks of it (and of course the good results you get from it also). But it sure is pretty to look at. I know, CSN gives the best service ever. All three times I've done business with them it was nothing but perfect.

  5. Thanks, Alli!! That was very detailed and helpful. I like the GE feature that makes it easy to fill it with water easily. I was wondering if any plastic parts come into contact with the hot water at any point?

  6. Hi Teresa, There is a fine wire mesh bordered with plastic to filter the water as it pours out but it is removable! The only time the water comes into contact with it is while pouring or if you fill your kettle to the max. There is also the part beneath the handle to show you how much water is in there. It is plastic and the hot water does come into contact with it during the whole process. At the time of purchase, trying to find one without this little window was impossible. At the time I also looked around for one with a glass window to no avail. The B&D that I have doesn't have the window or the pouring filter. Perhaps now there are more options since stainless is in style. Hope this helps! :)

  7. Thanks so much for all your answers, Alli! I'm sorry it took me so long to get back here to check out your response. I'm doing well in my writing class, but that also means I'm neglecting a lot of my bloggy-friends. :} Hope you're having a nice January! I see you have a few more blog posts up, so while I'm sneaking away from homework, I'll catch up on your blog. =)