Fixing a French Press: An Illustrated French Press Repair Guide


Is your French press not performing as well as it used to? Are parts damaged from falling off the countertop? Or does the steel mesh filter look like you ate its last cupcake? Well look no further, here are several tips and tricks to get your French press working just how it did out of the box!


A Half Broken Carafe

When it comes to carafes, not all are created equal. Some are made of insulated steel, whereas most are constructed from different types of glass and ceramic. Dropping a metal carafe would do more damage to whatever it fell on, but dropping a glass one could potentially shatter it. If you have a glass or ceramic carafe that is broken into two, picking up a tube of food safe and heat resistant epoxy or glue is a good option. However, contacting the manufacturer should be done first, as oftentimes, you can get free replacement parts shipped to you. Either way a tube of quality epoxy is significantly cheaper than most French presses.


A Cup of Grounds and a Shoddy Filter

Now, nobody expects a crystal clear cup of coffee from a French press, but if yours seem to be even more laden with grounds and dregs, there is likely a problem with the steel mesh filter. Issues with the filter can usually be noticed before they become too big of a deal; if you get poked a lot while washing it, this is a warning sign of trouble to come.

The first step to diagnosing this piece is to completely remove and unscrew it from the plunger section. If the circumference of the filter is bent or misshapen – which can potentially result in grounds slipping into the coffee while depressing the plunger – it is totally possible to use your fingertips and thumbs to bend trouble spots back into place; this can also fix issues regarding a loose fit.

If there are places where it appears as though the filter’s weaving is coming undone but still want to make coffee now you have a few options:

1) Use a wooden spoon to scoop off the shell of coffee grounds before depressing the plunger to minimize the amount of grounds that could get into the finished product;

2) Allowing the coffee to settle for a few minutes before drinking it; or

3) Securing a piece of a paper coffee filter between the mesh filter and the housing.

Realistically though, purchasing a replacement filter online will have to be done at some point.  Contact the manufacturer and see if they’ll send you one for free, or will allow you to purchase a replacement.

Anatomy of the French Press Plunger: Disassembly and Reassembly

If you are going to replace parts inside your French Press, you should know the general arrangement of parts inside the French Press for both disassembly and reassembly.

While French Presses vary slightly model to model, the general arrangement of parts is like so:

French Press Assembly

 

On top, you have the plunging rod, below that sits a spiral plate, below that sits the filter screen, and under that crossplate.  When reassembling your French Press, make sure that you make note of this order of parts.

Replacing Your French Press Filter

First, pull the plunger out of the press.

Next, unscrew the bottom of your press and separate the parts. Inspect the filter screen to see if you can diagnose why it may not have been working correctly.  If it appears that it should have been working appropriately, you should check the other parts for defects.

Before installing your new filter, clean it with soap and water and let it dry.  Now, insert the replacement filter into the correct spot in the assembly (pictured above) and reinstall the assembly back into the French Press by re-screwing it in.

Other Broken Parts

If you somehow manage to bend the metal plunging rod while making coffee, you can use your hands, or a vice, to assist in bending the rod back to its natural form. However, if the plunging rod is completely broken clean, an epoxy would be the second best option behind contacting the manufacturer for a replacement rod.

If the lid section manages to break, the press will more likely than not function normally. However, if it broke in such a way that it is difficult to press the plunger, or if it wobbles around freely, epoxy may be needed.

Now, Where Did That Nut Go?

Let’s say one day you’re washing your French press in the sink without a drain cover, and you just so happen to drop a tiny piece of the filter assembly into the abyss. If this happens, it could potentially mean game over, but it really depends on what kind of French press you have.

For French presses that have a small screw that holds everything together, you can contact the manufacturer to see if they will ship you one for free, or, for a more immediate solution, go down to your local hardware store to find a similar style of screw. Depending on the design, it is also completely possible to use a food safe and heat resistant epoxy to permanently join the parts together. Do keep in mind that doing the latter will make it more difficult to clean. 

Hopefully with these tips and tricks, you can get your French press back in working order before breakfast.