The Stainless Steel French Press


Last summer my beloved French press meet a shattered fate. In order to keep up my daily dose of cold brew coffee, I purchase this new stainless steel model. The enargeia of this device striking. The sharp and cold lines of the design gave the press a cloud of futuristic sophistication. And the shiny stainless steel finish gives the process of making my morning coffee a undertone of a special occasion. My admiration for this design was ephemeral however, upon practical use of the press I discovered that this design is flawed.


The Norman article places a very precise and accurate description of the major flaw in the design: visibility. There is a paradoxical dynamic persistent in this design. The very material that makes the design visually striking, makes it flawed. Upon using this French press in my daily life, I discovered that it is impossible to see inside.  Is the press empty or filled? Is it filled with coffee or tea? Have the grounds been cleaned out? All of these questions are a mystery. This flaw directly stems from the limitations of the affordances of the material of stainless steel. This material does not afford the ability for the user to see inside to the contents. If the press was constructed from glass, or the design that contain some window then some visibility could be afforded.


Apart from the flaws of visibility, the design of the press applies well to practical use. The plunger is an example of excellent design. This component contains intuitive and clear mapping, pushing down on the plunger forces the filter down through the fluid. Furthermore, there are underlying cues to the user for the function of the component. It only fits to the pot in one way. It is completely impossible to place the plunger upside-down or sideways. In this way the plunger component conveys to the user instructions for the operation of device. The design of the plunger follows the standard of French presses, thus people who have used similar products can easily understand the expectation, and methods of operation.


One can conclude that this device is only slightly flawed due to the fact that this design is only lacking in visibility. All other components of the device portray the correct messages to the user. However, this conclusion would be hasty, and brash. With a device such as this French press, overall mechanism is simple, it is only three parts. With greater simplicity, comes greater sensitivity to poor design. The pot component of the press is only one of three parts, therefore this design is 33% flawed. The eudemonia of this device is lacking. In practical daily use of this design does not significantly contribute to my wellbeing.



2 thoughts on “The Stainless Steel French Press

  1. A simply stainless steel sculpture made into a material that is being used on a daily basic and you have captured the image. Am enjoying the texture off the stainless steel thingy whatever it is called. That is the thing as it can be called so many things as you can use it for many different purpose and it is please to the eye when I visual the image. There is no way anybody can identify which type of stainless steel as there are many forms so that makes it unique to its feature.

  2. You make a very good point here and i agree that a window would be a huge added bonus to your french press, Let me start off with coffee is a HUGE part of my day to day activity, very rarely do I get up and not have my morning coffee. I have a percolator which makes espresso. I really like your point when you say:

    “This flaw directly stems from the limitations of the affordances of the material of stainless steel.”

    This is a great example of a designer caring more about how something looks then the actual functionality of it. There has to be a good middle ground for designers and engineers to meet on to help maximize the functionality of a product and still keep its design.

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