The original version of this article was published in July 2013. In November 2017, Planetary Design released an updated version to their Tabletop Coffee and Tea Maker. The new patent-pending Bru-Stop technology takes a good product and makes it even better.
Bru-Stop solves the two most common French Press problems which are:
- Keeping loose grounds out of the brewed coffee.
- Preventing the coffee from over-extracting post-brew.
The new filter added to the Tabletop does both.
When the first version of the Tabletop French Press was released, it was the insulating capabilities that captured my attention the most. Until then, the way I had approached brewing French Press was to only brew enough coffee at a time for me or whoever else was around. Brew and serve immediately.
Now we had a French Press that could retain better than glass models. If you are the type that brews your french press indoors and then immediately pours out the coffee, insulation probably won’t matter. However, if you are in a cold garage or at a campsite, insulation is more important. According to the Planetary Design web site, the Tabletop Press Pot is insulated with “double-walled, vacuum-insulated, 18/8 restaurant-grade stainless steel.”
I decided to run a test to see how the Planetary Design model compared with my glass french press. My kitchen was 68 degrees. I filled both press pots with water just off a boil and then took temperature readings at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 60 minutes. The Planetary Design model destroyed the glass press pot on insulation. See the chart below.
French Press Temperature Chart
The Planetary Design Press Pot does have some plastic in the filter part which makes contact with the water. I contacted the company about this and they pointed out that all their plastic is Bisphenol A (BPA) free. For those determined to use zero plastic, I attempted to use a standard press pot plunger. It did not make a snug fit. You are better off using their plunger.
The original Planetary Design Tabletop Press Pot
The Planetary Design Press Pot has a tighter fit than my glass press pot. It also uses an ultra-fine mesh screen filter. The result is a slightly cleaner cup of coffee than most French Press designs. I also used the pot several times to make oolong tea. Tea fans know that oolong tea is often rolled into tight balls and it needs room to unwind and make contact with water. A typical tea filter is not ideal for oolong tea. A french press is a good solution.
Not ideal. Oolong Tea Trapped inside Tea Filter
I thought I didn’t care about aesthetics, but the Planetary Tabletop looks really nice. It comes in the following colors:
- Brushed Steel
- Candy Apple
- Green Tea
The Updated Bru-Stop Technology
Below are some photos of the updated Bru-Stop filter. According to the Planetary Design website, they will soon be selling conversion kits if you own a previous model of the Tabletop French Press.
I honestly didn’t think I needed another french press until I got a chance to play with the Planetary Design Tabletop French Press. It is ideal for travel, as glass press pots tend to shatter easily. It holds temperature extremely well and makes a great cup of coffee. And now it does a better job of keeping the grounds away from the brewed coffee, which makes the coffee taste even cleaner.
Buying a French Press – Picking the Right One – INeedCoffee article to help you get started on a Press Pot purchase.
French Press Coffee Tutorial – INeedCoffee guide to making great French Press coffee.
Troubleshooting French Press Coffee – Once you have your french press, here are some ideas to make your coffee taste great.
Disclaimer: The author received a Tabletop from Planetary Design for this review in both 2013 and 2017.