History of the French Press
The French Press, as seen in its name, is a historically European invention. The first patent of the French Press dates back to 1928. The modern version of the French Press is very similar to the original in that they both require a vessel to hold water and a mechanism to sift coffee grounds through that water with pressure.
It is said that the idea of the French Press came from a Frenchman who was preparing a pot of coffee on an open fire. He had supposedly forgotten to put the coffee into the boiling water, and once he added the grounds, they all floated to the top of the water. The man happened to have a metal screen on hand and pressed the grounds to the bottom of the pot, leaving only the coffee behind. And thus, was the birth of the French Press.
How a French Press works
A modern French Press is usually made with a glass beaker and metal mesh. It works by steeping coffee grounds in the glass beaker and then using a metal filter to press the grounds to the bottom of the glass beaker. The coffee can then be poured into a mug leaving the grounds at the bottom of the beaker. One of the reasons French Press is so popular is because the metal mesh allows for all of the oils and flavor of the bean to remain in the coffee.
The ideal coffee to water ratio for French Press varies on the desired brew strength. For strong coffee the ideal ratio is 1:10 coffee to water. This would mean steeping 30g of coffee grounds in 300mL of water.