photo by Ahmed Rabea.
A few months ago, my coffee maker started dying. I’m a daily coffee drinker, and, although I don’t like to admit it, I don’t think I function well in the morning without it. Obviously, immediate action was necessary. I started researching various options including those fancy Tassimo and Keurig machines. The more reviews I read, the more I felt guided toward a french press. Coffee connoisseurs everywhere I looked claimed that this is the best way to brew coffee and bring out the best flavor. I also liked the idea of eliminating a machine on my counter top, and it seems a little more “green” since it doesn’t require electricity or paper filters. After reading MANY reviews, I settled on the beauty below from Frieling. Sure it was pricey at $79.99, but I was expecting fine German quality and a lasting & beautiful press.
It arrived and I was in love. It made FABULOUS coffee! The best I think I ever made in my home! Woohoo! Plus, it was pretty. Right?
Fast forward almost three months exactly. A tornado touched down half a block away from our house (I kid you not), and we were without power for 50ish hours. I needed coffee. But that beauty above? Broke. The press mechanism on the inside has a screen/filter that screws onto the plunger stick (these are NOT official part names). The threads were stripped and they would no longer go together. After TWO MONTHS!! So I emailed the company. I told them that I had only purchased the press three months earlier, that I loved it, and was very disappointed with this problem. A lovely customer service representative responded with this curt email message:
It is a normal wear and tear. You may order replacement parts by calling us at 800-827-2592. I’ve attached a parts list for your reference.
Seriously. That was the extent of the message/service.
Excuse me?? Standard wear? After three months? I sent another email, basically saying: So, you’re telling me that I can look forward to purchasing this $6 part (plus shipping) every three months if I continue to use your product since this is “normal wear & tear”?? I remain disappointed. Their response:
I don’t want you think that our products are not of high quality. Please let me explain. Being that the treads on the French Presses are small, if taken apart on daily basis it can strip them quicker. It is not necessary to take the plunger assembly apart after each use to clean. You can put the attached assembly in the dishwasher or even wash and rinse by hand without taking it apart each time. This will help prevent premature stripping. I apologize for any inconvenience.
Notice they’re still essentially saying it’s my fault (after only three months). I responded with:
I’ve had it for 3 months and took it completely apart twice. I think it should stand up to that kind of use MUCH longer. It also seems like you should stand behind the parts at least a year. I remain disappointed.
I was only trying to troubleshoot. My goal is you make you a happy customer, not disappointed. Generally, the part that we see get stripped is the “Y” shaped bottom plate. We will send you one at no cost to resolve the problem. If for some reason it doesn’t resolve the issue, please contact us and we will work on getting it resolved. Please provide us with you complete mailing address and we will get this out to you ASAP.
Um….Frieling people? TROUBLESHOOTING means asking more questions and offering to help immediately. Not after 3 messages. TROUBLESHOOTING would have initially asked, “How many times have you taken the press apart for cleaning in three months?” EXCELLENT SERVICE wouldn’t have asked any questions and would simply stand behind the product by immediately offering a $6 replacement part at no charge since it had only been three months.
So, I had no idea how long I needed to wait to get this part, and I need my coffee in the morning! I decided to give Starbucks new Via instant coffee a try. I trucked to Starbucks to check it out. I was skeptical about the taste of instant coffee from the get-go, but when I saw the price of Via, I seriously began reconsidering. While I was debating, I noticed this Bodum press for only $19.99. Notice the price difference from the Frieling ($79.99)? Yeah. I was concerned about the Bodum’s quality, but decided to give it a try. I decided I could buy this for the cost of buying two packages of Via, and I could either keep it as a backup press, or sell it when the Frieling parts came.
Surprisingly, I love the Bodum more than the Frieling! It presses smoothly EVERY TIME. The coffee NEVER splurts out the spout when pressing. I never have floaty grounds in my coffee. It’s super easy to clean. The interior press mechanism seems to go together and STAY together much better than the Frieling. The coffee tastes just as amazing. After I press it, I pour it in an insulated carafe, and it stays warm all day.
Moral of the story? Buy the Bodum. Save some bucks. Enjoy some wonderful coffee!
*Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way for this review and I have no association with either company, other than the products from them that I purchased. The views expressed in this post are simply my opinion based on personal use and experience.