French press is one of the most popular brewing methods. If you are looking for an easy manual brewing equipment other than dripper, this is definitely one that I can recommend(Aero Press is anther one). It’s easy but steadily makes good coffee. Importantly, it is inexpensive. There will be no additional cost involved unlike paper filter or nice narrow-mouthed kettle. The device is highly experimentable and the result is very visible.
One notable characteristic in French pressed coffee is its mildness you can hardly get from pour-over. Coffee bean normally contains about 12% of oil, and the oil is mostly removed by the paper filter in the paper drip process. In contrast, metal mesh filter in French press lets oil go though and get in the cup. The oil is considered to be mostly cafestol, and it gives the cup mildness and richness.
A standard French press brewing can be easily found by googling, but I refer this video by a former World Barista Champion here. Try to use those metrics in those three parameters: water/grounds ratio of 18~22g coffee grounds per 300g water, uniformly coarse ground, and 4 min steeping time. In addition, removing the floating grounds at the surface after steeping will make the cup cleaner. The World Champ doesn’t stir much and removes the grounds so that over-extraction could be avoided.
One problem I think French press structurally contains is that agitation naturally occurs while coffee grounds are steeping and the metal mesh filter doesn’t filter all the fine grounds out. The resulting cup usually lacks clarity compared to paper drip. You could feel the particles in the cup when you drink it. The coffee brewed with French press cannot be saved for a long time because of numerous fines dropped in the cup spoils the coffee soon after it’s brewed. So here is the French press brewing technique I think so far the best way to have a clean cup.
In this method, there is no stirring and the least agitation to the coffee grounds. Omitting the agitation and fines reduces harshness from the cup The downside is that it requires a little more coffee grounds if you want to make is as strong as the one brewed in the regular French press method. The idea behind this method is one characteristic of coffee, the “good” nutrients of coffee are easily dissolved into the hot water, but “bad” nutrients are harder to be dissolved. Therefore, less agitation, lower temperature, and shorter time would normally bring a cleaner cup.