Where are the products manufactured?
While all of our Planetary Design products are designed and distributed here in the U.S., they are manufactured abroad. This is not just because of cost, but also due to U.S. manufacturers not having the machinery and volume capability to make these kinds of stainless steel products. Nonetheless, we have very close relationships with our manufacturing partners and we’re in frequent contact with them. Independent audits and inspections are conducted routinely, ensuring both safe and fair working conditions as well as high quality products. Besides the numerous jobs we have created in our local economy, we often have additional quality checks and/or re-packaging performed by a non-profit in our community dedicated to providing employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities. In a nutshell, we feel that we take every measure to provide quality products while remaining loyal to our local and national economy, and the environment as a whole.
Can I put this in the dishwasher?
Though most products are ok on the top shelf of the dishwasher, we recommend hand-washing to prolong the life of your product.
Do the French Presses work for tea?
Absolutely. Although the presses were originally designed for coffee they function as loose-leaf tea presses as well. The same directions apply, follow the steeping guidelines for the particular type of tea you are brewing (try this page for general tea information and steeping guidelines) steep to taste, press and enjoy. It should be noted however, that because of the texture and density of tea leaves versus coffee grounds, after approximately 2 hours post-pressing, you will begin to notice a bitter taste from the continued infusion. For the perfect product for tea try our Tea Tumbler Infusion Mug http://planetarydesign.com/products/tea-tumbler/, designed specifically to fully stop the infusion without the hassle of removing the leaves. Finally, unlike many presses the stainless steel inner body will not retain the flavor of previous beverages. So enjoy coffee in the morning and coffee-free tea in the afternoon!
Can I use the Tea Tumbler for Coffee?
Yes! Though designed for tea, the Tea Tumbler works great with ground coffee, maté, ground cacao, & even tea bags! Like our other stainless steel mugs, because stainless steel does not impart flavor you can enjoy many different drinks in the Tea Tumbler without the leftover taste of the previous drink.
Is there glass in the liner of the French Presses?
No. Years back companies chose glass for it’s insulative properties. Then along came stainless steel technology which solves the 2 major dilemmas of glass; heat retention and durability. High quality stainless steel provides significantly better insulation, is obviously more durable and won’t retain flavor from beverage to beverage. We use double-walled, 18/8 restaurant-grade stainless steel, one of the most advanced and durable materials on the market. Stainless steel is also naturally BPA-Free, making it a far superior option to plastic as well. Stainless steel really is the perfect balance of form AND function.
How long do they keep beverages hot?
Generally speaking, all of our products will retain heat for hours. It’s the single most raved feature of our products. Technically speaking, all of our Table Top French Presses, Tumbler Travel Mugs and our Tea Tumbler are not only double-walled, 18/8 restaurant-grade stainless steel but they are also vacuum-insulated. What that techno-jargon really means is that there are two walls of this high quality stainless steel insulating your hot, cozy beverage from the ambient temperature outside the mug. Then the air is removed from the space existing between those two walls. Hence, there is no medium for the ambient temperature to transfer through the mug, lowering the temperature of the aforementioned cozy beverage. The current tests estimate that having vacuum insulation in a mug increases the heat retention capabilities by 33%. Add this on top of what 18/8, double-walled stainless steel already provides and you’ve got the makings of the perfect beverage vessel.
Why aren’t all the French Press Mugs vacuum insulated and which are and are not?
Although vacuum-insulation is amazing technology there are a few limitations. Due to the Double Shot having a secret storage canister in the bottom, it is not feasible to vacuum insulate it. The Desk Press does not currently have the right contour of lid, but we are working on the next generation as you read this, and the Desk Press will be vacuum-insulated no later than 2015 . In a nutshell, the Double Shot and Desk Press French Press Mugs are not currently vacuum insulated. The Tea Tumbler Infuser Mug (as well as all Table Top French Presses and Tumbler Mugs) ARE vacuum insulated.
I ran over my lid. Can I buy just a new lid or plunger assembly?
“I lost my lid” is the single most popular phone call conundrum. Planetary Design warranties against product malfunction but unfortunately not against oops’ and accidents. However, you can purchase replacement parts here from a trusted retailer.
What is the warranty on your products?
We warranty all of our products against manufacturer defect for one year. As we do not sell retail, you must go through the retailer from which you purchased your mug. They will require some proof of purchase and will then deal with us on getting you a replacement. For the record, however, this does not occur often as our products are quite durable.
What materials are used in the manufacturing of your products?
The vast majority of our Tumbler, Table Top French Press, Tea Tumbler or steel AirScape is 18/8 restaurant-grade stainless steel. This is an extremely durable, food-safe, thermal material. The press unit in our French Presses (both Table Tops and Travel Presses) are constructed of high quality BPA-Free plastic (PP plastic) and a fine, high-quality stainless-steel mesh screen. The color coat is either a scratch resistant baked enamel finish or a scratch resistant acrylic. There are rubber or silicone rings on the Table Tops to create a tight seal and rubber rings on the mugs for grip and aesthetic purposes.
The AirScape Lite body is constructed of a durable, BPA-Free, dishwasher-safe copolyester. The inner lids of both AirScapes are made of BPA-Free PP plastic and the outer lids of UV resistant acrylic.
French Press Coffee Preparation
Why French Press?
The French press method, or “plunger method” has, and continues to be, the standard by which coffee is judged simply because it is the most pure way of preparing coffee. With the ability to control the grind, the steeping temperature and steeping time, one can custom brew the perfect cup of coffee. Learn more by reading this article.
Exactly how do you use the French Press Mugs
Check out this quick video on how exactly to use the Double Shot French Press Mug. The other Press Mugs work in the same exact manner with the only change being how much coffee to use.
What kind of grind do I use?
The settings you’ll most likely see on most grinders (from fine to coarse) are: Turkish-Espresso-Drip-French Press-Percolate. These are often marked on a home grinder by numbers (typically 1 being fine and 10 being very coarse). Generally speaking, although French press is a more coarse grind, feel free to try a grind range between Drip and French Press. The difference between Drip and French Press can typically be quite small and Drip grind can usually work just fine (bagged pre-ground coffee is usually ground to a Drip setting). If you notice the plunger becoming difficult to push down, this is most likely due to the grind being too fine, or there are simply too many coffee grounds in the press. In this case, DO NOT just push harder on the plunger! Back the plunger out a bit, swirl the press a bit to get the grounds moving in the water, and then continue to plunge down with even pressure. Using a quality grinder is also key. Typical inexpensive blade grinders ‘chop’ coffee beans into varying sized pieces thus creating an inconsistent grind which will affect the taste of your coffee. If you are getting fine grounds in your coffee after pressing, this is most likely the problem. For best results, try a high-quality burr grinder which operates by evenly slicing the beans at lower speeds (and without producing friction-induced heat), thus producing a consistent grind that will steep and press well.
How much coffee do I use?
The beauty of French Pressing coffee is that you have complete control over grind, water temperature, and steeping time, allowing you to create a custom masterpiece each morning. The amount of coffee varies per unique taste. However, as a general guideline first try using approximately 1 level tablespoon of ground coffee per 4 oz. of water. If you prefer a more stout brew use a little more and vice versa. The amount of coffee you use only becomes a problem if you use so much that it is difficult to then press them all to the bottom. In this case you should try a little less coffee, a little longer steeping time, a slightly coarser grind, or simply use a stronger coffee bean and/or roast.
How long do I let the grounds steep?
Much like the question regarding the amount of coffee to use, the steep time varies according to personal taste, how coarse or fine the grind, as well as the roast and bean itself. However, 4 to 5 minutes tends to be the standard steeping time. Rarely, and only with exceptionally high-end coffees, a coffee’s flavor will open up between 6-8 minutes. Generally speaking, approaching a steep time over 6-8 minutes will result in bitterness from oversteeping.
Is there additional infusing occurring by leaving the grounds in the bottom of the mug?
You’ll get several different opinions on this matter but it is our position that the infusion that occurs after the pressing is scientifically negligible. Furthermore, after years in business we rarely, if ever, have gotten this complaint from our customers. In a nutshell, when the grounds come into contact with the water, the water is contacting every microscopic point on each individual ground. When the grounds are pressed to the bottom (picture a hockey puck), the overall surface area, (all the little points of contact) decreases thousands of times over, leaving the water very little surface area with which to continue infusion. You would start to notice that additional infusion hours later… long after, we hope, you’ve finished your mug of coffee!