Our French friends have given us many marvellous things: onions; Gérard Depardieu; the bayonet; the quadcopter; a national bicycle tour; an iron tower. Kitchen cupboard-lurker the French press isn’t one of them. Otherwise known as the cafetière, this gift from the gods of ludicrous labour creation is as essential to human productivity as the leaf-blower. It’s also fiddly to wield and conducive to saving neither time nor the environment. Instructions for use: 1) Wash (every single time!) the large, flimsy glass beaker. Pre-warm it with hot water. 2) Waste that water by chucking it down the sink. 3) Use some sort of plastic 10-gram scoop to measure coffee per cup, for which, read: “Take a bewildered guess, because without a scoop, who knows what 10 grams of anything looks like, and who knows how many cups the large, flimsy beaker might produce?” 4) Pour – slowly! – recently boiled water onto your guesstimated coffee grounds while standing back in case the glass cracks. 5) IMPORTANT: soak the grounds evenly, because otherwise some of the coffee will come out tasting like puddle water. 6a) Leave muddy liquid to stand for about five minutes, watching it go cold. 6b) Stir with, mysteriously, a wooden spoon – definitely not metal, mind – for 10 seconds on numerous occasions during those five minutes, because you won’t be able to wait that long for the coffee to brew and anyway your toast is burning. 7) Mmmm … can you smell that fruity Kenyan-Brazilian-Guatemalan concoction yet? No, I can’t either. 8) Depress plunger gradually. In case of resistance, lift plunger (spilling hot water from spout) and repeat. And repeat. CAUTION: do not remove lid after plunger has touched the surface of the water/coffee. Why not? Who knows? The coffee connoisseur with a cult following in Hong Kong 9) WARNING: If you bought finely ground coffee you’ve been had, because it will wash through the strainer. Coarsely ground? The plunger will stick, as if hampered by old socks. Self-grinding? You are beyond help. 10) After hanging around for a bit, checking your phone and wondering where you put the tea bags, look to see if all escaped coffee grounds have settled onto the plunger as it sits atop the murky layer of silt/coffee. Hang around a bit longer, check for more messages. 11) Wonder why you never bought that espresso machine. 12) Ahhh! Enjoy a semi-satisfying cup of coffee-like liquid, spitting out all the grounds that have cunningly sidled through the plunger mesh. 13) After two minutes, dismantle outer shell, glass beaker – don’t drop it – and plunger, shedding grounds from the overcomplicated, twirling-round strainer. Spend 10 minutes scraping out used, soggy coffee; dump in sink and clog up drains. DO NOT attempt to recycle as compost unless you’re Dutch. 14) Go to Starbucks.