The coffee maker plays an essential role in obtaining the taste of the coffee and in the ritual of consumption.
COFFEE MAKERS WITH PAPER FILTERS
Filter coffee makers were invented in the early 19th century. To begin with, the filters were made of cotton. They are now made of paper and it is better to dampen the paper before pouring the coffee grounds into it – preferably medium or large calibre.
This is a pressured air cafetière from England. It comprises two hermetically sealed glass globes which are connected by a tube. The ground coffee is placed in the upper globe and the water in the lower globe.
The water is heated using an alcohol burner and as the temperature rises, the air in the lower globe expands, forcing the water to rise through the tube into the upper globe. The temperature is 85°C. The cafetière is then removed from the heat and the water filters back down into the lower globe.
This is by far the best way of making filter coffee and it gives excellent results - even better than an expresso for certain fine coffees with subtle aromas, such as Blue Mountain or Macassar.
IBRIK: THE TURKISH COFFEE
Turkish coffee, obtained by decoction, is undoubtedly the oldest way of making coffee. A special recipient (Ibrik) or a plain saucepan is used, in which one place two spoonfuls of extremely finely ground coffee, the same quantity of caster sugar and two cups of cold water. The recipient is placed over the heat and brought to boiling point.
The liquid is then left to cool and the operation repeated between 3 and 5 times. Finally, a few drops of cold water are added to precipitate the grounds to the bottom of the recipient. The liqueur produced is strong, with a strong smell and flavour.
The powdered coffee and water are mixed together, left to infuse and then by means of a piston, the grounds are pushed to the bottom. This is a variation on the decoction method and this type of coffee maker produces a good quality liqueur, but it remains thick and opaque.
This method was actually invented by a Frenchman, Louis-Bernanrd Rabaud. The ground coffee is placed in a filter which is in the middle of the coffee maker. The water is in the lower container. The whole contraption is heated and when the water boils, the steam passes through the coffee powder and pours into the upper container.
The water that filters through the coffee is therefore at a temperature of 100°: the liqueur has a strong, burnt taste. These coffee makers are often made of poor quality metal which oxidises the coffee.
HOUSEHOLD EXPRESSO MACHINES
There are a host of machines on the market. The principle is always the same: pure water is heated to roughly 90° and propelled through the filter by a pump that raises it to a pressure of 16 bars (in the case of the most effective machines).
The combined effect of heat and pressure extracts the aromatic substances from the grounds and produces an emulsion which lends the cream its chamois colour.
Clean, easy and quick to use, this machine operates with pods of exactly 7 grams, with a rich and varied range of flavours.