Thursday, June 23, 2011

Coffee 101

With the free gas hooked up, I got to thinking: why were we using an electric coffeemaker when the gas is free? Electric drip coffeemakers have been the standard for years now and I've owned my share of them. Typically they last a few years, then the element burns out and the whole thing has to be replaced. I've had expensive ones and found that they lasted about as well as the $10 pots. But the coffee was undeniably good.

I wondered, how did people make coffee before the electric pots? I remembered a percolator I had in the 70's, one made by Le Creuset that was red and orange. Perked coffee was okay but I really prefer the taste of drip coffee. And I'm not a big fan of coffee made with a French press either. What other options were there? Were there non-electric drip pots made back in the pre-electricity days?

Yes, there were. I remembered one I had seen in a junk shop in town. Was it still there? We went to investigate.

Indeed it was (for $16.95).

The Porcelier, as it is called, was made in the 30's-40's. Made of ceramic with a strainer basket on top, it makes coffee in a really simple way: Boil water on the stove, put coffee in the strainer, put the strainer on top of the coffeepot and pour the boiling water through.

The flavor of the coffee is unbelievably good--perhaps because it is made in ceramic?

 The only downsides we found were that it could sometimes take a while for the coffee to drip through, and the coffee got cool rather quickly. And you couldn't heat the pot back up on the stove. I think I can remedy the slow drip by grinding our own coffee like we used to so that it is a coarser grind that what I get at the store. Coffee beans have been ordered (I could not find decaf beans locally, so Amazon it is.) and we'll see if that helps. We can keep the coffee warm longer by filling the pot with hot water first, thus heating up the ceramic before the coffee goes into the pot. The last thing that could be an issue is that it only makes about 6-cups (I'm talking mugs here, not actual cup measures). That's fine if it's just Larry and me but when guests come we run out of coffee pretty fast.

Were there other options? I found this guy on eBay:

This pot makes 18 cups! Certainly it's big enough. And it can be reheated on the stove is necessary. For everyday, though it's, well, BIG.

Option 3: This little plastic funnel and filter is what I used at work to make my coffee. Simplest of the simplest, it just takes putting coffee in the filter and setting it in the funnel on top of the coffee cup, then pouring boiling water through. A cup can be made in a very few minutes, and two cups can be made at a time if 1/8 cup of coffee is put into the filter. So for quick coffee, or for my hazelnut coffee that Larry does not like, this is an easy solution. But it only makes one or two cups at a time. And there's that plastic's still a handy little thing to have, and was really useful when the electricity went off.

What's next? Right now I'm bidding on a pot like this on eBay:

Made of stainless steel by West Bend and with a lifetime warranty, this one looks like it could solve the problem of not being able to keep the coffee hot, and it's unbreakable, unlike the Porcelier. I wonder, though, if the coffee will taste as good? Stay tuned.

Do any of you use something other than the electric drip coffeemaker to make your brew?


hart said...

My husband uses something called a Toddy Maker. You put coffee and cold water together let it sit overnight or longer and uses the coffee concentrate plus hot water to make your coffee. The rest of the concentrate stays in the fridge.Makes very mellow and non-acidic coffee.


Granny Sue said...

That's interesting, Jane. I've never heard of that.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...