Posted Fri May 23, 2008, 5:29pm Subject: Re: Using a Siphon Coffee Maker
Mark, very nice article with lots of information and great photographs. Nice job!
Question. The siphon coffee maker was invented 160 years ago. Did they know at that time that siphon coffee could make a better cup of coffee or did they invent the siphon coffee method because it was just a cool different way of making coffee? What was the quality of coffee beans (processing and roasting) 160 years ago?
MarkPrince Moderator Joined: 19 Dec 2001 Posts: 5,631 Location: Vancouver, BC Expertise: Professional
Espresso: KvdW Speedster Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder Vac Pot: A bit too many Drip: Bonavita Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Fri May 23, 2008, 6:30pm Subject: Re: Using a Siphon Coffee Maker
Siphon coffee making and the "steam age" went hand in hand. Between 1830 and 1860 (and beyond), there was a huge plethora of new devices invented to brew... and more importantly, filter coffee. This is excellently detailed in books like Coffee: 300 Years of Invention by Bramah, and Coffee Floats, Tea Sinks, by Bersten.
As steam became more recognized as a power source, of sorts, efforts to use steam to push or pull brewing coffee through a filter device were experimented with. The idea then was the forerunner to espresso: a theory was generally held that the finer you could grind coffee, the more complex and "deep" the extraction could be, and the faster you could brew.
Machine inventors had hit a wall, of sorts, with how fine they could grind coffee up to this point - because they were relying solely on gravity to allow brewed coffee to pass through the grinds and filter to the coffee-containing vessel.
Experiments with the contraction and expansion of steam and water vapour lead to the development of balance brewers, vacuum brewers, and the unidirectional Napierian brewing devices, all devices that could hold finer grinds and also automate the brewing process... the balance brewer is, AFAIK, the world's first "automatic coffee maker", invented in the 1840s.
These were the forefathers (and mothers - the disputed inventor of the vac pot was a woman) of modern day espresso.
Mark PS - during this stage, some coffee aficionados discovered that steam is not friendly to coffee. So as the development of steam use in brewing coffee continued, a new path was sought - how to use steam, but keep it away from the actual brewing.
LMAO!!!!! I think Craig Andrews had a stash at one time as well. Eh, Craig? On a previous note...For the sake of clarity and to verify your explanations of various filter types, I need to modify my statement regarding the Silex Lox-In and 'fines"....actually you are closer to correct...there ARE definitely more fines with the SLI than using a nylon mesh (like the Infuze...very clear brew there) and the cloth filter...TOTALLY clear brew...like a Chemex Drip, but more body. I guess I'm in love with the ease of use with a glass rod, and don't mind the bit of silt. If you ever want to sell an Infuze?........
That's a balance brewer. I mentioned them in the article, and in my previous post in this thread. I have four of them functional, one that isn't (antique from the late 1800s, gasket's completely gone).
That is called a "Balanced Siphon" or an "Automatic Siphon" in Taiwan. It is rather nice, though unlike the traditional Siphon Pot (Vacuum Pot), you can not control the time. It is all automatic. You're control is in the grind and the amount of water you add. It is amazing to watch and a great conversation piece in dinner parties. though more work to clean and takes up more space then the Hario pots I use.
Here in Taiwan, Yama is cheap to buy and can be bought amost anywhere. Hario is in the middle price range. It is what all the coffee shops use, and the quality of metal is much better then that of the Yama. Cona is the most expensive and harder to fine. Never really seen any shop or anyone using one though they can be bought.
Hario is pretty much the standard. There are a few other companies that make Siphon brewers now, though. They can be very cheap and actually look cheap, though often the glass ball on the bottom is actually thicker glass. strange.
This method of of brewing has been the most common in Taiwan until Starbucks showed up. Though any "coffeeshop" still uses Siphons as their main method of preparing coffee.
I would love to see some Youtube video of cafes in Taiwan (or elsewhere) doing "high volume" service with siphon coffee makers. How the baristas handle multiple orders, how fast they work the siphons, how fast they serve coffee, the works.
Could you accommodate? Video a few cafes as they do their thing, and post it to Youtube?
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