Posted in Kafevend Blog

Vacuums and vessels

Those of you who were with us earlier this week will remember we had a look at a few of the ways there are to make coffee. There are many more ways to make coffee however, and so we felt today that it'd be good to carry on the theme and examine another couple. First up, we have a rather peculiar device...

Complex coffee

You might not have heard of the vacuum coffee maker- it's a bit of an obscure device compared to well known ones such as the French press and drip brew machines. The vacuum coffee maker works via a similar method to the Moka pot, but with an added extra. Like the Moka pot, it uses steam pressure to force water up through a spout from a heated bottom chamber to a higher chamber. There is no intermediary coffee bed however- the coffee is just placed in the top chamber. After the hot water comes through, it is stirred and the device is taken off the heat. Now for the interesting part: as the lower chamber begins to cool again, the pressure which had forced the water out reverses, causing a vacuum, and sucks the coffee back down! The top chamber is removed and the coffee can then be poured.

Whilst this may all sound like some new fangled tech, the first vacuum coffee makers were in fact made all the way back in the 1830s in Germany. The rather complex nature of the device meant it didn't lend itself well to everyday use, but it managed to gain a small cult following. Its popularity has waxed and waned, but perhaps the newly stoked love for a more complex brew in recent years could see a surge for the vacuum coffee maker!

Simple but strong

The simple nature of the ibrik- better known as a cezve in Turkey- belies its importance in the everyday lives of the Turkish. It is of huge cultural significance and has a history almost as long as coffee has been a drink. Coffee arrived in Turkey- then the Ottoman Empire- at around the middle of the 16th century. Since then, coffee has become intertwined into Turkish culture. Even simple things such as their word for breakfast- kahvalti- literally means 'before coffee' show their fondness for it. The ibrik is a small pot, traditionally made from brass or copper. The brim incorporates a spout to pour the coffee as well as a long handle. It is used, as you may have guessed, to make Turkish coffee, a form of coffee that has warranted the badge of Intangible Cultural Heritage from UNESCO.

In order to make Turkish coffee, very finely ground coffee beans are used. Sugar and spices are also common additions. These are all added to the ibrik with cold water.. It is warmed slowly and removed just before it comes to the boil. After allowing it to cool for around half a minute, the heating process is repeated again. It is allowed to settle once more before being served in very small cups. Whilst you may find the amount not to your liking if you're used to a bucket mug, the unfiltered nature of the coffee makes for a very potent brew, so you can get away with less. It also means that the grounds end up in the cup- if you ever have a chance to try it, be careful you don't end up with a mouthful of sludge!


How to make turkish coffee

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