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April 2012 Newsletter

Wacky ways to brew coffee have been around since the beverage
first reached western Europe, and they continue to be invented
today. Some methods catch on and become the new norm, others just
sort of linger, with occasional brief flashes of publicity.

Some of the new brewing devices produce great results, as with
the Clover brewer, and some don't, like the Aeropress. However,
since the Clover costs US$11,000 and the Aeropress is about
US$40, guess which one is the most popular and still in
production. Admittedly, Starbucks bought the Clover company and
immediately stopped selling and servicing the machines outside of
the group, but it did make coffee almost as well as a coffee
syphon (vac pot) for only 100 times more investment.

The Aeropress, on the other hand, is cheap, cheerful, made of
plastic and if used as directed produces underextracted coffee of
notable blandness. Despite the claims by its inventor, it
certainly doesn't make anything resembling espresso. Pushing the
extraction envelope with "correct" brew temperature seemed to be
damaging the unit I bought, so I donated it to an op-shop.

An older brewing device is the Neapolitan flip pot, which tends
to overextract rather than underextract.

Basically the brewer is turned upside down and the bottom half
filled with cold water. A filter section full of coffee goes into
the middle, the top is placed on and the brewer put on the stove.
When the water boils the pot is flipped over and the boiling
water filters through the coffee into the half with the spout.

Unfortunately the steam rising through the coffee as the water is
heated tends to preinfuse the grounds and drive off volatile
components, but with the quality of coffees available in Naples
when these brewers were popular it didn't matter that much.

Cold coffee brewers can resemble mad scientist lab equipment, but
basically they are just a way to percolate cold water through
ground coffee ver-r-r-ry slowly. The cold brewed coffee is a lot
like Aeropress coffee, very smooth but lacking in bitters and

I generally don't have much time for drip brewers, but the Ca Phe
Phin or Vietnamese drip is an exception. Designed to be used with
dark roasted Vietnam Robusta, it's another method where coffee is
sealed in between 2 filters then boiling water is added. The
coffee then drips through into a glass or cup underneath.

When the glass contains crushed ice and sweetened condensed milk
a refreshing and potent iced coffee is created, Ca Phe Sua Da.

This month sees a return of our most requested special coffee,

Costa Rica Tarrazu Miel

Rich coffee aroma, with sweet acid, smooth fruity mid palate and
creamy body, the coffee-est coffee you'll ever taste.

Until next month