Jody Victor Tries New Coffee Methods

If you are a coffee lover, try steeping to get that “perfect cup”…

A cafetiere (or French press) is a tall, narrow cylinder with a plunger that includes a metal or nylon mesh filter. Coffee is placed in the cylinder and boiling water is poured in. The coffee and hot water are left in the cylinder for a few minutes (typically 4-7) and the plunger is pushed down leaving the filter immediately above the grounds. Depending on the type of filter, it is important to pay attention to the grind of the coffee beans, though a rather coarse grind is almost always called for. A plain glass cylinder may be used or a vacuum flask arrangement to keep the coffee hot (not to be confused with a vacuum brewer).

Coffee bags are less often used than tea bags. They are simply disposable bags containing coffee;  the grounds do not mix with the water so no extra filtering is required.

Malaysian coffee is often brewed using a “sock”, which is really just a muslin bag shaped like a filter into which coffee is loaded then steeped into hot water. This method is especially suitable for use with local-brew coffees in Malaysia, primarily of the varieties Robusta and Liberica which are often strong-flavored, allowing the ground coffee in the sock to be reused.

A vacuum brewer consists of two chambers: a pot below, atop which is set a bowl or funnel with its siphon descending nearly to the bottom of the pot. The bottom of the bowl is blocked by a filter of glass, cloth or plastic, and the bowl and pot are joined by a gasket that forms a tight seal. Water is placed in the pot, the coffee grounds are placed in the bowl, and the whole apparatus is set over a burner. As the water heats, it is forced by the increasing vapor pressure up the siphon and into the bowl where is mixes with the grounds. When all the water possible has been forced into the bowl the brewer is removed from the heat. As the water vapor in the pot cools, it contracts, forming a partial vacuum and drawing the coffee down through the filter.

The AeroPress is a device invented in 2005 that combines steeping and pressure. Hot water is poured onto ground coffee, similarly to a French press, but soon after the coffee is forced through a paper micro-filter using pressure. This filter allows a finer grind and removes more of the sediment than the stainless steel mesh filter of a French press.