Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Coffee pots

I found from Joan's blog that she collects coffee pots, so I had to show this photo. The shelf is in my back hallway next to the door to the garage. My husband has a collection of these vacuum coffee pots (anybody remember those?) that all actually work. He used this one until he found a new Black and Decker vacuum pot, which we also use to make iced tea. It works the same way but isn't pretty and cool and chrome. This one is special because we found the matching creamer, sugar bowl and serving tray, all engraved with the same motif as the coffee pot.

This pot is probably from the 1950's. He has several, some of which are older. There are both electric models and those you put on the stove. Do you remember how they work? There is a filter screen and a rubber gasket between the top and bottom "bubbles", and a tube attaching to the top one that extends into the bottom. You put the coffee grounds in the top and the water in the bottom. As the water begins to simmer, the increased vapor pressure pushes the water up the tube into the top chamber. A little bit of water remains in the bottom, simmering and keeping up the pressure to let the coffee steep in the top. The water in the top never gets to the boiling point, which is supposedly the best way to make coffee because it keeps the right temperature range to extract all the good stuff from the coffee but not the bitter extracts, which come out nearer to 212 degrees.

Then, the electric element cuts off and the bottom cools until the pressure drops enough that, with a whoosh!, the water flows down the tube again into the bottom. Kind of sounds like it's flushing! It's both a coffee pot and a floor show!

My husband swears that these make the best coffee of any pot. He doesn't drink a lot of coffee, so he sort of goes the "gourmet" route and buys Kona beans to grind himself. My sister-in-law, the "gotta have coffee in the morning" type, has a regular Bunn pot, but she says his Black and Decker pot makes very good coffee too.


Joan said...

I've seen these vaccuum pots and they are gorgeous (I guess you have to think the old coffee pots are "gorgeous" to start with, which I do, obviouosly!). I'll try and get a photo later this week of my percolators. Thanks for sharing! Love the creamer and pitcher, by the way.

Lindah said...

Oh, I agree, they make the very best coffee. Many years ago, we received a glass set as a wedding first intro to vac coffee. I was fascinated. We really liked it, but I forgot it on the burner one busy morning...ooopsie! Your compsition is lovely! I admire the ability to take ordinary pieces of life and make a beautiful arrangement. And that is life, right? Ordinary pieces...beautiful when taken as a whole.

Dresden Plate said...

I used a wonderful old French coffee pot for years, similar to the ones you describe. Sometimes the old ways are the best!