Espresso makers were first introduced in Europe. They came into vogue in the United States during the nineties. The same basic concept of quickly forcing hot water and steam through finely ground coffee remained, even though American innovations greatly decreased their cost. So, the resulting taste of the product remained high quality and great-tasting. These devices changed coffee making into what it is today.
After simple espresso has been made, turning it into other coffee beverages, such as cappuccino, latte, or macchiato is as easy as adjusting the amount and type of milk. These new-style and more cost effective espresso machines have been a major modernization for the coffee industry and coffee fans. Not to mention the delicious new ways they affect gourmet coffee chemistry.
The French press is another device that started in Europe and expanded all over the world. It consists of a glass pitcher with a lid system that uses a plunger push a strainer that forces the used coffee ground to the bottom. Course ground coffee and hot water are placed in the pitcher. After it has been allowed time to brew, the plunger is depressed. The coffee can then be poured out of the top of the pitcher while the grounds stay pressed to the bottom until they are cleaned out later. This method is very easy and allows for more customization in strength, body, and temperature of the water than drip coffee pots do.
A lesser-known brewing method, and probably the most interesting from a scientific standpoint, is the vacuum pot. It is usually one glass pot or container that is divided into two separate compartments, one on top of the other with a small opening between. Coffee grounds are added to the top compartment. Heating water in the lower chamber causes steam to rise and condense in the upper chamber. This is similar to the the old-fashioned percolator method. When heating is finished and the water has risen to the top, the brewer is removed from the heat and left to cool. The partial cooling creates a vacuum that draws the hot water through the coffee grounds and back into the lower area. This device is great for dinner parties because it can make a great floor show and then there is fresh coffee to share afterward.
None of our modern methods of making coffee are really new. Almost all of them can be traced back to the practices of previous centuries. The oldest known method comes from Turkey. It involves boiling the water and the grounds together and then drinking it without straining the grounds out of the mixture. Certainly not for those who don’t enjoy a very full and robust coffee flavor!
With the plethora of brewing possibilities available to us today, it’s very simple and easy to make gourmet coffee right at home. Any of the coffee-making styles mentioned could be just the one to produce a cup that turn you into a coffee lover and has you hooked for life.