Coffee 10: Brewing Equipment

Y-cappucino-2Jake Uys, co-owner of  YUM Eat Cafe, loves his coffees. He creates the tasteful coffee creations; preferable slow-brewed and sometimes with a time-consuming manual finishing touch. The beans are on his specification roasted at the Beanery in Hermanus and per coffee-order ground on the spot. Every speciality coffee needs its own ground, exact weight, water temperature, etc. Weekly, every Tuesday, Jake writes his coffee post for this blog. Starting with the history and ending with the perfect ‘Latte’. The first four postings were excerpts from Wikipedia about history, cultivation, processing and brewing.

If you consider the limited number of ways coffee and water can be combined, it is amazing how many factors there are in the brewing that make a difference in the resulting coffee flavour.

The simplest method is AL FRESCO where you only need a pot that you can use over an open fire.  The brew should be about 55 g per litre.  Bring the water to the boil, remove from the stove and stir well. Set aside for about 4 minutes, strain the coffee into cups.

The JUG or CARAFE is also a simple infusion method which requires little equipment.  Earthenware jugs are ideal for this method.  Fill the jug with boiling water, pour out the water.  Place medium grind coffee, 55 g per litre, at the bottom and fill again with water just below boiling point.  Stir well with a wooden spoon for 4 minutes before straining into cups.


Making coffee in a plunger is exactly the same as making coffee in a carafe, but without the use of a strainer.


You need a enamel coffee pot with a muslin bag inside.  Two heaped tablespoons of coffee (+ 60 g) goes into the muslin bag hanging into the coffee pot.  Fill the pot with boiling water (at altitude + 96 degree C). 

Bring the water to the boil, turn the heat down immediately and let it simmer for 2 minutes.  Take the coffee off the stove and pour into cups.


With a filter coffee machine, the water runs through the coffee to extract the flavour, instead of leaving the coffee to steep in the water.  Commercial machines are much easier to operate than manual ones, as they do all the hard work for you.


Manual espresso pots are the forerunners of automatic espresso machines and are still used in many households all over the world to make a good espresso!

To make coffee in an espresso pot, fill the lower chamber with fresh water up to the bottom of the safety valve.

Fill the filter funnel basket with very finely ground dark-roasted coffee, using the back of a spoon to eliminate any possible air pockets in the coffee and any gaps around the rim of the basket.

The ground coffee should always be level with the top of the basket.

Using your finger, remove any loose coffee grounds from the outside of the basket rim, and place the coffee basket into the top of the lower chamber.

Very firmly screw the top half of the pot on to the bottom, keeping the bottom chamber containing the water upright, to avoid wetting the coffee grounds too soon.

Place the espresso pot on low to medium heat.  After the water boils, its steam will start to push the remainder of the water up the funnel and into the coffee.

Immediately reduce the heat to very low.  If the heat remains too high, the coffee liquid will be acidic and thin, as the water will have passed through it too quickly.

When most of the water has left the lower chamber the bubbling sound will become more intermittent, and it is very important to remove the pot from the heat at this time.  Wait for the bubbling to ease before serving.

Y-coffee4That leaves us with the espresso machines that we see in all the coffee shops all over the world. Sleek and mean machines with a “barista” behind them that fill all us mere mortals with awe!!!!


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