Saturday, June 7, 2008


What's up, internet?

siphon coffee

A few weeks ago, I was in San Francisco, spending most of my trip like this:

  • 1. Get up, go get coffee.
  • 2. Explore the city by foot or transit, stopping for as much coffee as possible.
  • 3. Sometimes I'd just go buy some coffee. Beans, brewed, whatever.

Point being, I came back to Canada with the startings of a caffeine-induced ulcer and a fine appreciation of our Californian friends. In particular, Bluebottle Coffee Company rocked my face off with their crazy $20,000 siphon-brewing machine. You can read more about it here.

It's pretty wicked awesome brewed coffee, if you're into that sort of thing, though a little pricey at $11 for about three servings. But the way they make it (pictured above) is hella mega awesome, and contains essence of science [1]:
  • First of all, they heat up that round-bottom flask with a halogen lamp, which looks very turn-of-the-century alchemy-ish. While that's happening, they grind their beans and put them in a B├╝chner funnel.
  • Then, they clamp the funnel onto the flask, creating a seal, using the power of the steam to push the water up the funnel and begin the brewing process.
  • Once all the water is up, they remove the apparatus from heat and start stirring the grounds. I also noticed the barista placing a wet cloth on the flask, to create a negative pressure on the funnel and pull the water through the filter.
  • Clever, no? Boyle's law, in action!
  • Apparently, the coffee is supposed to have a completely different flavour profile, though to be honest my unrefined palate can't really tell the difference. Too many hours in the lab huffing acetone, I guess.
Talk to you soon!

[1] The world would be a far better place if more things had essence of science. It's kind of like cinnamon, no?


Bethany said...

you have essence of science AND essence of cinnamon. that is a rare gift.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm very impressed. This weekend I'm going up to NY, and I found a place that has one of these machines. My curiosity must be satisfied.

Joel Kelly said...

that's awesome! take some pictures and blog about it!