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A coffee percolator brews coffee by continually cycling the boiling, or nearly boiling, brew through the grounds using gravity until the required strength is reached. Percolators heat the grounds to higher temperatures than other brewing methods. As the water heats inside the percolator, it is forced up through the hollow tube in the center of the pot.
The water splashes up into the coffee grounds, and up into the glass bulb in the lid of the percolator. It then drips down out of the bulb and back through the holed lid and mesh basket. The liquid drips down into the bottom of the pot with the rest of the heated water.
Coffee brewed with a percolator is susceptible to over-extraction as water can recirculate several times through the beans. Percolation often removes volatile compounds in the beans, which does give a pleasant aroma during brewing, but can result in a coffee that lacks flavour. Percolators can produce hotter and stronger coffee than other methods.
To get your coffee to the desired strength, watch the bulb carefully. The cycle of water splashing into the bulb continues until the coffee splashing into the glass bulb is dark enough to suit your tastes.
Siphon coffee was invented in the 1840s and produces a delicate, tea-like cup of coffee; it can be quite complicated to make but is one of the coolest ways to impress your friends.
First, soak the filter in warm water for at least five minutes. Then place it in the bottom of the hopper, hooking it to the bottom of the glass tubing.
Fill the bottom of the siphon with a cup of hot water and insert the hopper into the bulb. As the water begins to boil it will rise up into the hopper; Turn the heat up, add 25 grams of finely ground coffee, and submerge the grounds with a paddle or knife. Let the coffee brew for about a minute and 10 seconds.
Remove the siphon from the heat and watch the coffee draw downward to stay in the bulb. When grounds have formed at the top of the filter, it is ready to serve.
Image: Coffee geek