georgian cuisine logo white

Have Any Questions?

(718) 333-5363

Coffee Through the Ages

Coffee Through the Ages

The Turkish Delight

Ah, the wondrous world of coffee – a journey through the ages that’s as rich and captivating as the brew itself! Let me take you on a delightful expedition, dear reader, as we explore the evolution of this enchanting elixir.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself whisked away to a bustling 17th century Ottoman coffeehouse. The air is thick with the fragrant aroma of freshly ground beans, mingling with the murmurs of animated conversation. Behind the counter, the skilled baristas – or should I say, “kahvecis” – work their magic, carefully preparing the Turkish-style coffee in those distinctive long-handled copper pots called “cezves.”

As Kathryn McGowan eloquently describes, the ritual involves finely grinding the beans, boiling them together with water and sugar in the cezve, and then carefully pouring the brew into delicate porcelain cups. Ah, but one must be cautious of that final sip – the grounds have a tendency to settle at the bottom, ready to ambush the unsuspecting drinker!

Imagine the scene – patrons leisurely sipping their Turkish delight, lost in conversation, with nary a smartphone or tablet in sight. Ah, the good old days when coffee was savored, not merely gulped down in a mad rush. Those Ottomans certainly knew how to make the most of their coffee experience, didn’t they?

The European Invasion

But alas, the Turks’ monopoly on coffee was not to last. Around 1615, Venetian traders brought this exotic beverage to Europe, and the continent was never the same. As the National Coffee Association recounts, the first European coffee house outside of Istanbul opened its doors in Venice in 1645, and soon the caffeinated craze had spread to the Netherlands, England, France, and beyond.

Yet, the Europeans were not content to simply replicate the Turkish method. Oh no, they had to put their own spin on things. As Kathryn McGowan notes, the French were the real trendsetters when it came to novel coffee preparation techniques. They started by placing the ground coffee in a linen bag and infusing it in the water, eliminating that pesky final sip of gritty grounds.

But the Europeans didn’t stop there. They also discovered that brewing coffee with boiling water actually destroys the delicate volatile essences where much of the flavor resides. Ah, the eureka moment! A temperature just shy of boiling, they found, produced a vastly superior cup of joe.

The Drip Pot Debut

And the innovations kept coming. Around 1800, the Archbishop of Paris, Jean Baptiste de Belloy, invented the first-ever drip coffee pot. According to Kathryn McGowan, this French beauty had two parts – the ground coffee was placed in the upper container, which was then stacked atop an empty lower chamber with a cloth filter in between. Hot water was poured over the grounds, and the coffee would slowly drip through the filter into the waiting vessel below.

Ah, but there was a catch – by the time the brewing process was complete, the coffee might only be lukewarm. Enter the eccentric Count Rumford, an Anglo-American inventor who had a knack for solving such problems. Kathryn tells us that Rumford improved upon the drip pot by enclosing it in an insulating jacket, allowing the coffee to stay piping hot throughout the entire dripping ordeal.

The Rise of Percolation

But the European coffee revolution was far from over. In 1819, two Frenchmen – Morize, a Parisian tinsmith, and Laurens, a French patent-holder – came up with a new way to brew the beloved beverage. Kathryn recounts that Morize’s design featured a pot with three chambers – water in the bottom, coffee grounds in the middle, and an empty top chamber. When the water boiled, the pot was flipped upside down, allowing the liquid to drip through the coffee and into the top section for serving.

Meanwhile, Laurens’ invention was the first-ever pumping percolator, which was later improved upon by his fellow Frenchman, Jacques-Augustin Gandais. Kathryn explains that this design featured a two-chambered pot with a tube connecting the top and bottom. When the water boiled, it was forced up the tube and sprayed over the grounds in the top chamber, dripping back down into the empty bottom.

Ah, but there’s a catch to this percolation method – the coffee is cycled through the grounds multiple times, resulting in a brew that has lost all of its delicate aromas and flavors. Some, Kathryn tells us, even blame the ubiquitous use of these percolator machines in America during the 1950s and 60s for the destruction of the country’s coffee culture. Tsk, tsk, what a shame!

The Vacuum Pot Spectacle

But the Europeans were just getting warmed up. In 1838, a Frenchwoman named Mme Jeanne Richard patented the first-ever glass vacuum pot, as Kathryn describes. This stunning device consisted of two globes – one on top of the other – connected by a tube that reached nearly to the bottom of the lower globe. Water was placed in the bottom globe, and ground coffee in the top one.

When heated, the water would expand and be forced up through the tube, mixing with the waiting coffee grounds. And then, the real magic happened – when the heat source was extinguished, a partial vacuum was created, drawing the freshly brewed coffee back down through a filter and into the lower globe, ready to be served.

Kathryn tells us that these vacuum pots were not meant to be hidden away in the kitchen – oh no, they were proudly displayed in the dining room, where guests could witness the spectacle of the coffee being made. Imagine the awe and wonder on their faces as that bubbling, gurgling brew made its way down into the waiting carafe. Truly a sight to behold!

The American Comeback

But the European coffee innovation train didn’t stop there. Around 1850, the design of the vacuum pot changed, with the two glass containers placed side-by-side and connected via a siphon tube. Kathryn informs us that Britain’s James Napier was particularly well-known for this design, though the underlying principle remained the same.

Interestingly, the French Balloon-style vacuum pot was later revived in the United States in the early 20th century, where it became the basis for the famous Silex coffee pot. Kathryn shares that in 1915, two sisters from Massachusetts, Mrs. Anne Bridges and Mrs. Sutton, had the Silex manufactured from Corning’s newly invented heat-resistant Pyrex glass, making it much more durable than its predecessors.

The Silex pot became so beloved in America that it became a generic name for any glass vacuum pot. Kathryn tells us that the company was eventually sold to Frank Woolcott in 1924 and then merged with Proctor to become Proctor-Silex in 1957. Ah, the winding paths of coffee history!

The Espresso Emergence

But the story doesn’t end there, my friends. As the 20th century dawned, a new coffee preparation method was about to take the world by storm – the espresso. According to the National Coffee Association’s infographic, the first espresso machine was invented in Italy in 1884, revolutionizing the way coffee was brewed.

Gone were the leisurely days of the Turkish cezve or the theatrical vacuum pot. Espresso was all about efficiency, intensity, and that signature crema on top. At Brooklyn’s Georgian Coffee House, we certainly appreciate the rich history of coffee preparation, but we also revel in the bold and unapologetic flavor of a perfectly pulled espresso shot.

So there you have it, dear reader – a captivating journey through the ages of coffee, from the Ottoman Empire to the modern-day espresso bar. Who knows what the future holds for this beloved beverage? One thing is certain: the story of coffee is far from over. Cheers to the next chapter!

Tags :
Behind the Beans
Share This :


8309 3rd Ave, Brooklyn , New York


(718) 333-5363

Opening Hours

Everyday 09:00 AM - 23:00 PM

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved.