Sunday, November 05, 2006

Perfect Coffee or, None of the Deleterious Properties That Lurk in Boiled Concoctions

Just finished another chapter in my novel-- an historical novel set in the mid-19th century. (Here's the embryonic webpage.) One of the things that's most fun about it is the research. Here's a snippet from my current reading--- The Ladies' Etiquette Handbook: The Importance of Being Refined in the 1880s (originally published in 1887):
There is but one way to make perfect coffee, and this in the French cafetierre, which is automatic in its working, and can now be bought at all house-furnishing stores. One large enough for twelve to eighteen after-dinner cups, or six to ten breakfast cups, can be bought for $7.50; and to one who has never tasted a cup of coffee made in one, the first sip is a revelation. Buy only the best coffee. A favorite combination with most is half Mocha and half Java. Have it as freshly roasted as possible, keep in tightly closed jars, and grind as used. The cafetierre is not out of place on any sideboard or table, and the automatic process of making coffee on the table, is always watched with interest by all to whom it is a novelty. Have the coffee ground fine, and let it go over into the glass receiver twice. It retains all of the aroma, but takes up none of the deleterious properties that lurk in boiled concoctions.