Besides water, coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world. That makes the coffee maker one of the most common appliances in the kitchen and even in office pantries. Coffee drinking is almost as old as civilization, yet most of us have never thought about how ancient people prepared their coffees and what brewing devices did they use. Here’s a little background:
History of Coffee Makers
Legend has it that the coffee was first discovered in a region in Ethiopia, wherein a goat herder noticed his animals were stronger and more enthusiastic after eating the red beans. But it was the Turks who were known to brew coffee and create the first coffee maker.
Way back in 575 A.D., the Turkish developed the Ibrik, a coffee maker made of copper and brass that was shaped like a small pot with a round bottom half and a tall and slender upper body. The spout was at the top and its handle on the side is usually C-shaped and made of metal. It worked just like a basic pot: coarsely ground beans were placed in the bottom and hot water was poured over the top. They will let it boil for a few hours until the liquid was considered “coffee.”
It was in the early 1700s where another significant progress in coffee making was recorded: it was when the infusion brewing process was introduced in France. It involved submerging the ground coffee, usually enclosed in a linen bag, in hot water and letting it steep until the desired brew was achieved.
In 1806, the first French press was invented. This was used to brew coffee by stirring it into the water, allowing the beverage to sit for a few minutes. Then, a plunger with a metal disk at the bottom would be pressed to trap coffee grounds.
In America, the Boston Tea Party in 1773 made it unpatriotic to sip tea. It triggered the inspiration to drink more coffee and the Americans started to develop a better coffeemaker. James Nason of Massachusetts patented an early design of percolator in 1865, while it was Hanson Goodrich of Illinois who patented the first market-ready design of the device in 1889. With his percolator, water is heated in a boiling pot with a removable lid, until the heated water is siphoned into a filter compartment containing the coffee. The extracted liquid then drains from the brew basket, where it drips back to the pot. Unfortunately, the pot makes the coffee grounds exposed to very high temperatures and overcooking the brew, eventually ruining the flavor.
Evolution struck when someone started to pour hot water through sock containing coffee grounds – the method being called drip brewing. This was considered the first known use of a filter. It originated in France with the use of biggin, a two-level pot holding coffee in a cloth sock in an upper compartment into the coffee pot below. For quite some time, coffee filters were made of cloth, but the problem with it is that the taste of the cloth filter always transfers to the taste of coffee. It was in 1908, a German entrepreneur named Melitta Bentz invented the first coffee filter out of paper. She used her son’s blotter paper and lined it in the bottom of a tin cup with punched holes.
Throughout the 19th century, other brewing methods were developed, including machines using the vacuum principle. The Napier Vacuum Machine, which was invented in 1840, was an early example of the vacuum coffee maker that produces a clear brew. But the patent for the first automated vacuum coffee maker was granted in 1930 to Inez Pierce of Chicago, Illinois.
During World War II, the popularity of glass and Pyrex globes was revived, since metals used in traditional coffee makers were scarce at that time. In 1941, a German chemist Peter Schlumbohm invented the Chemex coffee maker with a one-piece, hourglass-shaped flask made of non-porous, heatproof glass. While it resembled nothing more than a piece of laboratory equipment, it became popular until the 1950s.
In the later years, creators of coffee makers began to standardize their devices to keep up with the growing consumer demand. Plastics and composite materials began to replace metal, particularly with the advent of the first in-home automatic drip brewer, Mr. Coffee, in the 1970s. By 1974, half of the 10 million coffee makers sold in the US are an electric drip.
In the 1990s, manufacturers started to create more attractive appliances to complement expensive modern kitchens. Coffee makers were redesigned and were made available in a wider range of colors and styles. In 1997, Keurig launched a single-cup brewer for the office, and a kitchen countertop-size version was released in 2003.
Benefits of Coffee Makers
The coffee maker is considered as a necessity for most people, especially those who cannot live without getting a daily fix of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. Besides that, these are some advantages you can get with having your own coffee maker:
With just a push of a button on the automatic coffeemaker, you can enjoy a fresh cup of coffee at your home without having to do it manually. No need to scoop and blend ground coffee, creamer and sugar (and other stuff you like in your coffee) and then add ingredients if you can’t get the taste right. Plus, if you’re having house guests, the coffee maker can save your time and effort with its ability to easily serve coffee.
2. Saves money
If you would compare the amount of money you are going to spend a month on coffee shops to the cost it takes to make coffee at home, you will surely see a significant difference. Most people come to coffee shops for espresso, but an automatic espresso machine can do the job for you, minus the excessive price tag for just a cup of coffee.
Coffee lovers who travel a lot gets their simple happiness in hotels with coffee makers, but there are many that don’t offer one. The portability of small coffee makers makes it so easy to pack it and take it to places you want to go and stay in for a while.
4. Promotes creativity
You can become creative in your coffee flavors if you can practice brewing and mixing like a barista using your own coffee maker. If you find two different coffee varieties you really like, you can brew it together and come up with your own unique blend of coffee.
5. Good for the health
You probably know that coffee has health benefits. Besides that, having your own coffee maker can spare you from unwanted calories you can get from coffeehouses. You would be surprised if you figure out how much sugar you are consuming with that Starbucks drink, but if you would prepare it at home, you can control your calorie intake better.