MESSRS. EDITORS—if it U taken into consideration that, in almost every large city on the Enropean continent, fortunes are realized in a few years by the proprietors of such coffee-houses as are distinguished for the excellence of the beverage supplied therein, it is surprising that there does not exist even one celebmted coffee-house in this city, the great metropolis of the Western World. In Russia, there are houses for the sale of infusions of tea instead of coffee ; but there, as in this country, coffee may be obtained in confectioner's shops. It is a fact that mDst of those who daily make infusions of coffee are profoundly ignorant of the philosophy of cooking it, or rather, of the chemical principles on which its preparation is based. If it is asserted by the same, that, as it is the manifest destiny of all men to die, this final result will as surely and inevitably occur, whether we drink good or bad coffee during our short lifetime, I would reply that this beverage has enlivening and life-sustaining properties, and when taken in moderation, is beneficial to the health of man. Attention ought, therefore, to be given to its preparation, for which the following rules will prove usefuL Coffee ought to be roasted and ground daily in every family where it is used ; for the purchase of it in a ground state not only facilitates adulterations to a great extent, but causes a loss of the best part of it, the volatile oils, which have evaporated long before "it is bought.. In almost every European family, the roasting of coffee is performed in little drums; and great care is exercised to produce the right color. If too little roasted, it is 5 light brown (as it is sold here) ; the volatile oils nre not entirely formed. If too much roasted, the oils are volatized during the process. The roasted berries are then kept in glass bottles, closely corKed, until the moment when a beverage is desired ; a proper quantity is then ground aud infused for use. The best apparatus for extracting the whole strength of the coffee consists in a peculiarly-formed kettle, having a perforated plate on its top ; the coffee is placed on this plate, boiling water is poured upon it, and the essence of the berry is thus obtained by hydraulic pressure. In some large European coffee-houses, a number of small filtering kettles are used in preference to one large one, in order to supply fre$h infusions of coffee at all times throughout the day ; the flavor of fresh coffee being much superior to that which has been long kept in the kettle. Water, of course, affects the taste of coffee. Pure rain water is the best for the purpose of coffee-making ; but the Croton, or other similar water, does not so greatly deteriorate the flavor of coffee as do the improper degrees of roasting, or the time and manner of grinding and cooking this healthy and invigorating beverage. L. R. BREISACH. New York, January, 1858.
This article was originally published with the title "Coffee-Making" in Scientific American 13, 20, 155 (January 1858)