Greenpoint, October, 2015

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One More Cup of Coffee Before I Go

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
The Colombian tinto I wrote about in my previous post has made me nostalgic for those places where I have had truly great coffee. Bogotá, Florence, Madrid, sure, but, Warsaw, the home of kawa po turecku (basically grounds in a glass of boiling water stirred until they sink to the bottom)? Well, it's a trick question, since I'm talking about the coffee my Ethiopian friends there ever so ceremoniously served. First, a daughter ground the "green beans" over a hotplate--rather than as it might have been done at home (above).  Then, over several hours, we drank from three pots filtered through the same ground beans, each a bit weaker but all richly satisfying.

Culture Espresso (W. 38th St.)
Then there was the "Summer of Filtron" in the late 1980s. Coffeescenti of the cold-drip method proliferating throughout the NYC hipster coffee scene may not know that decades before we were doing the same thing in grad student apartments in Providence and other farflung outposts. My friends, Troy and Omi, had been given a Filtron unit by mutual friend Quentin. Filtron is basically a plastic contraption that allows you to filter cold water overnight through a pound of coffee (I think they used Chock Full o' Nuts) to create a strong, but relatively acid-free, essence. You would then keep the essence in the fridge, cutting it with hot or cold water as you please.

Reader, believe me when I tell you that was some powerfully addictive stuff. In and out of Troy and Omi's apartment all summer, we were increasingly caffeinated. We started with the recommended proportions: one third of a cup of Filtron essence to  two thirds boiling water (for hot coffee) or about the same of cold water (for iced coffee).  By the end of the summer, I'm pretty sure Troy was drinking his iced coffee at 100% Filtron.

You can get the Japanese maker picture below (center) below for $285 from Williams-Sonoma. You can get the basic Filtron unit above for about 40 bucks.
Courtesy Williams Sonoma


  1. I was served filtron here just a few days ago! As you may know, I gave up coffee years ago but I have had to go back to it here tea here! I know, shocking. Anyway, I went to get an iced coffee at a place in Cheongju and as I watched the preparation I realized...this is filtron! And the taste....oh delicious. Now the question is - return to tea once I am back home or continue on as a coffee drinker?

    That first cup I had in years was like a revelation...and it was instant!

  2. Great to hear that Korea is keeping the Filtron tradition alive. No reason you can't be bi-beveragual!