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Neapolitan Flip Over Coffee Brewer

April 13, 2011

While cleaning out our garage the other day my wife found a wonderful looking old aluminum grease straining can left behind along with some other trinkets collected and forgotten by the previous owner.  Thankfully after inspecting her find, I saved this Neapolitan flip over coffee brewer from a slimy existence.  It needed cleaning and the lid was screwed on crooked (might be why it was left behind - it took some technique to remove the lid without damaging the device).  This is a large item - a 12 cup pot I guess based on the size and the number 12 on the bottom - the "Made in Italy" is almost erased by wear from an untold number of uses  by it’s previous owners .  Not exactly the crown jewels, but still a fun find!       

I have tried making exactly one pot so far so no secrets for brewing success are to be found here.  I did heat the water in an electric kettle instead of a stove top before pouring it into the bottom (top?) of the brewer though for a modern twist on this ancient method. I also used a white paper basket type filter to line the bottom of where the water drips through and poured the coffee grounds above this since I fear the level of grit could be substantial otherwise.

No measuring here - all by feel, just like back in the old country, back in the old times, times before measurements... and fire... no, not quite that old, but still old.

The coffee? It tastes like good filter drip and should get even better with a little more care - the drip rate slows using the filter but is quicker than one might think - what looks like 20 - 22 fl oz of fresh off the boil hot water went through a fine pile of maybe 40g (give or take 5g) of grounds in three or so minutes.  The cup is bright and has a decent but not overpowering body - reminiscent of a cup from my BUNN auto drip brewer (The BUNN, unlike this old flip pot, is available here on ROASTe), albeit with much less fanfare.

These are very basic self contained pour over brewers.  I can envision an old country laborer carrying one of these (probably a smaller size though) out to a lumber camp, a mine, or possibly a stone quarry with his lunch for the day.  With this brewer he has two containers each with separate handles - one part with a spout for pouring and the other one open to use as a cup to drink the coffee. Both cheap yet durable enough to survive the rugged nature of it's intended environment of use, this simple tool might have, over time, grown from these roots into the more common household item that it was at one time.

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