How to Make Coffee-- an article on making coffee from the August 5, 1866 New York Times

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The New York Times, August 5, 1866, p. 6:

How to Make Coffee.

Prof. Blot in the Galaxy for Aug. 15.

    Coffea Arabica is the name of the plant which produces the berry called coffee. It is indigenous in the south of Arabia, in the neighborhood of Mocha and Aden. It grows also in Persia and Beloochistan.
    About a century ago its cultivation was commenced in many parts of Asia, American and Oceanica; and it is now extensively cultivated in Brazil, Java, Ceylon, Hayti, Venezuela, Porto Rico, Costa Rica, Martinique, Sumatra and elsewhere.

    The Mocha is stronger and has more aroma than any other coffee. It is supposed that the mode of gathering it, together with the qualities it derives from its native soil, give it that superiority over the other kinds.
    The Mocha coffee is not picked, but the berries are allowed to fall when fully ripe, and the grains are then gathered.

    The United States are supplied with the poorest coffee on the globe.

    The kind of disease (I beg pardon for the expression) popularly known by the apellation of "go-aheadism" is certainly very commendable in many respects. It is much admired, and has certainly done much good; but, as in the case of other good things, we must not use too much of it.

    Human nature, which is very seldom satisfied with what it has, and always desires what it has not, has unfortunately applied "go-aheadism" to the cultivation of coffee; and, instead of gathering the coffee when fully ripe, it is picked while yet green, passed through a kind of mill in order to crack open the envelop or berry, soaked in water to freethe grains of the pulp, and then dried. Very often the coffee is shipped, and, perhaps, even put into the market before the time when it ought to be gathered.

                   
Coffee ad from the Oct 9, 1921 New York Times
    Except at Mocha, where the berry is allowed to fall, all coffee gathered properly is picked from time to time as the berries become ripe. But this method occupies days, and sometimes weeks. This is too much for Brother Johathan; he cannot wait so long. He rolls up his sleeves and does his picking at one time. Four-fifths of the berries are thus gathered while green, and therefore ferment on the voyage to market.

    Roasting.-- A pretty exclusive dealer in coffee, Mr. J. D., whom I have taught how to make coffee, has told me that, since the rebellion broke out, hardly any Java has been sent to New-York. He does not know why, but it is so.
    I am indebted to the same gentleman for an account of the process of roasting coffee in America. Everybody knows that what is done by means of machinery is regularly done. Roasting coffee is one of those things that cannot, with propriety, be done regularly. The drum, or roaster, must be turned now slowly, now quickly; now tossed, now shaken, &c., according to the state of the roasting process. But steam machinery is usually employed for the purpose, and thus half our coffee is burned, and the other half not sufficiently roasted.
    This is bad enough, reader, you will agree, unless you are a coffee-roaster by trade. But there is another abomination. In roasting, coffee swells about one-third, or thirty-three per cent., in size, and loses about sixteen per cent. in weight. The greediness of gain has found this out, and prevents it by sprinkling water over the coffee while it is roasting. Thus, instead of losing in weight, it gains.
    Thus the poor deluded consumers think their coffee-mill dull, because it cannot grind the greasy coffee, and believe that the rancid, mouldy taste of their beverage is because the filter is not well cleaned.

    We recommend our readers to roast their coffee very slowly and carefully, on charcoal, and in a hand-drum or roaster. Some kinds of coffee require longer roasting than others. The greener the berry, the longer it takes.
    When roasted, ventilate it thoroughly, in order to help the evaporation of a certain volatile oil of disagreeable odor. Then leave it on a matting until cool, and afterward put it in a tin box, as nearly air-tight as possible. Grind what you want just before using.

    Grinding.-- There is not one man in ten thousand that has ever examined if his coffee mill is grinding well. The Americans generally grind and even drink their coffee as a morning duty. They all acknowledge that they drink bad coffee, but not one tries whether the mill can be improved.

    Now let us go from the kitchen to the stable, and observe the owner of a horse. He looks carefully at everything, sees if the hay is of the first quality, cut in the best way, and with the best machine. See how earnestly he cuts his fingers in examining all the tools he used for his horse's comfort. There is not one machine in a thousand for cutting hay that is not made with the greatest care; there is not one coffee-mill in a thousand that grinds coffee evenly. Poor humanity! Happy horse!

    Making.-- Set a kettle of cold water on the fire. Place the grounds in the filter, and as soon as the water begins to boil, pour just enough of it over the grounds to wet them. Put the kettle back on the fire, and again, at the first boiling, pour it over the grounds rather slowly, and till you have poured enough water to furnish the quantity of coffee required.
    If the water does not pass through the grounds fast enough, just stop pouring a few seconds--that is, long enough to put the kettle back on the fire, and start the water boiling again. As soon as the water has passed through, the coffee is made.
    Coffee must never be boiled, for, by boiling, the aroma is evaporated, and what is left of volatile oil is extracted, leaving the coffee with a bitter, disagreeable taste. If you boil your coffee, you send the aroma to the attic, and a muddy and bitter substance to the dining-room.
    The quantity of coffee-grounds used must be according to taste, age, and constitution.

    Café au Lait-- This is coffee and milk for breakfast. The milk is set on the fire in a tin saucepan, and taken off when it rises; then mixed with the coffee, either in the cup or in any kind of vessel. The proportions are pint for pint.

    Café Noir-- Café Noir is the name given to the coffee taken after dinner. It is generally made rather strong. Gentlemen sometimes mix it with a liqueur-glass of brandy, or rum, or kirschwasser, and ladies a little cold milk.
    Taken fifteen or twenty minutes after dinner, it helps digestion. It excites the faculties of the mind, and gives what physiologists call "agreeable sensations." Coffee is nutritious, and to a certain extent keeps back the waste of the system.

    Filters.-- French, German and English chemists, who have analyzed coffee made in different filters, give the preference, as far as the aroma is concerned, to that called the "French balance," or any others made on the same principle.
    At the request, and in the prescence of several persons, I have made an experiment at Mr. Walker's, in Cornhill, Boston, with four different filters--the French balance, the Turkish coffee-pot, one that I devised there (and which Mr. Walker has named Blot's coffee-pot), and another.
    Tested with a hydrometer, the density of the coffee made in the Turkish filter, and of that made in mine, were equal; that of the French balance and of the other were thinner. The coffee made in the French balance was the clearest of all, and, tasted by the persons present, was pronounced to have a better flavor than the others.

    Mixed.-- Different kinds mixed together make better coffee than one kind alone.
    A good proportion is: To one pound of Java, add from two to four ounces of Mocha, and the same quantity of Rio, or of San Domingo, or of Maracaibo, or of Martinique.
    The gastronomer's proportion is: One pound of Mocha, two pounds of Java, and three pounds of Rio, or San Domingo, or Maracaibo, or Martinique.

    Composition.-- Coffee, as analyzed by Mr. A. Paven, was found to contain, in 100 parts, as follows: Cellulose, 34; hygroscopic water, 12; fatty substance, 13; glucose, dextrine, vegetable acid, 15.5; lugumine, cascine, &c., 10; caffeine, 0.8; nitrogenized substance, 3, mineral substances, potassium, magnesia, lime, &c., 6.6; unaccounted for, 0.1--100.

    Chicory.-- It is a mistake to believe that chicory improves the coffee. It has a worse effect on coffee than water would have in champagne; beside weakening it, it gives it a bad taste. Make your coffee weak or strong, according to taste, but do not spoil it with chicory.

    Rye.-- When you cannot procure coffee roast good wheat, grind it and use it as coffee, but never use rye as a substitute for it.
 
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