Monday, November 12, 2012

Instructions for Making French Coffee, 1836

From "Domestic French Cookery", 4th ed., 1836. This is an interesting description of making boiled coffee, and includes the admonition to "grind the coffee while warm"!

Let the coffee be roasted immediately before you want to use it, as it loses much of its strength by keeping.

Its color, when done, should be a fine bright brown; but by no means allow it to scorch. A cylindrical coffee-roaster that can be turned by a handle, and sets before the fire, is far preferable to a pot or a pan. Grind the coffee while warm.

If you intend to make half a dozen cups of coffee for drinking, measure six cups of water of the same size, and put the water into the coffee-pot. Set it on hot coals, and when the water boils, put in two or three chips of isinglass, or the white of an egg. Then throw in six large tea-spoonfuls of ground coffee. Stir it several times while boiling, and set it several times back from the fire to diminish the boiling gradually.

When it has boiled sufficiently, remove it entirely from the coals, pour in a cup of cold water, and then put it in a corner and let it settle for half an hour. Afterwards pour it off from the grounds into another pot (which must first be scalded), and set it close to the fire, but do not let it boil again.

If you intend to serve it up with hot cream, you must make the coffee stronger. While the coffee is clearing, boil your cream or milk, and pour some of it hot into each cup of coffee.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Instructions for Home-Roasting Coffee, 1884

From the "Hand-Book of Practical Cookery for Ladies and Professional Cooks", by Pierre Blot, 1884.

In roasting, good coffee swells about thirty-three per cent., and loses about sixteen per cent. in weight.

Roast once a week or oftener.

Put coffee in the apparatus (cylinder, or drum, or roaster), the quantity to be according to the size of the roaster, or according to how much is needed. Have a rather slow fire at first; when the coffee has swollen, augment the fire, turning, shaking, tossing the roaster, sometimes fast, sometimes slowly, and take from the fire a little before it is roasted enough; the roasting will be finished before the coffee gets cold and before taking it from the roaster, which you continue turning and shaking as if it were yet on the fire.

A charcoal fire is the handiest, and more easily regulated.

It is well roasted when it evaporates a pleasing odor and when of a brownish color.

Then take it from the roaster, spread it on a matting or on a piece of cloth, and put it in a tin-box as soon as cold.

It is exceedingly difficult, if not utterly impossible, to roast coffee properly by machinery, and for two reasons: in the first place, there is too much of it in the cylinder to roast evenly, some berries are burned, others not roasted enough; the other is, that being turned by machinery, the cylinder is turned regularly and is neither shaken nor tossed; and even if there were not too much coffee in it, some berries would be much more roasted than others.