1. French press, France
Despite its name, the first patented device featuring a circular wire-mesh filter plunged into a cylindrical jug of hot water and ground coffee was actually created by an Italian, Attilio Calimani, around 1930. Later, a version of the device by another Italian, Faliero Bondanini, was mass-produced in a French clarinet factory and gained popularity, hence the name. The strength of French press coffee is adjustable by varying the brew time, though the ideal period is a topic of hot debate among java junkies.
2. Espresso machine, Italy
Espresso is, for some, the ultimate coffee expression. Made by forcing boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee, it is stronger and more robust than other coffee styles. First created in 1884 by Italian Angelo Moriondo, the espresso machine has gone through many incarnations and can now be found in cafes, hotel rooms, homes and even on aircraft.
3. Coffee sock, Malaysia and Singapore
At the ubiquitous kopitiam (coffee shop) found in both countries, grounds made from beans roasted in sugar and margarine are placed in a cloth “sock” filter and boiling water poured over to make kopi (coffee). Kopi is served with condensed milk by default. If you want coffee without milk, ask for kopi-o and for coffee straight up, order a kopi kosong.
4. Siphon bar, Japan
The futuristic siphon system, created by Japanese baristas, brews coffee through a time-consuming multi-step process involving high-powered halogen lamps, steam, glass globes and bamboo paddles. Coffee aficionados who swear by the results – which they say has a multidimensional flavour and a light, almost mousse-like texture – are willing to pay up to double the usual price for a cup.
5. Vietnamese drip coffee, Vietnam
Coffee was introduced to Vietnam by the French during the colonial period but it has since developed a style of its own. Due to the country’s tropical heat, Vietnamese coffee is most commonly enjoyed iced, dripped onto condensed milk from a ca phe phin – an aluminium or stainless steel filter placed atop a glass, resulting in a thick, strong brew.
6. Turkish coffee, Middle East
Brought in from Yemen in the early 16th century, Turkish coffee is made by heating finely ground beans and water in a cezve or traditional Turkish coffee pot, with sugar added if desired, until the mixture foams. The contents are then allowed to settle before it is drunk. More than a pick-me-up, coffee is a fundamental part of Turkish culture, with prospective brides being judged on their ability to make it well.
– TEXT BY NICK WALTON
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.