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Does anyone boil their cafe the old fashioned way?

I've been wanting to try this, but I don't know how flavorful the coffee would be. I found a recipe that says to boil water mixed with Bustelo espresso, then run through a cheescloth or any other type of clean cloth. Does anyone do this? I remember growing up in the Bronx seeing how some of my friends moms did this for their daily coffee. How long can this prepared coffee last? I want it primarily for cafe con leche, and am looking for the best taste.

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  1. This method sounds very similar to a French coffee press.
    Water is brought to a boil and then poured in to a glass
    carafe with coffee grounds in the bottom. The lid has
    a rod through it that is attached to a steel wire mesh filter underneath that is the same diameter as the inside of the carafe.
    After pouring in the boiling H20 you put the lid on. After allowing the coffe to steep for 5 minutes or so, you depress the rod which pushes the screen and the grounds under it down to the bottom of the carafe. I have this every morning and love it.

    1. People all over Latin America put grounds in a fine cloth little "butterfly net" (w/wire holder), place in pot, pour over previously boiling water, wait a bit, and lift the "net" and grounds out. Taste is not the greatest, but better than some other methods, and better if grounds are not placed in boiling water.

      1. A native Filipino coffee (called Barako) is cooked this way. The ground beans are put in a pot with water, allowed to come almost to a boil then left to steep for a while. The coffee is then poured out from the pot and the ground beans are left sitting on the bottom. It produces a very aromatic and flavorful "brew."

        1 Reply
        1. re: ctl98

          This is coincidentally the way my aunts from Naples (IT, not FLA) made coffee.

        2. Actually boiling then filtering is more like the old stovetop percolators. Nobody uses them anymore because circulating boiling water through the coffee grounds for a long time produces a bitter brew. For the same reason the instructions for french presses advise you serve the coffee quickly and not leave it sitting in the carafe with the grounds for a long time.

          Cafe Bustelo is pretty much an espresso grind, so you might have trouble using a french press (clogs the plunger so it's hard to push down, and lots of very fine grounds get through the screen anyway). I suggest a stove-top espresso maker, or plain old drip.

          If you use a courser grind, vietnamese drip coffee maker produces a very strong, smooth cup. It looks like a stainless steel teacup that sits on top of your coffee cup. The bottom is perforated with fine holes, and a perforated tamper goes on top of the coffee to limit it's expansion when it gets wet. You pour hot water into the maker and it drips through very slowly. It's just a variation on Melita-style drip brewing, but the result is a bit stronger without being bitter. Doesn't work well with espresso grinds for the same reason as the french drip.

          1. Friends of mine gave me some Toraja coffee from Sulawesi, and I think they said that it should be prepared like that (boiled in a pot of water on the stove). Sounds similar to the Filipino Barako mentioned above. I will try it one of these days, it's supposed to be very good.

            1. Sort of on topic, is percolated coffee boiled? I was tempted to buy a percolater the other day in lieu of a regular coffee pot. It seemed to make my relatives happy to drink cups of perked coffee when I was growing up.

              2 Replies
              1. re: RaleighRocker

                I don't think a percolator boils the coffee. I think it heats it enough to force it up through the tube and into the basket where the grounds are, like a drip machine heats the water just enough to force it out of the reservoir and over the grounds. (Yes, I know a Bunn works different...) Difference is that the coffee is run up over the grounds more times in the percolator.

                Personally I use a french press most often, but I have a percolator that I bought at Target a few years back when I was without a coffee maker. And I have a drip machine at work, just because that's more convenient there. Of the three methods, drip is my absolute least favorite.

                Hey, on the subject, sort of, does anyone know where a person could pick up a vacuum coffee maker? My husband wants one.

                1. re: revsharkie

                  In a percolator, as long as you keep it on a boil the liquid is circulating between the two sections, gradually leaching more flavor from the grounds. In the beginning you are boiling water, but at some point you are boiling coffee.

              2. I don't know if the coffee we had while camping was boiled...I guess it was. We used one of those campingg coffee pots withthe little clear dome at the top that you fill with water and then the coffe goes on in a little filter thingy. Anyway, it was some of the best coffee I have ever had...That might have been b/c we were in the middle of nowhere with no running water or electricity though.

                1. Sandrina,

                  Personally, I would not boil the coffee, but here is what I do sometimes.

                  Boil water.
                  Place enough coffee grinds in a jar (I use a well washed qt sized mayo jar) and pour the boiling water over the coffee grinds.
                  Leave a little room at the top (or however much you want).
                  Stir the mixture.
                  Place the lid on.
                  Wait five to seven minutes (boil your milk during this time).

                  Use a coffee sock to strain the coffee. (you can get these at a hispanic store)

                  Add hot milk & coffee to your cup!

                  I make up 2 qt jars of coffee like this, which yields a little less than a quart of coffee extract. I strain it immediately and let cool and refrigerate in a clean glass jar. Then whenever I want cafe con leche or cafe au lait, the coffee is ready. Just boil the milk. Or make iced coffee!

                  The brew will keep for a couple of weeks, but it never lasts more than a few days in my house.


                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Isabella

                    Isabella, this method you describe is what I've seen my neighbors (mostly latinos) in the past do. I was just wondering how flavorful the end product was. I'm curious to try it and will experiment with your method. Thanks.

                    1. re: sandrina


                      The coffee is VERY flavorful. But it also depends on what you start out with. I vary my coffees & methods of brewing/steeping. And I always make it super strong. I do not like weak coffee!

                    2. re: Isabella

                      Wouldn't it be easier to use a Bodum?

                      1. re: OCAnn

                        What I've heard from people who use Isabella's method is that the flavor doesn't really compare to a Bodum or drip style coffee.

                        1. re: sandrina

                          Well the only difference btwn Isabella & the Bodum is the straining--EVERYTHING else remains the same--so the flavour difference would be miniscule.

                          And let's leave the drip out of this....

                        2. re: OCAnn

                          Yes, it would be easier to use a Bodum if you are a modern appliance user.

                          I grew up making French Drip coffee and also using the super slow Spanish Drip Method.
                          So for me, it is really not easier. Just different. And yes, sometimes I use a Bodum, especially if I am making coffee for someone else who might not notice the difference.

                      2. I've done it frequently while travelling/camping/being-a-student- usually in a small pot and then pouring it into the cups over a sieve. My friends and I usually call it "cowboy coffee." It's sort of our last stand against the no-coffee-at-all day. I don't much like it though, but you know, desperate times, desperate measures, and all that.

                        - Lea

                        1. I've used an ancient Chemex coffee carafe, which is essentially tempered glass in a figure eight with a wooden girdle at the center, held with a leather strap, and after placing a filter in the top portion, adding the french roast, and pouring boiling water over it, and it drips into the lower portion of the Chemex. It's kept warm on a burner with a diffuser over it. It works, and makes great coffee!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: lrostron

                            My in-laws just gave us theirs from the 70's, as my DH saw one in a GQ article about the best coffee. Do you use pointed cone filters, or are the rounded bottom cone filters okay?

                            We're really eager to try this contraption (it came in the original box and everything!)

                          2. Sometimes I make cafe de la olla - boil water with some fennel seeds, a stick of cinnamon and some brown sugar (I use the kind you grate off a little cone). Turn off heat, wait a moment, put grounds in. Steep 5 minutes, strain thru a fine strainer. Dee-lish.

                            1. Hi,
                              I grew up in Miami Fl. in a predominantly Latin family. My older relatives drank the Cafe Bustelo brand of espresso coffee constantly. My Grandmother uses it two different ways. Either brewing it in a stovetop espresso maker, or she would use it in a stovetop percolator. Because of the prices for the Bustelo brand, I limit my brewing to a small espresso pot. I bought mine at a CVS drug store. This thing is so cool. It's electric, yes electric! The base of the espresso maker has a plug inlet, and after you get the thing loaded with the water and coffee, you plug it in, hit the little button in the front, and it does the rest. It turns itself off when it's completed the process. The first time I used it, because it has a loose hinge on the top lid, the pressure blew coffee all over my kitchen counter. I remedied this by hooking a rubber-band around the lid, and then under the pouring lip. Goofy repair job, but it works. I found a website for espresso coffee, that has some brands I'd never heard of. Their prices are great, and for a limited time, they're offering free shipping. Here's the link...