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Brewing the Perfect Cup

Cona Retro Coffee Maker

About the Cona Vacuum Coffee Maker

At first glance, all coffee machines and makers serve the same purpose. Coffee grounds and water go in, and coffee comes out as a liquid.

But the truth is that the slightest difference in the brewing process means a big difference in the final taste, as coffee is a complex mixture of flavours and textures, some rich and smooth, others bitter and astringent.

Since the way these compounds enter the finished product depends highly on the temperature and pressure of the water, and the time spent brewing, it follows that the way the coffee is brewed can yield very different results.

There are two main simple rules for making good coffee:
1. Do not boil coffee or scald the grounds.
2. Only pour water once through the grounds.

Breaking these can yield coffee that is bitter or flavourless. Unfortunately many coffee makers, such as percolators, break both.

The glass vacuum coffee maker is often regarded as king among coffee makers.

It can brew the most faithful version to what most people would call "a good cup of coffee".

It has strength, flavour, and a rich and smooth taste.

This is achieved by following the two rules above. The water always pours over the grounds before boiling, and is pulled over the grounds only once.

The temperature never gets too high, preventing the chemicals that make coffee bitter from spoiling the brew, and the all-glass construction prevents the flavour from being tainted by tastes from metals or plastics.

Using the Cona Vacuum Coffee Maker

Almost everything about using a vacuum coffee maker is a sensory experience:
aromas, vapours, motion, touch, action.

  • Grind the coffee, add it to the top vessel.
  • Add preheated water to the bottom. (Some people prefer to use cold, but this takes longer.)
  • Light the spirit lamp or place the bottom on a heat source.
  • When the water shows the first sign of coming to a boil, place the funnel into the bowl.
  • Snug the rubber gasket into the bowl neck with a small twist to ensure an air-tight fit.
  • Watch. Liquids defy gravity. The brew bubbles, but it doesn't boil.
  • Place the snuffer on the spirit lamp or remove from the heat source.
  • Watch the coffee move back down to the bottom under vacuum.
  • Watch the freshly brewed coffee bubble as air is pulled through the spent grounds.
  • When all the coffee has drained into the bowl, remove the funnel with a slight twist.
  • Place the funnel in the aperture on the stand, lift the bowl by the handle.
  • Smell. Pour. Taste. Enjoy!
Cona All Glass Coffee Maker Spirit Lamp spacer

The Spirit Lamp:

The spirit lamp is the key difference between our 'table' and 'kitchen' models, and allows the coffee maker to operate while placed on a coffee or dining table.
Models with a spirit lamp must be fueled with "methylated spirits".
This is commonly sold in hardware stores, camping stores, marine supply stores, and gourmet food stores. It is also called "camp stove alcohol" or "denatured alcohol".
Do not use petrol, lamp oil, or any other type of fuel in the spirit lamp!
Once the lamp is full, place the wick and wickholder in position. Allow some time for the wick to absorb fuel.
You will get about 6-8 uses from one complete filling of the lamp.