York­shire­man Ge­orge per­fects the art of mak­ing cof­fee

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

He had ad­mired the English teapot, which has been pretty much un­changed since the days of Josiah Wedg­wood in the mid eigh­teenth cen­tury. The teapot is a won­der­fully flex­i­ble piece of equip­ment that doesn’t need in­struc­tions on how to use it and makes a cup of tea just as you want it. As much as you like, as strong or as weak as you want and at the tem­per­a­ture that suits you. To Ge­orge, it was be­wil­der­ing that there wasn’t a com­pa­ra­ble easy cof­fee maker.

There are espresso machines that come with an op­er­a­tor’s man­ual half an inch thick, or fil­ter cof­fee machines that again re­quire an in­struc­tion book­let, take ages to drip through and are wholly de­pen­dant on a good qual­ity fil­ter pa­per that doesn’t take out the taste of the cof­fee it­self. Cof­fee presses don’t sep­a­rate the es­sen­tial oils in cof­fee (which give the flavour and body) from the acids and cel­lu­lose in the ground bean so they put the good and the bad parts of the cof­fee into your cup. Tra­di­tion­ally, Ital­ian grand­moth­ers would make cof­fee in old cot­ton socks but they weren’t fine enough to stop the grains from sneak­ing through and the socks needed wash­ing af­ter each use...hopefully. In­stant cof­fee may be quick and easy but it doesn’t have the de­li­cious depth of flavour and aro­mas that we should be seek­ing.

A visit to a Chi­nese mi­cro­engi­neer­ing fac­tory that was pro­duc­ing com­po­nents for com­puter ink jet prin­ters gave Ge­orge the op­por­tu­nity of see­ing laser etch­ing ma­chin­ery mak­ing tiny holes in sheet metal. He asked how small a hole could be made and was told as small as the thick­ness of the sheet… maybe smaller. To­day, the stain­less steel fil­ter in what looks like an or­di­nary cof­fee pot holds the se­cret of mak­ing an ex­cel­lent cup of cof­fee. The holes are so fine that only the best part of the cof­fee in­fuses with boil­ing water. The fil­ter can even be left in the pot as the cof­fee will go cold long be­fore any un­wanted “brew­ing” can oc­cur.

The tech­nol­ogy to pro­duce this fine and ac­cu­rate per­fo­ra­tion didn’t ex­ist a few years ago but not be­ing sat­is­fied with merely in­vent­ing a new way of mak­ing “Soft­brew” cof­fee, Ge­orge also de­signed ad­di­tional features for his porce­lain “Oskar” cof­fee pot . The han­dle is hol­low so it doesn’t get hot and has a built-in thumb rest for steady pour­ing. The spout is finely shaped so it doesn’t drip. But the real se­cret is in the fil­ter. This al­lows the drinker to make cof­fee sim­ply, to an in­di­vid­ual taste and ex­per­i­ment with the thou­sands of va­ri­eties of cof­fee and their dif­fer­ent roast­ings.

Ge­orge should be proud of his new in­ven­tion and we should be grate­ful that he has ap­plied it to a sim­ple, straight­for­ward de­sign that doesn’t need a tech­ni­cal guide to use it. He re­minds us that “tea has been ru­ined by tea bags” but he may just have come up with a way of sav­ing cof­fee from fall­ing down a sim­i­lar slope.

Robin and Pa­tri­cia Sil­ver are own­ers of The Home Store at Salts Mill, Sal­taire, www. the­home­on­line.co.uk

PER­FECT BREW: Ge­orge Sow­den’s Soft­brew cof­fee pot features a unique fil­ter.

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