On this Day:
In 1865, James H Mason of Massachusetts, patented the 1st US coffee percolator. However, people had been listening to the perking sound of brewing coffee overseas far before…
A coffee percolator is a type of pot used for the brewing of coffee by continually cycling the boiling or nearly boiling brew through the grounds using gravity until the required strength is reached.
Coffee percolators once enjoyed great popularity but were supplanted in the early 1970s by automatic drip coffee makers. Percolators often expose the grounds to higher temperatures than other brewing methods, and may recirculate already brewed coffee through the beans. As a result, coffee brewed with a percolator is particularly susceptible to over-extraction. However, percolator enthusiasts maintain that the potential pitfalls of this brewing method can be eliminated by careful control of the brewing process.
A coffee percolator consists of a pot with a small chamber at the bottom which is placed close to the heat source. A vertical tube leads from this chamber to the top of the percolator. Just below the upper end of this tube is a perforated chamber.
The desired quantity of water is poured into the water chamber of the pot and the desired amount of a fairly coarse-ground coffee is placed in the top chamber. It is important that the water level be below the bottom of the coffee chamber.
The heat source under the percolator (such as a range or stove) heats the water in the bottom chamber. Water at the very bottom of the chamber gets hot first and starts to boil. The boiling creates bubbles that are directed towards the vertical tube, pushing water up and out the top of the tube in a process similar to the principle behind a gas lift pump (an airlift pump relies on a compressed air source). From the top of the tube, the water flows out and over the lid of the coffee chamber. Perforations in the lid distribute the water over the top of the coffee grounds. The water then seeps through the coffee grounds, extracting water soluble substances they contain, then through the bottom of the coffee chamber. From there the freshly brewed coffee drops into the bottom chamber, mixing with the liquid therein. This whole cycle repeats continuously.
As the brew continually seeps through the grounds, the overall temperature of the liquid approaches boiling point, at which stage the “perking” action (the characteristic spurting sound the pot makes) stops, and the coffee is ready for drinking. In a manual percolator it is important to remove or reduce the heat at this point. Brewed coffee left on high heat for too long will acquire a bitter taste.
Some coffee percolators have an integral electric heating element and are not used on a stove. Most of these automatically reduce the heat at the end of the brewing phase, keeping the coffee at drinking temperature but not boiling.
The first modern percolator incorporating the rising of boiling water through a tube to form a continuous cycle and capable of being heated on a kitchen stove was invented in 1819 by the Parisian tinsmith Joseph-Henry-Marie Laurens. Its principle was then often copied and modified. There were also attempts to produce closed systems, in other words “pressure cookers”.
The first US patent for a coffee percolator, which however still used a downflow method without rising steam and water, was issued to James Nason [Ed: Mason? Nason?] of Franklin, Massachusetts, in 1865.
An Illinois farmer named Hanson Goodrich patented the modern U.S. stove-top percolator as it is known today, and he was granted patent 408707 on August 13, 1889. It has the key elements, the broad base for boiling, the upflow central tube and a perforated basket hanging on it. He still describes the downflow as being the “percolating”. Goodrich’s design could transform any standard coffee pot of the day into a stove-top percolator. Subsequent patents have added very little.
There has also been a claim that the world’s first electric coffee percolator was invented by the British company Russell Hobbs in 1952. However, electric percolators have been in production since at least the 1920s and automatic electric percolators have been available since the 1940s or earlier (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
Why are men like a cup of coffee? The best ones are rich, hot, and keep you up all night!
Second, a Song:
Tim Hortons Inc. is a Canadian multinational fast food restaurant chain. Based in Toronto, Tim Hortons serves coffee, doughnuts, and other fast food items. It is Canada’s largest quick-service restaurant chain, with 4,846 restaurants in 14 countries as of December 31, 2018.
The company was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton and Jim Charade, after an initial venture in hamburger restaurants. In 1967, Horton partnered with investor Ron Joyce, who assumed control over operations after Horton died in 1974. Joyce expanded the chain into a multi-billion dollar franchise. Charade left the organization in 1966 and briefly returned in 1970 and 1993 through 1996.
On August 26, 2014, Burger King agreed to purchase Tim Hortons for US$11.4 billion. The chain became a subsidiary of the Canadian holding company Restaurant Brands International, which is majority-owned by Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, on December 15, 2014.
Tim Hortons’ sells coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and soft drinks. In the mid-1990s the chain moved into specialty and premium items such as flavored cappuccino, iced cappuccino, and iced coffee.
Despite an expansion in their food offerings around 2009, the brand remained heavily dependent on coffee sales. In 2009, it was reported that 60% of their sales occur in the morning, and of that more than 50% is coffee. The coffee served is a blend of 100% arabica beans. The “original blend” is a medium, balanced roast that is the most popular served coffee in Canada. The chain has an “always fresh” policy where coffee is served within 20 minutes of brewing.
In November 2011, the company announced that they would be adding espresso machines in 1,000 of their locations, later that month. On April 16, 2012, the brand launched frozen lemonade, in two flavours: original and raspberry. On August 15, 2014, the company added a dark roast coffee blend as an alternative.
The Arrogant Worms are a Canadian musical comedy trio that parody many musical genres. They are well known for their humorous on-stage banter in addition to their music.
The Arrogant Worms came together in 1991 to do a few spots on campus radio station CFRC in Kingston, Ontario, and quickly moved to doing spots on CBC Radio, particularly on Jack Farr’s The Radio Show. Since 1992 the troupe has released fifteen CDs. Their most recent album, The First Farewell Album, was released in November 2016. The Worms have toured in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Each album consists mostly of independent tracks paying homage, always humorously, to different genres and topics. Two exceptions are the 1997 Live Bait and 2003 Semi-Conducted CDs, which are live albums, comprising collections of their best songs. Semi-Conducted is performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Rock, folk, ballads, country, and children’s music all have been genres parodied by the Worms.
When not spoofing a particular style of music, the Worms’ material pokes fun at various aspects of daily life in Canada with songs like “Canada’s Really Big”, “Me Like Hockey”, “We are the Beaver”, “I Am Not American”, and “Proud to Be Canadian”.
They have also recorded music videos for three songs: “Big Fat Road Manager”, “Carrot Juice Is Murder”, and “The River (River of Snot)”. The first two of these are included on the Three Worms and an Orchestra DVD (per Wikipedia).
Here are The Arrogant Worms performing their song “The Ballad of Tim Horton’s” (a.k.a the day Tim Horton’s ran out of coffee). I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“Smell the roses. Smell the coffee. Whatever it is that makes you happy.” – Rita Moreno
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky
The Arrogant Worms are great fun. We saw them live years ago at the Mission Folk Festival.