Old-School Coffee Brewing

Old-School Coffee Brewing

The Napoletana, or Flip Coffee Pot

The napoletana, or flip pot, is a manual drip brew coffee maker that operates in the same manner as any other dripolator, but with a unique twist: it’s turned upside-down to start the brewing process. Just like other dripolators, the napoletana consists of upper pot (to avoid confusion, this will be called the kettle) and a lower pot (or server), but the basket which holds the coffee looks like a big salt shaker. Napoletanas come in a variety of sizes and are designed to hold only the appropriate amount of coffee to an equally appropriate amount of water relative to the pot’s (5-ounce) cup size.

The kettle is filled with water to a weep hole near the top, and placed on the burner (if using a gas stove, take care that the flame is kept under the kettle so the handle doesn’t get hot). Unscrew the lid on the filter canister, fill the basket area with a medium-fine grind of coffee (do not tamp), and replace the lid. Slide the canister into the kettle and fit the server on top so the handles are aligned. Watch the weep hole; when the water comes to a boil, it will start to spit and sputter out of the hole. This signals flipping time! Cut off the heat, grasp both handles, and turn the whole thing upside down. The heated water drips through the coffee and into the server pot (my 4-cup pot takes about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes). Once brewing is complete, carefully remove the kettle (mine is the perfect size to fit filter-down into the sink drain) and serve.

Points to ponder: If you’re accustomed to auto-drip coffee brewed through a paper filter, you might find coffee brewed using these old-school methods somewhat stronger. Although paper filters trap the finer sediment, they also trap the oils that give coffee its great taste. Take care in clean-up too. Some of the edges may be sharp and could cut. Sure, these old-school pots are a bit more time and labor intensive, but the reward of having a good cup of coffee is well worth the effort.

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