On Coffee

One of the things I missed most during hard lockdown was not being able to visit Red Café, my favourite coffee shop in High Street. The restaurant has reopened and I am overjoyed.

Bliss. My second cup of morning coffee, served at the Red Café

It is hard to imagine life without coffee and drinking it at a coffee shop is an indulgent pleasure. That’s not to say that home-brewed coffee is not also delicious, and my two favourite methods are using a coffee plunger (Bodum) or an old fashioned stove top espresso pot (Moka). The first gives a quicker result and the second a richer brew, heralded by a distinctive pop-pop-pop sound as the last of the water pushes its way up through the layer of ground coffee and into the top chamber of the pot.

I vaguely knew that there was an Italian history behind our espresso pot but now also know that this coffee brewing device, where pressurised steam passes through the ground coffee, was named after the Yemeni city of Mocha and was invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 (thanks Wikipedia).

But I digress. What I really want to write about is another pleasurable activity, which is to spend a day sewing and socialising with my quilting group. Last week we met for an enjoyable day workshop, graciously given by one of my quilting friends, where we made coffee plunger cosies from strips of fabric. Karen invented these doofas (as she calls them) so that the coffee in the plunger can stay warm while it brews. I enjoyed the workshop so much that I forgot to take photographs of the various creations and can only show you mine.

First Karen showed us a clever way of joining those leftover strips from previous quilting projects to form interesting pieced fabric. This is then backed, sandwiched, quilted and bound to make a coffee plunger-sized cosy. The fastening tag is stitched into the binding and velcro is used to secure the two edges, with the tab crossing beneath the handle of the pot. It is a clever design, perfected by Karen after a few iterations.

Another generous textile designer, Diana Vandeyar, shared the pattern for a paper pieced Moka pot some weeks ago. We were in lockdown and I welcomed the diversion and challenge of making it. I am full of admiration for Diana for devising the design and also for sharing it on her blog, complete with a downloadable pattern.

The Moka pot I made from Diana Vandeyar’s design. Can you spot the mistake?

I added a extra strips of sashing to make it big enough to use as a tray cloth. Do I get compliments from guests? Of course I do!

25 thoughts on “On Coffee

  1. I always learn something new from your posts. I have never used these type of pots to make coffee.
    I do so miss going to a coffee shop with my friends. I also miss our Wabi-Sabi crafting Sundays. We were trying to figure out how we could do this and still remain socially distant.

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  2. Dear Mariss, how beautiful and practical this all is. I love your colours and the gradation of pattern. Inspirational. (Can anyone believe that someone can go off something as nice as coffee for 10 years! – me)

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  3. I’m with you…I really enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning! However, I’m not ready to partake of a cup in-house at a coffee shop yet. I don’t even want to go through drive-thru because the lines are so very long. I’ve tried percolators, drip brewers, a french press and the pour-over methods. All of them have their positives and negatives. Right now my favorite is the wonderful cup of coffee I get from my Breville. Enjoy! 🙂

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  4. Looks like Grahamstown has come a long way since a chelsea bun from Paulas?!
    We also use those two methods for making coffee – nice to honour the humble Mocha pot in a quilt. It is quite a classically functional shape isn’t it?
    Well I am off to make coffee to have with some muffins I have just made on a cold afternoon with ongoing mizzle. I do so hope you are having some rain – or that you are about to have some?

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      1. I am not surprised that Paula’s is no more! Its been a long time.
        I so hope that the rain is enough to replenish your water tank. The situation re your municipal water supply (or lack thereof) is truly nightmarish.

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  5. Coffee, quilting and friends – it doesn’t get much better than that! I’ve not use a Moka, but have been so tempted to try one. My usual morning cup is a pour-over, but during this trip I tucked my french press in for a change of pace (and because is traveled better). However, there’s nothing like the treat of a coffee from a favorite shop. I’m missing that. The doofas are a clever idea!

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  6. So much caffeinated goodness in here! I love your quilted tribute to the Moka pot – I didn’t spot the mistake until I read through the other comments, so I reckon you’ll get away with it 😉 I never saw one of these until I studied abroad in college and all the Italian students had them… It made me wonder if everyone in Italy is given one as a coming-of-age gift 😂
    Also, it’s nice to see some sort of normality creeping back in where you are – coffee in the neighborhood café and quilting meetups sounds just lovely!

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  7. Ah what you call a “coffee plunger”, we call a “french press”. We have two of them a large and small one. I do not drink coffee (I am a tea person) but I find so many people enjoyed “plunged” coffee. Now I want to make a cozy for my press! That is so cool. I am glad you were able to get together with friends and hope someday you can hang out at your favorite coffee shop again!

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