There’s a coffeeshop in many small towns in Japan, even though coffee is insanely expensive and most people drink tea on a regular basis. Why? Well, a coffeeshop is a great place to get away from the claustrophobic air of most apartments, it’s a convenient neutral ground to meet friends in off hours, and it’s one of the few places you can get decent spaghetti.
My town’s coffeeshop is called “Liverté”, with the little mark on top. A cup of joe will run you almost 4 bucks, but you can choose from a small list of premium arabica, so I think it’s worth it. Rather than using an espresso machine or standard drip coffeemaker, there is a gas range and an array of glass flasks. I had never seen this type of setup before, but apparently it’s called vacuum pot brewing and it’s been around for a long time. The woman behind the counter fills the flask about 2/3 with water, heats it over a gas flame, and then wedges in a funnel-like device with a rubber seal once the water heats up a bit; this funnel contains the coffee grinds. The water is forced up into the funnel when it gets hot enough, and when enough water has forced its way up she turns off the gas. The cooling flask sucks the brewed coffee out of the grinds. It makes for a fun show, and a delicious cup of coffee.
And here is the not-so-good photo from my phone, emailed to myself and posted manually. See the depths to which I’ve sunk? I really really need that camera.