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Immersion Prologue

IM 0.01 Immersion Prologue

This online course is Part Two in our series about brewed coffee. It investigates the family of brew methods we call immersion brews. Immersion brew methods vary greatly from one to the next and can be subdivided into several categories. 

Firstly, we explore static immersion methods, such as the French press and the cupping method, a style of brewing where the grinds spend most of their time steeping in a stable coffee bed. In stark contrast, pressurised immersion brews, such as the syphon and the AeroPress, involve a significant amount of turbulence, and the grinds are removed from the brewed coffee via pressure. 

The cezve, or ibrik (as it is known outside of Turkey) is a unique immersion brewer. Because of its complexity, we have devoted an entire chapter of this course to elucidating its many secrets. Finally, another family of brewers are hybrids of other brewing styles. Usually, these hybrid brew methods begin as static immersion brews but then involve a percolation phase. They are known as steep-and-release brewers — a term coined by Scott Rao in his book Everything but Espresso (2010). 

It is clear that immersion brewing predates percolation brewing by several centuries. The first known use of paper filtration dates back only as far as the early twentieth century, after Melitta Bentz patented a brewer involving a coffee filter paper (German Patent Office, 1908). Written evidence of unfiltered infusions of coffee and water date back as far as the mid-fifteenth century. The Arab scholar Abd al-Qadir al-Jaziri, writing in the mid-sixteenth century, is still the most important historical source of information about the spread of coffee brewing in the Islamic world. We are told that Muhammed al Dhabani, a member of the mystical Sufi order of Islam who died in 1470, prepared an infusion known as qahwa, made from the leaves of the khat plant, for the evening prayers. At some point, he substituted coffee for khat (J.