These are intended as a “starting point” for the respective type of brewing. Ultimately, you will figure out the best and most convenient ways to use these brewing devices, so please remake, twist, turn, distort, decompile, torch, grind and brew these instructions to suit your own needs!’
Cona brewing is a wonderful visual experience that just happens to result in perfect coffee. While these instructions may make it sound like it requires a lot of time and dedication, after several uses you will find it is only slightly more laborious than other brewing methods, but much more fun!
Please note that because of the design of the vacuum brewers, there is always a small amount of water that does not ascend to the funnel. This means that brewing less than the full capacity of the brewer makes more diluted coffee. Match the brewer capacity to the amount of coffee you think suits your needs! The D Size Cona is best for most folks, but if you consistently brew for one person, consider the B size or the C size.
Cona Vacuum Brewing Method
- Fill the spirit lamp with denatured alcohol. This is commonly sold in hardware stores, paint stores, camp stores, marine supply stores, and gourmet food stores. It is also called “camp stove alcohol”. In Cona instructions, it is called “methylated spirits”. Liquid Sterno is denatured alcohol but is more expensive generally (this is not the same as the gelatinous Sterno from self-contained table lamps/catering warmers). Sterno will generally not burn hot enough to work properly.
- Place the wick and wick holder in place. Allow some time for the wick to absorb fuel. (I get about 6-8 uses from one filling of the lamp, so you do not have to refuel every time you brew!)
- Put the spirit lamp in place and the funnel (top glass globe) in its aperture on the stand. Fill the bowl (bottom globe with handle) with hot or boiling water to within about 1/2 inch from the base of the neck. Make sure the outside of the bowl is dry. (Note: You can start with cold water but the process will take much longer.)
- Place the glass drainer (the filter) into the funnel, making sure it is loose. Put the required amount of very even medium to fine grind coffee (–fine but WITHOUT powder!–) into the funnel. THE standard SCAA brewing ratio is 7.25 grams per 6 oz water. I have used the same fine, even grounds for filter coffee in the Cona without producing any sludge in the cup. If you chose to use coarser grinds, compensate by allowing longer infusion when the coffee and water are together in the funnel.
- Light up!
- When the water in the bowl shows the very first sign of coming to a boil, place the funnel into the bowl and snug the rubber gasket into the bowl neck with a small twist to ensure an air-tight fit.
- When all the water, with the exception of a small amount that must remain in the bowl, has been drawn into the top, wait 45 seconds to 1 minute for the coffee to infuse. Some people like to give it a stir with a spoon. If so, don’t bump and dislodge the drainer/filter.
- Place the snuffer on the lamp.
- When all the coffee has drained into the bowl, remove the funnel with a slight twist. Place it in the aperture on the stand, serve up your wonderful coffee …you earned it!
- There are other techniques that involve allowing the water to rise completely to the top and then adding the coffee. There are YouTube videos of vacuum brewing techniques, some of which can get pretty elaborate! Vacuum brewing is as much about the show as anything – though we tend to focus on how good the coffee is.
*Please note that the bowl and handle are not microwave safe! Do not try to reheat the coffee in the bowl as there are screws in the handle that will cause it to melt! We do usually have a few extra handles on hand to sell as replacements in case this does happen…