Give your coffee some Ooh La La with a Cafetiere!


We all remember our first fancy coffee, right? The time where the coffee is not just that little bit different from what you’d expected, and all that more thrilling for it.

For me it was on a regular after school natter with my best mate, Victoria, at the then newly opened Willows Restaurant in St John’s Place, Perth. Back then they served all their coffees rather elegantly in cafetieres. And the sheer novelty value and fun of plunging the coffee was something neither of us had experienced before. So very cosmopolitan and grown up it seemed to two giddy 16-year-olds.

Fast forward 30 years and Willows is, rightly, celebrating its third decade in business at the heart of Perth. Cafetieres, however, have slightly fallen out of favour amongst the coffee elite in the last three decades but, despite this snobbery, I’ll hazard a guess that there’s one in every home up and down the country. In fact, if you ask, Willows will still serve you up a cafetiere coffee and is one of a very few cafes that still do.

As a piece of speciality coffee brewing kit, the cafetiere still means business, no matter how fashions move on. My very first Bodum was given to me by colleagues as leaving gift in 1998 and is still going strong almost 25 years later. Furthermore, and I’m not ashamed to admit it, when it comes to sharing a brew, it’s my go to brewing kit – trouncing v60s, aeropress and espresso machines each and every time for its casual coffee table glamour and simplicity.

The best brewing results come from using fresh coarse ground coffee (and Aonach Mhor is perfect made in a cafetiere) and hot water that’s just off the boil. You can vary serving according to desired strength but I’ve always used the two fingers method to measure out the coffee. I can almost hear the coffee elite’s teeth grinding at the thought of this utter abandonment of scientific measurement.

The bloom in a cafetiere, where the grinds rise up and the bubbles gather on the top, is one of my favourite moments in making coffee. A quick stir then you need a few minutes to let the coffee steep, and finally you are ready to plunge and serve. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s exactly why (I bet) it’s still a winner all these years later. Why not pop into Willows this Summer to celebrate their 30th anniversary and order yourself a brew.

Article First Published in The Menu Magazine on 9/07/2022 in The Courier and Press & Journal