I've been known to impulse-buy antique and unusual coffee brewers whenever I come across them, so it's only natural I would snatch up a Neapolitan Flip brewer at the first opportunity. Drawn to the idea of a hands-off pour-over method, I also love the simple logic of the design, even as I tried to hack it to make the coffee taste better. (Maybe I just liked how "Neapolitan Flip" sounds like the name of a cocktail.)
First, a bit of history: Called Napoletana or cuccumella in Italian, the pots were likely invented in Naples in the 17th century, and were modeled after an earlier coffee pot invented by the French Archbishop Jean-Baptiste de Belloy. The pots became very popular in Naples and throughout Southern Italy, and while they look like their more modern cousin the moka pot, a cuccumella uses gravity instead of pressure in order to brew. The small size is perfect for a single serving, and the aluminum pieces are super durable and easy to clean.
Second, the hack: The pots are designed for stovetop boiling, but I find that exposing the grounds to the intense heat of the stove results in a bitter brew. Used in the intended way, the pot is removed from the stovetop and flipped when steam begins to puff out of the tiny ventilation hole in the bottom chamber of the brewer; I prefer to boil the water beforehand in a separate pot, and so don't venture near the stove with the pot itself.
Third, the caveat: Since there's no way to see the coffee brewing, it's hard to know how long the actual drip-through time is. Aim for something less than 4 minutes, and beware that the parts of the pot get exceptionally hot, so handle with care when you pull them apart to peek.
What You'll Need
Water, coffee beans, Neapolitan flip pot.
18 grams of coffee per 280 grams of water. (That's about three level tablespoons of coffee to about 10 ounces of water.) Adjust to taste.
Grind the coffee medium-coarse, about what you would use for a paper filter. It should feel like roughly the texture of Sugar in the Raw.
Boil water in a separate kettle or pot. You can either measure out 280 grams of water to boil, or put the water chamber of the pot on a scale and pour 280 grams once the boiling's done. (Never fill the water chamber higher than the tiny hole, whether you're boiling water in the pot or adding it after the fact.)
While the water is boiling, put your ground coffee in the filter fitting, and screw the filter cap on tight.
Once you've poured your water into the water chamber, snuggle the filter fitting into the base. Place the serving/pouring chamber on top of the brewer securely, so that its mouth is covering the filter cap completely.
Being very careful with the hot handles, flip the pot so that the water chamber is now on the top. Some Italians insist that the pot should be quickly whacked against the counter to make the water flow better, but I'll leave that up to you. Some water will spurt out of the steam-vent hole, so be careful to point the pot away from you.
After about four minutes, all of the water should have dripped through the coffee and be in the brewing/serving pot. Remove the water chamber and filter fitting, and put the lid on the server before pouring to protect your coffee from cooling air and your hand from hot steam.
Have you ever used a flip brewer, and do you have any flip tips? Please share!
About the author: Erin Meister trains baristas and inspires coffee-driven people for Counter Culture Coffee. She's a confident barista, an audacious eater, and a smiling runner, but she remains a Nervous Cook.