14/01/2003 - 21:00


14/01/2003 - 21:00


Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

A Perth chef has brought a little touch of class back to the preparation of a fine cup of coffee with the arrival from Belgium of the Royal Coffeemaker, as Julie-anne Sprague reports.


COFFEE brewing is an art that may be lost to many these days, with the gurgle and bubble and boil of a steaming machine at the local cafe about as close as many of us get to the process. Even when we brew coffee at home, the most intricate part of the operation is simply pushing down the plunger.

A new machine to the Perth market, however, provides a true coffee spectacle.

The Royal Coffeemaker operates on a rather simple yet ingenious syphon mechanism and allows dinner guests to enjoy a close-up view of how to make the perfect brew.

The Royal Coffeemaker features no fancy buttons, switches or advanced technology. In fact, the syphon coffee system was designed in Austria and France in 1840.

The process involves filling the vat on the unit’s right hand side with water, lighting a wick, and then watching as the syphon process begins. As the water boils it goes up a metal tube that flows to the glass container holding the ground coffee beans. The hot water then mixes with the coffee until the volume of water weighs down the coffee container and dislodges the water vat from its stand above the wick. The vacuum system sucks the coffee back from the coffee container into the water vat, leaving the coffee sediment behind. Turn the tap on the water vat and, hey presto, out comes the brewed coffee.

Royal Coffeemakers have been brought to Perth by local chef Simon Watkins, who discovered the device while dining in Belgium.

“I was dining at Michelin Star restaurant in Belgium. I ordered a coffee and they brought this [the Royal Coffeemaker] to the table,” he said.

“They lit the wick and then walked away. I had no idea what to do with it. I spent five minutes working it out but it looked great. I’d never seen anything like it.”

Mr Watkins then set about finding out who produced the machines and whether he could bring them to WA and sell them to local restaurants and kitchen stores.

“They are all hand-made by this man in Belgium. It’s the Rolls Royce of coffee machines,” he said.

Upon returning to Perth and taking the position of head chef at The Goodearth Hotel, Mr Watkins began selling the Belgian coffee machines.

“I have sold 17 since August last year. Quite a few of those have been private sales but they are now in The Sheraton Perth, Belgian Beer Café, the Re Store, and Kitchen Witch,” he said.

Mr Watkins believes the hand-made Belgian coffee machine has potential in Perth.

“This not only looks good but makes a very good cup of coffee. Because the water mixes with the coffee it draws out the flavours and doesn’t burn the coffee like some machines do,” he said.

The Royal Coffeemaker is available in different metals and sizes.

The machine pictured above is a palladium one-litre capacity machine, which makes roughly six cups of coffee, and retails for around $1,000. Smaller machines will be available soon and will retail at around $350.


Subscription Options