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Serving: Serving Pots

Covered serving pots have been in vogue since the Arabs started drinking coffee. At import stores you can find the traditional Arabian serving pot, with its S-shaped spout, Aladdin's lamp pedestal, and pointed cover. You can also occasionally find an ibrik, or Middle Eastern coffee maker, with an embossed cover for keeping coffee hot. The changes in English coffeepot design are fascinating. On one hand stands the severe, straight-sided pewter pot of the seventeenth century, which suggests a Puritan in a stiff collar; on the other, the silver coffeepot of the romantic period, which takes the original Arabian design and makes it seethe with exotic squiggles and flourishes.

The coffee thermos, the space-age contribution to coffee serving, works like the old thermos jug but has design pretensions, and is much easier on flavor than reheating. The cheapest (about $15 to $20) are plastic and embody a bright postmodern chic. Bauhaus classicists can choose from clean-lined stainless steel designs (around $25), while crystal-and-silver types can find thermos ($60 and up) that rework traditional 19th century designs in brass or silverplate.

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Adapted from Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing & Enjoying; Espresso: Ultimate Coffee; and Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival. St. Martin's Press.
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