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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Can you help a brutha out?

I need your help.  Yes, I know I've stated several times on this site that I hate when bloggers and journalers busk their audience for free tech tips and various and sundry advice. 

But this is totally different.    I'm the one who needs the help!

Here's the deal.  I love coffee.  It's actually way beyond love and deep into the realm of chemical dependence... but we'll leave that aside for the moment.

I drink a nice big cup of dark Sumatra (coarsely ground in my lovingly restored hand grinder moments before brewing in my trusty press pot), and perhaps another cup just before lunch. 

This ritual has become the axis upon which my world turns.

But each week my world teeters on this axis because of a little thing called Shabbat.  I won't go into the excruciating details of why, as an orthodox Jew, I can't brew coffee on Shabbat.  If you know, you understand... and if you don't it will take way to much time/effort to explain. 

But not to worry... I have questions for those who 'get it', and those who don't.

Up 'til now what I've been doing to get my Shabbat morning fix cup is to brew a large press-pot full of coffee a few minutes before Shabbat begins, and then pour it into a thermal carafe.  This way, come Shabbat morning my lovely wife and I have luke-to-medium warm coffee to enjoy.  But while this is infinitely better than instant coffee [~shudder~] taste-wise... it lacks that 'wack me in the head with a cast-iron skillet' quality of a fresh, hot cuppajoe!

So here are my questions (feel free to answer one or both as your knowledge and/or experience allows):

1)  What is the very best thermal carafe/thermos-type vessel on the planet?  I'm talking about something that will keep liquids piping hot for 15 hours or more.  Most of the thermoses and thermal carafes out there are designed to keep stuff really hot for only 3 or 4 hours.  I am also not interested in anything with any sort of heating element to keep the coffee hot.  Anyone who has ever gone to an all-night diner and been served a cup of brown battery acid coffee that has been sitting for hours on the Bunn-0-Matic heating element already understands why this is not an option.

Or failing that...

2)  Is there a halachic (Jewish Law) loophole or leniency that will allow me to make fresh coffee on Shabbat that won't violate the prohibitions against 'bishul', 'borer'' etc.?  Just to anticipate some of your responses, please don't suggest preparing 'sense' or pre-brewed concentrate in advance as this is actually several orders of magnitude of wretchedness   below instant coffee on the taste scale.

Thank you for indulging me this rare request for help.  I will try not to make a habit of it (unlike, say, my coffee consumption).

219_48

Posted by David Bogner on March 5, 2006 | Permalink

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I have heard that borer doesn't apply to very fine items suspended in water, such as coffee grounds.

Consult a Rav.

Yehuda

Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Mar 5, 2006 4:33:52 PM

I don't know if you follow the Abadis, (I don't), but they allow various different methods of making coffee on shabbos, from using a coffeemaker on a timer, to filter coffee.

Posted by: orthomom | Mar 5, 2006 4:50:20 PM

I think you are ok if the water is maintained heat. I worked in both the Renaissance and Sheraton Plaza hotels, both are glatt kosher and we still served fresh coffee. The only difference was they would use water from the shabbat tank instead of the boiled water in the coffee maker. The water is a bit cooler but the coffee still came out OK. Both hotels are Glatt Kosher L'Mehadrin Yerushalyim if that is important to you. Don't know about the press pot, they used a regular drip filter.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Mar 5, 2006 4:52:16 PM

Yehuda... I had not heard that and all my reading seems to indicate that size is not taken into consideration. I'm also hesitant to directly ask a Rav for fear of having to abide by the answer. :-)

Orthomom... I don't know much about the multi-generational kula- factory known as the Abidi family other than the occasional link sent to me by friends. Frankly, I would have more confidence in their 'tshuvot' if they consisted of more than monosyllabic 'yups' and 'nopes'. :-) I mean seriously, would it kill them to quote a source or a rationale once in a while?

Lisoosh... I'll have to ask around. You are saying that these hotels use hot water from the Shabbat tank to make filter coffee in the traditional manner? I'd love to know how that is permissible!

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 5, 2006 5:21:16 PM

Brewed essence doesn't work well, I agree. The answer is to make something called "toddy coffee" ... because it's cold-steeped it doesn't go bitter. Much like any other essence, you put about an inch in the mug & top it up with hot water.

It's how Caribou (a Minnesota-based chain of coffee stores) makes its iced coffee drinks.

It's not as good as fresh, but it's much the best alternative I've found for Shabbat.

More info here:
http://tinyurl.com/qm84c
(check the comments for the cheap way to do it.)

Posted by: Andy Levy-Stevenson | Mar 5, 2006 5:29:16 PM

Dude- I have the same pathetic chemical addiction, and the exactsame issues. I usually do one of two things. 1. Have the coffee ice cold on shabbos morning- it works better for me than lukewarm-- but admittedly, it has to be much stronger than usual drink which you have hot. 2. Just put the grind into boiling hot water and drink unfiltered. Its a little gross, but if you're as addicted as me, its worth it to do it fast and get it over with.

Posted by: moshe belangah | Mar 5, 2006 5:41:39 PM

I don't have a solution for you, but I do have a question. Can guests, visting from the States, 'make' coffee on Shabbat morning?! Just checking for our upcoming trip and my required daily HOT coffee 'fix'! If you let me, we'll share with you.... :)

Posted by: Val | Mar 5, 2006 5:53:05 PM

Frankly, I would have more confidence in their 'tshuvot' if they consisted of more than monosyllabic 'yups' and 'nopes'.

I hear, and agree. I also strongly dislike their level of sarcasm. If I get a question answered in the deprecating tone that they favor, I am not likely to come back for more.

Posted by: orthomom | Mar 5, 2006 6:42:32 PM

They have special shabbat tanks for the kitchen and instead of turning on the filter machine (it is a big machine) pour water from the spigot directly onto the grounds to be filtered. Both have full complements of mashgiachim (Ashkenazi) and both cater to charedim. The only people who don't go there are those who specify "Bd"tz" as their level of Kashrut.
I have no idea how/why it is allowed or the exact rulings but that is how they do it. It may be that only the Arabs working there could actually do it, my memory escapes me on that one, so it is worth checking.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Mar 5, 2006 7:27:10 PM

have emailed my Rabbi - will send you his reply directly. The clever bit is- that it is not you who asked die shalle, so you are perhaps not obliged to follow the answer, or are you?!
savta yaffa

Posted by: yaffa glass | Mar 5, 2006 7:33:32 PM

The only halachic way to make great coffee on shabbat is to use a toddy. You add the coffee essence to hot water and it makes a great cup of coffee. I learned to do this right away when faced with the same problem.

You can find toddy makers on the web, or I can tell you how to do without (but it is a lot more hassle). Here is a description: http://www.biogro.us/toddy.html

Posted by: Israel Rosencrantz | Mar 5, 2006 7:40:10 PM

Not sure but it seems to me that coffee kept hot as in a restaurant (the battery acid variety) goes bad because the container has no lid on it. If brewed coffee was kept hot in a sealed container I don't' see why it would go bad.

I respect the commandment to honor the Sabath and keep it holy but really don't see how dribbling some hot water through coffee ground yesterday is going to defile the day. You have a hot water heater in your house don't you? Do you turn it off Friday at sunset? If not then what would be the difference if you had an instant water heater under the sink in the Kitchen? Or one of those drinking water dispensers with the little red knob? Or is it the action of manipulating the knob that is the problem?

Posted by: Scott | Mar 5, 2006 8:04:15 PM

I must be weird. This has got me really intrigued. It's ok to use a Shabat elevator right? There is still a machine electronically 'pushing' the buttons however. If one had preground coffee in little filter-paper cups all set up .... and a machine holding hot water that could sense the filter holder (little funnel thingy) being placed under the spigot and then would dispense hot water untill the cup was withdrawn ( no buttons here just a light beam) then what would be the difference here between this and pouring yourself a glass of water from the tap or a pitcher for just a regular glass of water?

Granted no such machine exists but sounds like a marketing oportunity to me.

Posted by: Scott | Mar 5, 2006 8:18:09 PM

dave
starbucks doubleshot is as close to the caffiene buzz as anything. I just do without. than have instant ugh! how was the coffee i left?

Posted by: dave | Mar 5, 2006 8:22:23 PM

Err... I got nothin'. But this is a very interesting discussion nevertheless. I had no idea there are so many ways of heating coffee. May have to use it in the future one day. : 0

Posted by: Irina | Mar 5, 2006 8:30:09 PM

Preface: Consult a Rav about anything and everything I'm about to say.

I know there is a well-established custom out there that it's OK to use a Britta filter on Shabbat because the stuff being filtered out is too small to be seen.

So PERHAPS it is OK to pour water (which has been hot since before Shabbat) through coffee grinds? If you can put water through a Britta filter, why not through a "filter" with coffee in it?

Just a thought. But of course, ask a Rav! I know nuthin'!

Posted by: Sarah | Mar 5, 2006 8:38:25 PM

Check out these reviews
on thermoses. Enjoy!

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Mar 5, 2006 8:45:20 PM

Submit your query to the crack research team at The Book of Joe!

http://www.bookofjoe.com/

Posted by: Liz | Mar 5, 2006 9:28:00 PM

Dear Yaffa,

firstly of course one may not "grind" coffee as I am sure you know already.

Regarding ready ground coffee, the minhag is as follows.

1. Fill up cup 1 with water from urn
2. Place in cup 2 coffee
3. Pour water from cup 1 to cup 2
4. Add sugar and milk to taste

(Please note that there are other ways of doing it but the above is commonly adhered to).

If you are using tea granules follow same procedure - one should NOT use tea bags on Shabbat.

Hope this helps an is clear.

Best wishes,
this is the rabbis reply, i do not think it helps . yaffa

Posted by: savta Yaffa | Mar 5, 2006 9:33:34 PM

Andy Levy-Stevenson... I had never heard of this toddy business. I'll have to look into it. Thanks.

Moshe Belangah... In the summer we make iced coffee (and even use ice cubes made of leftover coffee!), but I'm not a big enough junkie (yet) to get a mouth full of coffee grounds with my morning 'Joe'.

Val... You're a big girl and can do what you want... but I can't benefit from another Jew doing something that I'm forbidden to do on Shabbat. I appreciate the thought, though.

Orthomom... I also find the crowd that they have attracted enjoys their anti-establishment shtick a bit too much. That's not what observance is supposed to be about. We're not supposed to be a bunch of lemmings... but we aren't supposed to throw off the yoke of Torah just because it feels good to rebel.

Lisoosh... I got that part. It's the filtering that I am trying to understand. I have always understood that the filtering/straining was one of the big problems on shabbat.

Yaffa... I appreciate it very much, but it sounds like your Rabbi is advocating what one of the earlier commenters was; namely drinking a cup full of grounds mixed with water. My question was how to separate the grounds from the water in an acceptable manner.

Israel Rosencrantz... You are the second person to mention this toddy today! How is it that I have never heard this term? Thanks for the link.

Scott... "I respect the commandment to honor the Sabath and keep it holy but really don't see how dribbling some hot water through coffee ground yesterday is going to defile the day." The Jewish way of keeping the sabbath seems very strange to someone who is not familiar with the intricacies of Jewish law. The problem is not the hot water (we keep a hot water urn up all of shabbat) but rather the straining of the grounds from the water and perhaps the actual cooking of the grounds. A shabbat elevator deals with a whole other set of rules and there are many who prefer not to use such an elevator because of the potential problems.

Dave... The coffee you roasted for us was fantastic! It lasted about two days (I'm not good at saving good things). The problem with double shots is they are loaded with sugar.

Irina... This is a learning experience for me as well. :-)

Sarah... Interesting point. I'll have to run it by our Rav. Thanks.

Jewish Blogmiester... Thanks for the link!

Liz... That was a fantastic link you included. The only problem is that they are probably not familiar with the intricacies of Jewish Law. :-) I'm sure I'll learn some good stuff there though.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 5, 2006 10:00:51 PM

Can you make a pot of coffee before shabbos with extra water and then keep it on a hot plate all night until you need it? (You can't return it to the plata, but you can treat it like cholent that's left on all night, or soup that people keep on the plata for the next day ...) Just a suggestion. I don't drink coffee so I don't know what would happen to it if it's left warming for that long.

Posted by: just a mom | Mar 5, 2006 10:14:42 PM

Braun and others used to make a drip (filter) coffeepot that worked on a timer. I'd set it up Friday afternoon to go off at 7:00 AM Saturday morning. All I did on Shabbos morning was pour hot coffee into my cup. The coffee maker had a heater under the bowl that turned itself off after 2 hours. Any reason not to use this?

Posted by: Warren | Mar 5, 2006 10:16:10 PM

Just a mom... Remember earlier when I said, "Anyone who has ever gone to an all-night diner and been served a cup of brown battery acid coffee that has been sitting for hours on the Bunn-O-Matic heating element already understands why this is not an option."? Well, I'm guessing you've never had a bad cup of bitter, overcooked coffee at an all night greasy spoon. Thanks for the suggestion though... your heart was in the right place (even if it would end up burning mine). :-)

Warren... Though a couple of Rabbis allow this (as quoted by Orthomom), few people in the orthodox community accept this ruling... mostly because they have not explained what they are basing their opinion on. Jewish law is like civil law in that is is based on basic principals and precedent. If you want to rule that something is forbidden or permissible you need to bring sources (the equivalent of case law) to support your opinion. The problem here is the actual brewing/filtering of the coffee on shabbat. Thanks for the thought, though.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 5, 2006 10:23:37 PM

Obviously, I can't help with the Jewish Law part, but I can vouch for cold-brewed coffee (toddy). A girlfriend of mine used to make it when we were camping, and it's lovely. It stays fresh for ages, too.

Posted by: Tanya | Mar 5, 2006 10:42:33 PM

Can you brew the coffee, put it immediately in the refrigerator, then simply heat it up on the day you want to use it? (So technically it is already brewed and ready.) I have observed that coffee maintains its taste well if kept cold during storage. Just a thought.

Posted by: Seattle | Mar 5, 2006 10:53:24 PM

The rule is that one is 'cooking' halachically if one is pouring hot water from a kli rishon through a substance like tea leaves or coffee grounds. Hence, the method for making tea from tea bags is to pour the hot water from the kli rishon into a kli sheni, then pour it again into your cup, then insert the tea bag into your cup and let it sit (no stirring) until your tea reaches full strength. If you can find coffee bags (they do exist--Folger's makes them-- although I don't know if they exist in Israel) or come up with a 'coffee bag' of your own to steep, you should be able to use this method without violating halachah.

If this meets with your approval, I can ship you coffee bags (albeit I am more an Aroma or Starbucks drinker, not Folger's--Sumatra it's not!)

Posted by: aliyah06 | Mar 6, 2006 12:10:16 AM

They definitely used the filter. Loose coffee grounds in cup? Yeuch!

Posted by: Lisoosh | Mar 6, 2006 12:12:08 AM

Sorry, can't help you out. {blocks my face as you cringe} I drink instant coffee on Shabbat. But good luck and let us know the outcome!

Posted by: Essie | Mar 6, 2006 1:42:13 AM

Hmmm... and I thought it was tough enough not eating meat on Fridays. How to make a cup of coffee without heating water or filtering the grounds....

The grounds settle to the bottom after a while, so if there was a way to siphon the coffee off the top of the grounds to another cup, maybe that would work? Maybe a small urn, with the spigot a half inch or so from the bottom so that it's above the grounds when they settle?

Good luck on this one!

Posted by: Steve Bogner | Mar 6, 2006 2:25:57 AM

Please, let me first extend some java-rachmones over to you in Eretz Yisrael. What a complicated situation, and me not being conventionally frum [don't ask], I likely don't have the precise chok or seichl you're looking for, but like Just a Mom, I hope you could dig that my heart is really in the right place and I do so wish I could help.
That being said, is it at all a possibility that when you brew the coffee minutes before Shabbos, after you place it in the insulated thermos, you could then place the thermos on the [forgive me, I forgot what it's called] large metal sheet you might place over your stove? [You could maybe tell that science is not my thing.]
I must have no standards since I make three cups of ICED INSTANT coffee before I light candles, 'cause I know I'd never get through Shabbos with any semblance of wakefulness otherwise.
Hatzlacha to you and your noble pursuit.

Posted by: Erica | Mar 6, 2006 7:08:09 AM

Using a french press coffee brewer - bodum - eliminates the problem of borer. (people also make mint tea that way, keeping the leaves and bugs under the filter and the tea above.) "French presses create a smooth, pure coffee flavor using a simple but effective process. Simply pour hot water into the carafe, add coarse ground coffee directly into the water then install the lid/plunger assembly. After the coffee has brewed for about 3-4 minutes press down the plunger. A fine mesh screen forces the grounds to the bottom and your coffee is ready to enjoy." Just use water from a kli sheni, and dont press the lid/plunger too far down so as to avoid borer

Posted by: anonymous | Mar 6, 2006 7:53:09 AM

Tanya... Thanks! Why am I not surprised that you have some experience with yet another thing I've never heard of? :-)

Seattle... Unfortunately no. One can't heat liquids on Shabbat. The liquid has to be fully heated before shabbat and kept hot until served (which makes for bitter coffee if it is left on a burner or hot plate).

Aliyah06... I know about coffee bags but they don't exist here (and the few places that import them charge an arm and a leg for them). I appreciate the offer but I need to find an ongoing solution that won't require good-hearted people to periodically mule in my drug of choice. :-)

Lisoosh... OK, Now I have a starting place for my questions. Thanks.

Essie... We have an emergency supply of instant in the house... but it is just that; EMERGENCY. I would never willingly ingest that stuff.

Steve... Most of the grounds settle to the bottom, but there are always some that remain floating or suspended in the coffee. Yuck. :-)

Erica... "and me not being conventionally frum " Oh come now... being conventional is vastly over-rated. :-) As to your kind suggestion, most thermal carafes and thermoses are plastic and are not designed to be placed on a heat source. Also, even if you could heat the coffee overnight it would be horribly bitter by Shabbat morning. Oh well.

Anonymous... I use the term 'press pot' and French press' interchangeably. That is how I always prepare my coffee. I have always understood (perhpas incorrectly) that the straining action of the screen in the press is forbidden on Shabbat. If you have a source that says otherwise I'm all ears! :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 6, 2006 9:08:26 AM

You've lived in Israel long enough that it's time to go native: Turkish coffee (aka botz). If you stir it well, the grounds are fine enough to quickly settle to the bottom. The taste is not quite on the button when made with water from a keli sheni, but it's passable.

Posted by: Simon | Mar 6, 2006 9:12:28 AM

I just realized the hole in my theory:

When you put water through a Britta filter, it's usually cold water, and the granules in the filter do not "cook" in any way.

Putting hot water through coffee grinds changes the form of the grinds -- cooking them -- and therefore is probably a totally different situation. You're dealing not with borer but with bishul

Well, ask your Rav anyway.

Just trying to help.

Posted by: Sarah | Mar 6, 2006 9:29:29 AM

Yeah! My first ever comment! ;)

Now new ideas here, but this might help: a thermos keeps your coffee hot because it is filled with air, right? The hot coffee you pour in it first heats the air in the thermos, which then keeps the coffee warm.

So before you make the coffee, fill the thermos with boiling hot water. The water will heat the air in the thermos, so your coffee will stay hot longer. Also, fill up the thermos completely, with no extra air in it otherwise it will lose heat. This is the way my mother taught me to do it...

My own little tip is you could also make a sort of bed for the thermos, wrapping it up in a blanket or something to keep it even warmer. Gotta take good care of your drug, right?

I saw you saying most thermoses are plastic, but IKEA sells one that is made of stainless steel iron completely, except for the lid. They come in two sizes. I hope this helps.

Posted by: Naomi | Mar 6, 2006 12:09:39 PM

A follow-up on the Toddy "thang" ... BTW, I never used one of the special Toddy machines.

The Caribou stores I frequented used to use a large jug (two litres maybe), three-quarter full of water, then gently pour a pound of coarse ground coffee on top. Cover it loosely, leave it for about eight hours, then strain it.

I simply scaled down the recipe to a mason jar, 3/4 full of water, and about an inch or two of coffee on top.

You have to strain it very well, or the remaining grounds and their oil will go rancid/bitter ... I first run it through a sieve to get rid of most of the grounds, then run it twice through a coffee filter (new filter each time.)

It's about the strength of espresso at this point; a shot in the bottom of a mug, and a top-up from the Shabbat kumkum gives you a (slightly tepid) americano.

Posted by: Andy Levy-Stevenson | Mar 6, 2006 12:32:49 PM

We have some - very cultuted very frum (not the type who look for loopholes for the sake of loopholes) friends in Yerushalayim who have received a psak that allows them to use their French Press on Shabbat. They explained all of the intricacies to me once but I don't remember. I will be happy to get you their information if you contact me off list.
Beth

Posted by: houseofjoy | Mar 6, 2006 2:02:42 PM

Simon... There are times when I really enjoy Turkish coffee, but morning is not one of them. Cafe 'botz' is an afternoon or evening drink... something to enjoy after a big meal or with some sticky middle eastern treat like baklava. In the morning I need the velvet-covered anvil of good strong coffee gently kissed with fresh whole (or light) cream.

Sarah... I am operating on the assumption that the roasting process is the 'bishul' (ain bishul achar bishul) but I could be mistaken on this point.

Naomi... What took you so long?! Thanks for speaking up!!! As to your theory, the flaw is that thermos bottles work because of the LACK of air. That is why they are called 'vacuum bottles'. Air will transfer the heat away from the liquid, allowing it to cool. Surrounding the liquid with a vacuum gives the heat no way to transfer out... so the liquid retains its temperature for a long time. In order for this to work, even the contents of a stainless steel thermal carafe would be isolated from an external heat source outside the vacuum. Don't feel bad though... I've been puzzling over this issue for years and haven't come up with anything as creative as you or some of the other commenters! :-)

Andy Levy-Stevenson... Wow, you are just a fountain of useful information! It's a shame you don't live nearby so I could invite you over to thank you for all this free advice. Oh wait... you do live nearby! :-)

House of Joy... YES PLEASE!!!

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 6, 2006 2:31:44 PM

Now I'm beginning to doubt my own memories. I also have an image of some essence in a bag, maybe I remember something from when the machine was broken. I hope I haven't given you false hope, or trashed the reputations of perfectly good hotels! Check with the mashgichim.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Mar 6, 2006 2:34:44 PM

Easy. Pray that a gentile will move in nextdoor and you guys can just drop in. I mean, if they offer....

In our vacation home in Sweden it's all low tech so the grounds are just boiled in the pot and you pour very carefully. There are still grounds in your cup and it gives you a stomach ache. Mucho acid issues.

Posted by: Alice | Mar 6, 2006 6:38:46 PM

If House of Joy comes through with the information about the French press posuk, will you please share for all of us caffeine-deprived-on-Shabbat? I actually HAVE a French press but haven't used it on Shabbat because I didn't think I could strain.

Posted by: aliyah06 | Mar 6, 2006 7:06:25 PM

The thermos reviews mentioned above look very good. I would have said to get one of the Chinese air pots (because of their custom of using boiled water and their pots really stay hot - I once melted a toothbrush in a hotel there!) but I don't know if the pump part is an issue. The best of the ones in the review (TGS1000) should be fine.

I can't say I read every word above, but did anyone mention pre-heating the thermos? In your case, I would fill the thermos with boiling (yes, boiling) water, pour it out and put in fresh boiling water, then make the coffee. As soon as the coffee is ready, empty the thermos and transfer the coffee. This will allow the best performance from any of the thermoses.

If you're looking for lunch coffee as well, it would be best to use two thermoses, as not tapping the second one will help it stay hot. Unfortunately, the larger pots hold temperature better, but may waste coffee if you're using two of them.

Good luck.

Posted by: Iris | Mar 6, 2006 7:26:50 PM

Cream? שמו שמים! Next thing you'll be telling me you put sugar in it! I'm sorry, I'm going to have to cross you off my list of true coffee lovers :-P

Posted by: Simon | Mar 6, 2006 7:28:35 PM

I'm casting another vote for Toddy. It's not nearly as acidic as hot coffee that has been chilled, it holds up well over time, and it's very tasty. I tend to drink toddy in the summer for my coffee fix regardless of what day it is. It's very tasty, and orders of magnitude better than "iced" hot coffee.

Posted by: Ger Tzadik | Mar 6, 2006 7:32:58 PM

The problem of Borer on Shabbat is the same as for Yom Tov. I demonstrated the french press method of brewing coffee to my local rav, and was told that leaving some of the liquid in the press takes care of the Borer problem. However, Shabbat has the added issur of Bishul, which we could not get around.
There might be some way around this problem. There is a rule of "ein bishul achar bishul" - there is no prohibition of cooking something that has already been cooked. We generally rule that "bishul achar afiyah" cooking something that was baked (or roasted?) is prohibited. Speak to your rabbi about the coffee roasting process to find out if brewing would qualify as "cooking after baking" or "cooking after cooking". There might be a "heter" somewhere along those lines.

Posted by: BGLG | Mar 6, 2006 8:33:33 PM

I don't know why our thermal carafe from Thermos seems to work better than others, but it does.

On erev Shabbat, we pour boiling hot water into it, and 'click' the top closed to keep the thermous vacuum sealed (or close to it). On shabbat morning, when I pour the water for tea, it's still hot & steaming.

Posted by: Chavi | Mar 6, 2006 10:06:33 PM

Jimminy Christmas! 47 posts on circumventing multiplied Mosaic law. Let's all go buy land along a river in Egypt.

Posted by: Scott | Mar 7, 2006 12:10:13 AM

Lisoosh... Fair enough.

Alice... The prohibition against asking a non-Jew to perform forbidden work for Jew on the Sabbath is something many people ignore with a wink and a nod. Yes, there are very narrow circumstances covered by 'amira l'akum' (speaking to a non-Jew) where things can be done in an emergency or to prevent discomfort... but I'm not one to stretch such dispensation to a regular thing.

Aliyah06... Count on it! :-)

Iris... Yes, we do the pre-heating the thermos with boiling water. It helps but only so much.

Simon... Just for that first cup. Later in the day I can go for any kind of coffee. Really!

Ger Tzadik... How is it everyone has heard of this but me? :-)

BGLG... Actually I did discuss the bishul aspect with a rav and he had told me that the roasting was bishul and the steeping afterwards was not. My real issue is just with the straining/borer. So if I can confirm a source for the French press heter I'm golden!

Chavi... Why don;t you just put up an urn before shabbat and use a kli sheni?

Scott... Not circumventing so much as finding out how much latitude the law allows for the use of technology. Jewish law often contains leniencies that may be used... but only within the accepted framework of precedent and source. It's not like speeding where one takes his/her chances when they think nobody is looking.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 7, 2006 12:23:59 AM

I cannot believe that you have not consulted me directly on this crucial issue.
Use a Melita cone with water poured from a Kli sheni into coffee ground more fine than what you would use for a press pot.
Borer does not apply, which it probably wouuld for a press pot because you actively separate the coffee from the grounds.
Bishul does not apply because of the Kli Sheni, unless you hold coffee is a "Kalei Habishul," which I do not.
This method has been sanctioned by a number of orthodox Rabbis, and is the one used at the famous Teaneck Coffee and Mishna shiur, est. 1999 at chez Hirsch. It now takes place at the home of a renowned Rabbi who has allowed the process to continue.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Mar 7, 2006 3:19:23 AM

Jordan... If you weren't so chronically homophobic (think back to that famous incident in the bathroom at the Sands), I would kiss you! I suppose I could just give you a big hug and bang you on the back a few times... y'know... just to keep it hetero and all. :-) Seriously, thanks!

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 7, 2006 2:10:47 PM

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