13 Dec 2019

Christmas with … the Cuccumella

Spend Christmas with loved ones waiting for coffee prepared with Neapolitan

Article written by Michele Sergio and published in L’Espresso Neapolitan of the month of December 2019

Christmas is the most magical moment of the year and when the month of December arrives an enchanted atmosphere cloaks squares and houses, in a whole new climate that warms the hearts of adults and children. In Italian cities, very bright trees and cribs are set up, among the most beautiful, made by skilled artisans who hand down passion and knowledge from generation to generation. The streets are decorated with lights and light installations. People feel happier and more generous by dedicating more attention and gestures to those most in need. The children – and Christmas is above all their party – anxiously wait for Christmas Eve to receive the gifts that Santa Claus will bring them.

The days of 24, 25 and 26 December are the most propitious for sharing time with loved ones. Meeting a family member, perhaps often away from home for study or work reasons, finally spending free time with your parents or children is the most beautiful thing you can do in this period; spending time with loved ones is our best “gift”.

Each has its own way of making the coming Christmas special: those who will do it with Lucullian lunches and dinners, those who spend their hours playing cards and bingo, who, still watching TV, “put up” with the classic Christmas films.

Many think of coffee as the best way to round off the Christmas lunch and spend an hour at the table with loved ones. This year it would be nice to prepare it with cuccumella, the traditional Neapolitan coffee maker.

Invented in Naples by the French Morize in 1819, the cuccumella immediately had great success because it exceeded the Turkish infusion system (which left the coffee powder in the cup) thanks to the filter that allowed, therefore, to drink a coffee without powder.

Originally in copper, then replaced by aluminum, thanks to this coffee maker not only the way of preparing it (and drinking it, but in a cup) was modified, but even the costumes: drinking coffee became a moment of social gathering, in home and on the street.

The cuccuma certainly gives a quid more at Christmas 2019! How nice to gather the family around the table, all waiting to drink coffee “dei tiemp bell‘ e ‘na vota”; interesting and instructive to carry out, then, all the steps for the realization. Let’s see how coffee is made with this ancient machine. The first step is to grind the beans with a grinder, preferably manual. The coffee powder must be ground into coarser grit, preferably the Neapolitan mixture. Second step is making coffee. Pour the water into the kettle and insert the filter in it (after filling it with freshly ground coffee) and close with the collector. Eduardo De Filippo, the greatest lover of cuccumella, revealed to us a little secret to make coffee even better: pour half a teaspoon of freshly ground coffee powder this way “at the time of pouring the boiling water is already flavored for his account ”.

After heating the water (bring it to about 90 °) turn the coffee maker upside down. In this way the hot water will begin to percolate, passing through the filter where the ground coffee has been inserted and their union will make the coffee. When the coffee is ready and is in the collector, just put the lid on; but how can you prevent coffee from losing the aroma that comes out of the spout? Just make a sort of cork by rolling a small piece of paper on itself to form a small cone. The famous eduardian memory cuppetiello is an important tool for not letting the aroma and taste of our coffee be lost, especially if drunk on the most important day of the year in the company of loved ones.