Filtro con nombre propio

03 Abr 2013

Como la buena Mercedes, hija de un señor austríaco que vendía automóviles, la alemana Melitta Bentz fue inmortalizada de la manera en que perduran los mitos en esta época: su nombre se convirtió en una marca. En 1908, frustrada por los ineficientes métodos caseros para preparar café, obsesionada por quitarle el sabor amargo por exceso de cocción, esta ama de casa de Dresden tuvo la idea revolucionaria: perforó con varios orificios la tapa de un recipiente de hojalata, lo forró con el papel secante que su hijo llevaba al colegio y creó un método de goteo que no sólo la haría millonaria. El 8 de julio de aquel año anotó su invento en el Registro de Patentes de Berlín y, como la mecha de una dinamita, su sistema se extendió por los cinco continentes, creando una dinastía con nombre propio. La mayoría de las cocinas de todos los rincones del planeta esconden en el fondo de sus cajones un pequeño tributo a la mujer que facilitó la vida de los hogares trazando, con el filtro de café, una elipsis similar a la de los pañales: primero, de tela; después, de papel.

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Omnipresente en casas y oficinas, la máquina de filtro es el modelo de cafetera más popular, por economía y practicidad. Pero le falta encanto. La curiosa señora Melitta no advirtió que el papel secante absorbería la mayoría de los aceites del café y, con ellos, buena parte de sus aromas y sabores, llenando una jarra entera del triste “jugo de paraguas”, siempre liviano y desabrido. A diferencia del espresso, donde la presión del agua extrae todas las propiedades del grano en poquísimo tiempo (¡apenas 25 segundos!), acá el líquido se vierte gota a gota sobre el café molido y así arrastra toda la cafeína, el amargor y los olores más indeseables. Es una infusión lenta que prepara una bebida desteñida: el café parece siempre bastante claro y con poco gusto. Para que resulte más aromático, un truco: humedezca con un vaporizador el café molido cuando lo haya puesto en el filtro. Prepare como siempre. Huela y beba en el momento (la resistencia eléctrica de la máquina recalienta la bebida). En un ritual improvisado, levante su taza y brinde por aquella señora que hace un siglo se puso a experimentar en su cocina y todavía hoy se cuela en los desayunos de medio mundo.

Publicado en Clarín

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