Vac pot collection
Royal - brewing

Imagine what would happen if you took a vac pot & separated the two halves, without breaking the vacuum. If you would put the "lower bowl" on a scale, you would see it gradually getting lighter as its contents are move to the "top bowl". This is exactly the principle of the balancing vac pot; the "lower bowl", or "boiler" is put on the right, the "top bowl" is moved to the left.

Balancing, or parallel vac pots

The Royal & Cafetino brewers are basically "just" siphon brewers, but the horizontal, or parallel positioning of the two vessels, makes these a bit more versatile. Most importantly, the Royal & Cafetino vac pots can perform an automatic brewing cycle.
How they do that? Well, the short version is that the boiler vessel is pushed upwards by some force (a counterweight in the Royal's, a set of springs in the Cafetino), that it will consequently move upwards & that this motion is used to extinguish a lamp.

The long version is here & includes a couple of cool pix.

Royal Pay-bas

Coffeemakers like these first appeared in the 1850s, Bramah's book lists patents by Gabets, and Preterre. Another source (Fumagalli) mentions a Viennese patent by a certain A. Reiss.
The term balancing vac pot is derived from the earliest versions using the counterweight setup. These brewers quickly became popular, not in the least because the automatic action makes brewing safe & simple. Since the flame is extinguished automatically, you can fill one of these with coffee & water, light the flame & leave it unattended - the chances of an exploding "lower" bowl are reduced to zero.

Another reason for the popularity is that they look way cool & intricate. For one thing, apart from the water moving from one vessel to the other, as in all vac pots, you can actually see a part of the vac pot itself moving. Beside that, there are plenty of possibilities to make them look even cooler & more intricate & in the old days they would get decorated from top to bottom, whichever way was fashionable at the time.
But for all the gold & glitter, they would make still make the same excellent cup of vac brewed coffee as todays equivalent, the Cafetino.


Compared to the Royal's impressing traditionalism, the Cafetino is a contemporary design item. Whereas the first features a copper boiler & a brass frame, or even decorated gold plating & cut crystal if you're so inclined - the Cafetino uses modern materials, such as highly polished stainless steel & the principle to lift the boiler is brought back from an intricate counterweight setup to the simplicity a set of springs.
Apart from a playful combination of basic shapes, it has "form follows function" written all over it.

Definitely royalty…

Curious? Want to know more? Ask!