Mary Russell’s Coffee Maker

Coffee plays a large role in the Russell memoirs, and I believe we can now see the kind of pot the Holmes household possesses:

Love the Boing Boing channel.



  1. Jan on September 3, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Love her facial expressions! But I prefer a scone, please, instead of a biscuit…

  2. Andra Legge on September 3, 2014 at 8:35 am

    That is hilarious and informative. Love the her exaggerated style.

  3. Teresa on September 3, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Is this what Russell made that “desert coffee” in, the stuff Holmes peered down at without saying V”What is this?” ? 😉

  4. Merrily Taylor on September 3, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Wow, I had several reactions: 1) Did Holmes keep that in his laboratory with the rest of the mysterious equipment? 2) Presumably Holmes and Russell do NOT have “a quick cup of coffee” before rushing out on a case; 3) That was a lot of work for a relatively small amount of coffee and 4) Wow, cool, I want one!
    Of course speaking as someone who is seriously coffee- addicted, that apparatus would never suffice to meet my intake needs!
    Great and very stylish demonstration!

  5. Ms Jimmie on September 3, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I gave up on French Press brew, too much “to do”
    for so little. Yes, this is over the top stylish, but
    NOT for those of us who have a life. I do appreciate
    the entertainment value, too cute.

  6. Laurie King on September 3, 2014 at 11:57 am

    One of the things I loved [sic] about this was that the end product was so incredibly pallid. I’m sure Russell & Holmes would treble the quantity of grounds.
    And one also has to wonder how often these got clogged and blew up. Perhaps Merrily is right and they confined the contraption to the laboratory, for Mrs Hudson’s sake.

    • Merrily Taylor on September 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Laurie, I have a feeling that Mrs. Hudson would regard this thing as an Unholy Device, and that Holmes and Russell would indeed require WAY more caffeine than you would get based on the demonstration!

      • Sabrina Flynn on September 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm

        Wow, how cool! I agree, Merrily, looks like something Holmes would have in his laboratory. And no doubt he would have improved on the design.

        • Wendy Heyman on September 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm

          How very practical…Holmes can conduct his experiments whilst the apparatus is in use. Thanks for the smile. Wendy (aka Mrs. Hudson of The Spence Munros, scion Sherlock Holmes society in Halifax, Nova Scotia).

    • Erin on September 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      After all of their travels, I’d think Russell and Holmes more likely Turkish coffee people.

  7. Laraine on September 3, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Laurie, there’s a relative newcomer to the coffee scene near my office: a ‘drip only’ place that insists you order the brew of your choice and then wait while they go through the process of brewing it on the spot, for which you have the privilege of paying between $3 and $6, in addition to waiting however long it takes for them to go through the brewing process. They have some machines which make the Boing Boing one look suspiciously normal. Astonishingly, they succeed in selling both expensive coffee, despite the wait required, and the machines to keep yourself waiting long periods of time for coffee in your own home.

    • Merrily Taylor on September 4, 2014 at 5:37 am

      Laraine, that is truly madness. Next thing we’ll have little fire pits set up where a guy like Mahmoud will be grinding the beans and going through that laborious process. Of course if it were Mahmoud, I’d be there!

      • Laraine on September 5, 2014 at 9:39 pm

        Ha! THAT I would pay to see/experience, Merrily!

        • Merrily Taylor on September 6, 2014 at 5:49 am

          As would we all, Laraine! Perhaps Ali could appear regularly, being surly and putting on knife-throwing demonstrations…

    • Elyn Walker on September 4, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Larraine – Back in the day (1988-1990’s) The Santa Cruz Coffee Company was a “drip only” place. Since I’ve moved out of the area, it’s been way too long since I’ve had a cup there. Their coffee was divine and well worth the wait. And they had Morning buns that still make me yearn….. Thanks for the reminder of happy times.

      • Laraine on September 5, 2014 at 9:40 pm

        Morning buns. The very words make me salivate. I wonder how many dozens of varieties of these exist? My faves had pecans amongst all the glorious other.

        • Merrily Taylor on September 6, 2014 at 5:53 am

          Pecan rolls – ah, heaven! And when I was in Provence, pain au chocolat…!

  8. Cynthia Fehrenbach on September 4, 2014 at 8:38 am

    She must have had a servant to hand grind the coffee so nice and fine!

  9. Lenore on September 4, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    While this device — and definitely the video! — are charming, I’m pretty sure cowboys on the range were making their coffee some other way, and I’m willing to bet that Holmes and Russell were much too practical to put up with something like this.

    • Merrily Taylor on September 6, 2014 at 5:52 am

      Yes, Lenore, this gadget is definitely for home use! And even then, I see Holmes as being too impatient to wait for a slow coffee maker! Although I grew up with percolators and we thought they were pretty speedy at the time…a few years ago I had company staying for a few days, and one morning my coffee maker died (the horror). I was considering panicking when I remembered that I had an ancient percolator in the cupboard. The challenge: did I remember how to make coffee with one? Fortunately, it turned out to be like riding a bicycle (and it make good coffee too).
      Nonetheless, I did go out and buy a new coffee maker!

      • Erin on September 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm


        I bought a chorreador when I was in Costa Rica this past spring. They basically make coffee like tea in a metal pot/kettle and then pour over/through the chorreador to strain the grounds. It’s really similar to that pour over style that’s popular right now that Lenore mentioned. I would roll my eyes at the $4 price plus the wait time….except I actually do find that the flavor is way better (hello Blue Bottle in SF!). It’s bean quality and roast in combination with the brew style, though, I think.

        • Merrily Taylor on September 11, 2014 at 5:16 pm

          Erin, that probably does make great coffee – I like filter coffee, but one of the things I like about my coffeemaker is that it keeps the coffee hot. Between that and my mug warmer, I can have hot coffee all the time, which is the way I like it!

  10. jkh1948 on September 10, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Good Lord! And I thought the Silex process was alchemical…

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