DIY Individual Fondue Pots

Ask anyone who likes Illy coffee and they’ll probably tell you that they have a hard time throwing away the beautiful tins that each pound of coffee (8.8 ounces, actually) comes in. I’ve been collecting them for years. (Every six months or so my wife, Laura, nags me to get rid of them, but I’ve always insisted that I’ll eventually figure out what to do with them.) Well, look no further, those cans have finally found their use.

A few weeks ago, my former boss and long-time friend, Sharon, came over for dinner with her husband Dave. Sharon and I used to work in the coffee business together so I thought it only appropriate to build a meal around the theme of coffee, or as you New Jersey / Long Islanders call it, caw-fee. The dinner featured 6 courses, a few of which I may write about in future posts.


I’ve toyed with the idea of turning those beautiful Illy coffee cans into individual fondue pots for at least 5 years now and figured that my coffee inspired dinner was the perfect impetus to take action on my idea. I used the pots as stand-ins for the cheese course, serving a Gorgonzola port fondue with apples, caramelized pecans, pears and french bread for dipping.

Laura, Sharon and Dave enjoying their coffee can cheese fondue course.
Here’s a slideshow that demonstrates the fabrication process:
First I cut off the top flange on the coffee can with a Dremel tool. Without this step, the metal bowl that holds the cheese would not have fit. I bent the metal down to create a flange which created a nice snug-yet-springy fit for the bowl that holds the fondue. Next, I created flanges by cutting into the metal every inch or so. This allowed me to easily bend the metal down to create a flange. I drilled holes in the side of the can to create ventilation for the flame. Early tests using fewer holes and Sterno did not work. After drilling more holes and switching to a tea light I got enough heat to keep the cheese warm. The finished product! The bowl you see on the left, which I got for under $2 at Target, fits snugly into the top of the fondue pot and can be easily removed for cleaning.
<
>
The finished product! The bowl you see on the left, which I got for under $2 at Target, fits snugly into the top of the fondue pot and can be easily removed for cleaning.