There are many reasons why copper is generally recommended as the best material for distilling. We will name some of the reasons below:
Copper provides the best heat conductivity among all other materials – it is 25 times better than that of stainless steel. Plus, the heat is distributed evenly during distillation to ensure a good alcohol yield/essential oil yield.
Due to the softness of copper, this material is easily formed into all kinds of shapes and varieties which allows experimenting with new still types or improving existent models. To achieve this with other materials would actually be very difficult, because metals like stainless steel are too hard to form with such detail and therefore would not be equally efficient in function later on. For example, copper still hats are crafted very uniquely to facilitate the transport of aromas all the way through the swan neck leading the aromatic steam to the cooling coil where it condenses with all flavors that make your distillate one of a kind. This is most likely not going to happen with stainless steel or other metals used for stills that mostly even contribute to an unpleasant aftertaste.
The softness of copper also allows for easy dent removal with a plastic-faced hammer or can even be used to reshape the material to craft something completely new. Copper does not break nor rust and can therefore be stored away for a very long time, keeping in mind to thoroughly dry the material beforehand to avoid the forming of a toxic green patina. As opposed to the green patina, the dark brownish patina developing after a while is a natural protection against rust and is harmless to health.
As for medicinal purposes, e.g. to produce remedies, copper is best suitable due to its antimicrobial effects. It naturally removes harmful fungi, germs and bacteria that are not supposed to remain in the distillate. That’s why copper has a good standing in the production of perfumes and hydrosols as well as essential oils. Especially for remedies, it is important to mention that copper is not magnetic and therefore will have no negative impact on the curative power of herbs or other plant material. This way, their full power can be absorbed in hydrosols or be used for cosmetic purposes.
While copper has so many beneficial characteristics, this material is equally suitable for adornment purposes and very likely to be an eye-catcher in your home – with or without dark patina, it surely is the pride of every distiller.