Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Best way to make decent coffee at home?


Recommended Posts

I'm not a coffee drinker in any way. Too bitter (to me) unless enough sugar and cream is added to render it not coffee any longer. Because I'm not a big fan, I don't have a coffee maker of any sort in my kitchen. I have a jar of instant that gets pulled out when I need some for cooking purposes, but that's it.

I'm having friends visit from out of town next week, and it dawned on me that they do enjoy coffee. I don't want them to have to stumble out the door first thing in the morning, headed for the local Starbucks, and feel it would be good to actually have the means to make something other than instant at home. However, I won't be using it daily and don't want to spend a lot of money on an occasionally used appliance.

So what are my options here? How would you go about making a reasonably decent cup of coffee at home without expensive equipment? I can get freshly ground coffee and keep it in the freezer, but beyond that I'm unsure. French press? Cowboy coffee?

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

Link to post
Share on other sites
So what are my options here? How would you go about making a reasonably decent cup of coffee at home without expensive equipment? I can get freshly ground coffee and keep it in the freezer, but beyond that I'm unsure. French press? Cowboy coffee?

Get a Melitta pour-over filter: 10 cups of coffee for the low, low price of $12.99. Best bang for the buck around. Caveat: I have only used the 2-cup Melitta units, but they make very good drip coffee.

Link: Melitta manual coffee makers

Link to post
Share on other sites

A french press is a good option, but I'll second the Melitta suggestion. It's what I used for years, and it's great and easy. All you need is paper filters and a kettle to boil water, and you're set.

If you have a thermal carafe, you can buy a Melitta cone to fit, without buying the pot as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a coffee grinder now, though it gets used to grind spices and small amounts of grain. Not sure I can get it clean enough that it wouldn't flavor the coffee, but I could try.

The Melitta coffee makers look perfect. Though I do have a further question. I know how to work a regular drip machine - pour cold water in, put ground coffee in the filter, turn it on, wait. So do I just pour boiling hot water into the filter on top of the Melitta? Is it really that simple?

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

Link to post
Share on other sites
I have a coffee grinder now, though it gets used to grind spices and small amounts of grain. Not sure I can get it clean enough that it wouldn't flavor the coffee, but I could try.

IIRC, using the same grinder for spices and coffee is not recommended. I think it's the other way around -- all your spices with have a coffee flavor. :wink:

Link to post
Share on other sites
I have a coffee grinder now, though it gets used to grind spices and small amounts of grain. Not sure I can get it clean enough that it wouldn't flavor the coffee, but I could try.

Try grinding some raw rice. I do that when switching between grinding spices and grinding coffee.

The Melitta coffee makers look perfect. Though I do have a further question. I know how to work a regular drip machine - pour cold water in, put ground coffee in the filter, turn it on, wait. So do I just pour boiling hot water into the filter on top of the Melitta? Is it really that simple?

More than you ever wanted to know: CoffeeGeek guide to using a pour-over filter (link).

Link to post
Share on other sites
The Melitta coffee makers look perfect. Though I do have a further question. I know how to work a regular drip machine - pour cold water in, put ground coffee in the filter, turn it on, wait. So do I just pour boiling hot water into the filter on top of the Melitta? Is it really that simple?

Yes, it is really that simple. And I third the Melitta filter suggestion. Note that some coffee drinkers do not like the sludge that can result with French press pots. Like myself, for instance.

Instead of using your spice grinder, I would recommend either picking up another grinder or getting the smallest amount of freshly roasted beans pre-ground by your roaster. For myself and my wife, I usually buy only 1/4 lb of roasted beans at a time. Of course, it helps that our local roaster has an outlet only a few blocks from my house.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
Link to post
Share on other sites

I could definitely buy just a bit of freshly ground coffee as needed. Though I'll give grinding raw rice a try as well - might be fun to use the grinder for it's original purpose from time to time. :rolleyes:

Bruce - thanks for the link. Looks like making coffee should be pretty simple and painless. It'll be nice to have something other than instant to offer guests. Looking forward to that brewing coffee smell, too. Now, if it only tasted like it smells I'd be a convert!

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

Link to post
Share on other sites

If your guests are heavy coffee drinkers and/or your schedules don't match, you might want to consider saving labor by brewing over a thermal carafe, vacuum pot, thermos, etc.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah yes. Coffee. I am convinced, to the point of fanaticism, that the ONLY way to make a decent cup of coffee at home is with the Chemex (you can find good deals on Chemex units on Ebay).

1. The filter papers are superb (with a French press, you always get a bit of dusty grit) resulting in a clean perfect liquid.

2. You can control the water temperature since you bring your water to a boil separately. I prefer a water temperature of 160 F.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Now, if it only tasted like it smells I'd be a convert!

Perhaps it will taste better if it's made correctly!

And, if I was using that same grinder, I'd make sure to grind some beans after cleaning it with rice, but throw the first batch of ground beans away! Just to make it as clean and coffee ready as possible. Grind the beans to a fine enough consistency, just not to a powder.

Make sure to use enough coffee - "bitter" coffee is generally coffee that is brewed with too little coffee. Or boiled. Or kept on a hot plate - (btw, that's 2 tablespoons of grounds for each 6 oz. cup or so).

Preheat your coffee pot - I just fill it with hot water. Preheat your coffee cups...same deal. I also prewet the melitta filter by running water through it. Make sure the water is below the boil when pouring over the grounds...just pour in half a cup or so to initially wet the grounds (20 - 30 sec). Then, reheat the water to just below the boil and finish pouring over the now wet grounds. Stir gently before serving - the strongest stuff is on the bottom.

Now, enjoy a decent cup of joe!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the specifics, weinoo. I do know that brewing a decent cup of coffee takes some care, and knew I'd get what I needed here.

sanrensho, that's an excellent idea.

Sadly, I've had it made well and still just don't like it at all. The usual response, when I state that I don't like it, is "you just haven't had really good coffee!". At this point I'm presented with the perfect cup of joe, along with someone waiting for me to fall in love. Hasn't happened. Coffee is just too bitter for me, too strong and not in a pleasant way. I respect those who love it and understand that I'm in the minority, enough that I'd like to provide good coffee to people who visit my house, but I'm content to inhale that lovely aroma and let it be.

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah yes. Coffee. I am convinced, to the point of fanaticism, that the ONLY way to make a decent cup of coffee at home is with the Chemex (you can find good deals on Chemex units on Ebay). 

1.  The filter papers are superb (with a French press, you always get a bit of dusty grit) resulting in a clean perfect liquid.

2.  You can control the water temperature since you bring your water to a boil separately. I prefer a water temperature of 160 F.

Oh, my - I just went looking and those Chemex coffee makers are gorgeous! Even found one with filters. Hmmm....

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found this maker to be the perfect combination. It has the convenience of an electric drip machine, but is, in fact, a melitta drip style brewer. I love the thing. In fact, I like it so much that it is now in three different places I regularly stay.

http://www.digitalkitchenstore.com/me5b.html

It's crazy cheap, works like a champ, takes melitta #2 filters, and makes great coffee.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Link to post
Share on other sites

One word: AeroPress.

I've been using one for over a month now (the product has only been out for less than a year at this point), and it has completely changed my view of coffee!! I can't stop evangelizing about the thing! You can serve up a fresh cup within a minute (I have a Zojirushi hot water dispenser on throughout the day), make your coffee as strong (or weak) as you want, use it to make milk-based froo-froo drinks, and use it to make "espresso" for recipes that call for it (probably the biggest selling point to eGulleters, IMO).

Be sure to search this very forum for mentions of AeroPress, and be sure to check out the mother of all AeroPress threads over at coffeegeek.com.

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah yes. Coffee. I am convinced, to the point of fanaticism, that the ONLY way to make a decent cup of coffee at home is with the Chemex (you can find good deals on Chemex units on Ebay). 

1.  The filter papers are superb (with a French press, you always get a bit of dusty grit) resulting in a clean perfect liquid.

2.  You can control the water temperature since you bring your water to a boil separately. I prefer a water temperature of 160 F.

Oh, my - I just went looking and those Chemex coffee makers are gorgeous! Even found one with filters. Hmmm....

Another thumb on the scale. I've used the chemex since the 60's. I love them. I emphasize them, as I've had some breakage. But they make such great coffee and look beautiful on the table to serve from, having left the grinds behind, that I just replace them when they break. I've even had more than one size when I was more of a party animal.

I also have a french press for one. Living alone, I use that for my AM cup. To my taste, it makes good coffee, but not as good as the chemex.

I always use fresh beans, grinding them as needed. i buy the beans in small amounts, but still keep them in the freezer in the original package inside a zip lock bag to keep the aroma from permeating other foods.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Objective Foodie
      During the past year, our coffee consumption at home has increased substantially. We have tried beans from different roasteries from the UK and Europe, but we are constantly in the search of new ones. The speciality coffee market has been rapidly increasing in past years and it is becoming easier to find high quality beans.
       
      The best roasteries we have tried so far:
      UK based: Round Hill Roastery, Square Mile, Monmouth,  Pharmacie, New Ground, Workshop, James Gourmet, Ozone. Europe based: The Barn (Germany), Gardelli (Italy), Hard Beans (Poland), Calendar (Ireland), Roasted Brown (Ireland), Right Side (Spain), Coffee Collective (Denmark).  
      Have you had any exciting coffee beans lately? Do you have any other recommendations?
    • By Kasia
      INSTEAD OF COFFEE? - MORNING GREEN COCKTAIL
       
      After waking up, most of us head towards the kitchen for the most welcome morning drink. Coffee opens our eyes, gets us up and motivates us to act. Today I would like to offer you a healthy alternative to daily morning coffee. I don't want to turn you off coffee completely. After all, it has an excellent aroma and fantastic flavor. There isn't anything more relaxing during a busy day than a coffee break with friends.

      In spite of the weather outside, change your kitchen for a while and try something new. My green cocktail is also an excellent way to wake up and restore energy. Add to it a pinch of curcuma powder, which brings comfort and acts as a buffer against autumn depression.

      Ingredients (for 2 people):
      200ml of green tea
      4 new kale leaves
      1 green cucumber
      half an avocado
      1 pear
      1 banana
      pinch of salt
      pinch of curcuma

      Peel the avocado, pear and banana. Remove the core from the pear. Blend every ingredient very thoroughly. If the drink is too thick, add some green tea. Drink at once.

      Enjoy your drink!
       
       

    • By Kasia
      My Irish Coffee  
      Today the children will have to forgive me, but adults also sometimes want a little pleasure. This is a recipe for people who don't have to drive a car or work, i.e. for lucky people or those who can rest at the weekend. Irish coffee is a drink made with strong coffee, Irish Whiskey, whipped cream and brown sugar. It is excellent on cold days. I recommend it after an autumn walk or when the lack of sun really gets you down. Basically, you can spike the coffee with any whiskey, but in my opinion Jameson Irish Whiskey is the best for this drink.

      If you don't like whiskey, instead you can prepare another kind of spiked coffee: French coffee with brandy, Spanish coffee with sherry, or Jamaican coffee with dark rum.
      Ingredients (for 2 drinks)
      300ml of strong, hot coffee
      40ml of Jameson Irish Whiskey
      150ml of 30% sweet cream
      4 teaspoons of coarse brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of caster sugar
      4 drops of vanilla essence
      Put two teaspoons of brown sugar into the bottom of two glasses. Brew some strong black coffee and pour it into the glasses. Warm the whiskey and add it to the coffee. Whisk the sweet cream with the caster sugar and vanilla essence. Put it gently on top so that it doesn't mix with the coffee.

      Enjoy your drink!
       
       

    • By Kasia
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for swift autumn cookies with French pastry and a sweet ginger-cinnamon-pear stuffing. Served with afternoon coffee they warm us up brilliantly and dispel the foul autumn weather.

      Ingredients (8 cookies)
      1 pack of chilled French pastry
      1 big pear
      1 flat teaspoon of cinnamon
      1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
      2 tablespoons of brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar
      2 tablespoons of milk

      Heat the oven up to 190C. Cover a baking sheet with some baking paper.
      Wash the pear, peel and cube it. Add the grated ginger, cinnamon, vanilla sugar and one tablespoon of the brown sugar. Mix them in. Cut 8 circles out of the French pastry. Cut half of every circle into parallel strips. Put the pear stuffing onto the other half of each circle. Roll up the cookies starting from the edges with the stuffing. Put them onto the baking paper and make them into cones. Smooth the top of the pastry with the milk and sprinkle with brown sugar. bake for 20-22 minutes.

      Enjoy your meal!
       
       
       

    • By Johnhouse
      Hello everyone!
       
      I have been working in food and beverage industry for almost 10 years in different countries. I am looking forward to learn new things on this forum to expand my food and beverage knowledge as well as sharing my experiences that I gained in my journey!
       
      Have a good day! ☺️ 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...