Monday, October 13, 2008

Coffee Geekery

I'm a bit of a coffee nerd, but I'm an efficiency nerd as well, and the ROI for fancy coffee makers was just never there for me. I do have an espresso machine, and the big thing I learned from it is that it's worth it to pay someone else three bucks to make a complicated coffee drink, because it's a pain in the ass to do it yourself. I've done the french press thing, and it made good coffee, but was a hassle to clean. The vacuum coffee maker was even worse to clean, but the coffee was excellent, and, man, was it fun to watch. Too bad it didn't survive our last move. For a while I followed in Alton Brown's footsteps with a deconstructed drip device, but that didn't pass the Mary test, and Mary drinks more coffee in a one-week visit than I do for the rest of the year. She found my coffee setup more confounding than my entertainment center, and that's saying something. In fact, she actually went out and bought a Mr. Coffee.

That was a bridge too far for me. I can't stand the way coffee tastes when it's been sitting on the hot plate, so the Mr. Coffee had to, at least, be replaced by something with a thermal carafe. The coffee maker Christie got me that Christmas was a good compromise between efficiency and taste.

Somewhere in there, though, Christie finally admitted that she doesn't actually like coffee, and I was back to being the only coffee drinker in the house. I tried one of those pod thingies, but, to be honest, the coffee was both expensive and lousy. Not a good combination. So I was back to making at least half a pot each morning, which meant either drinking more coffee than was good for me, or letting a bunch of coffee go to waste. Neither was a good option.

Finally, two weeks ago, I did something I have done in years. I bought a new coffee gadget, the AeroPress. There are the four things you need to know about the Aeropress:

1. It's fast. I can make a cup of coffee in under a minute, once the kettle's hot.

2. Cleanup is fast and easy.

3. It makes a great cuppa from cheap, pre-ground coffee.

4. It cost under $30.

I still use the Braun when we have guests, but when it's just me drinking coffee, it's Aeropress all the way.


Heather Piper said...

Have you tried cold brew? If not, I can send you the details.

Mike said...

I did once, as prep for a camping trip, and I liked it, but it was a hassle because I didn't have the right equipment. How long does it last in the fridge?

Heather Piper said...

If you have a glass pitcher with a rubber stopper-top, it lasts quite a long time. A pitcher of cold brew (because it's so concentrated) would last about a week for us. I imagine it would last longer, but we always finish the pitcher within a week.

The only problem we experience with cold brew is that even though the rule is: if you drink the last of it, make more, quite often someone would forget, and you can't just whip up a quick batch of cold brew.

I like the taste of cold brew better than any other method, but because it takes overnight to brew, we do it in spurts for a couple months until someone forgets, then we go back to stovetop percolator.

(We have a coffeemaker, but because our water is so hard and loaded with minerals, they tend to die on us after just a month of use. Rather than continuously add broken coffeemakers to the landfill, we switched to stovetop percolator and love it almost as much as cold brew!)