Photo by Salt Water New England

Thursday, January 13, 2022

How do you make coffee at home?

Photo by Salt Water New England
 A reader question:

I have a question for the community, sort of an omicron edition.  What is the best way of making coffee at home?  Where do you buy your coffee and how do you prepare it?  Are there any French Press advocates? Is it worth grinding your own beans?  Thank you everyone for your knowing thoughts.   

 

54 comments:

  1. Pourover - nothing fancy, a Melita carafe and filter holder. Pure coffee taste.

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  2. A polarizing arena, to be sure! In the "keep it simple, stupid" department, I simply buy Trader Joe's organic Breakfast Blend beans (or something more local, if I find myself in a nice coffee shop that roasts their own), grind what I need each morning in my trusty / aged Krups grinder, and make coffee with filtered water in a Cuisinart drip coffee maker which I've had for several years but change the charcoal filter on regularly. Realize some people swear by the French press, and while the novelty of it is charming, it has always struck me as a lot of work - especially pre coffee! Plus you can't keep it hot if you don't want to drink it all at once. And THEN you have to deal with the grounds after and clean it out... a task that has always struck me as uncommonly annoying. The fewer errant coffee grounds in my life, or the chance I could spill them all over the kitchen on the way to the compost / trash, the better!

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  3. We used to drink a lot of French press, but it seems that French press can drive LDL and triglyceride levels up. So plenty of drip coffee using freshly ground French roast. Darker roasts tend to be lower in both acidity and, minimally, caffeine. Espresso is a common mid-afternoon pick me up.

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  4. I buy Bold Coast Coffee located in East Machias, Maine. I know the owner and I know how he treats his farmers in Costa Rica and they are like family to him. They do online shipping, thankfully. They do a full, one pound bag which is nice.
    I mix it up; sometimes I use a french press, sometimes a percolator. I have a new machine from Brim which brews a nice cup but I can't recommend because of their terrible customer service---long story.

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    1. Lovely shout out for Troy! Met him several years ago at a trade show and then saw him regularly when we all used to commute. They don't come any nicer :)

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  5. We do French press in a Bodum using coffee from a local roaster.

    We love the original instructions for the Bodum, which said users should "press without violence" when it comes time to push down the mesh filter. Seems very Danish somehow, and the phrase has become household code for "I'll make the coffee this morning."

    That said, at the end of his life my father was content with instant & hot tap water (!) and I'll probably end up there myself at some point. In the end, you know, it's all about the caffeine.

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  6. Replies
    1. We still have a Chemex bought probably 35 years ago. But frankly, of a morning it's just too damn slow. Ditto with all other drip-through makers. When I want my caffeine, it want it now, if you please.

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  7. Dark roasts in a french press. Always. And strong. Chemex (six-cup) pour over with either the special paper filters, or gold filters makes delcious coffee too, but the glass pot is fragile, and I broke two of 'em in the sink at different times back in grad school. Grrr. My wife occasionally also makes us German milchkaffe (cafe au lait) using her zinc espresso pot in the late afternoons. Also delicious, but I prefer less milk and more coffee.

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  8. There's nothing quite like freshly roasted beans, hand ground in a burr grinder to start the day, preferably in a pourover or AeroPress. I've had the privelege of living in three different cities on the East Coast, and in each have purchased beans from local, regional roasters. Today, I order beans online from many of them and the flavors instantly evoke memories of those eras. Having beans from an outfit such as Rival Bros. instantly takes me back to crisp Philadelphia fall weather, while beans from Peet's (not a tiny local, I know) instantly invoke memories of Harvard Square.

    We also support local roasters and coffee shops here, and are lucky to have one in particular that is a supplier to restaurants and therefore can sell beans and flavored coffees at prices that are competitive with mid-tier supermarket brands.

    While we don't have the pricier, fancy beans on the regular, they are a great treat on the weekends and can brighten a particularly slow morning.

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  9. Willoughby's (New Haven) Italian Roast or Graffeo (San Francisco) Dark Roast in a stove top Bialetti.

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  10. I buy Peets coffee at costco. I buy It ground because it gets consumed quickly. For many years I used a fancy drip machine from williams sonoma. I currently use a $20 Mr' Coffee from Target. I honestly cannot taste the difference. I use whole milk which I microwave for 35 seconds before I pour in the coffee. I like my coffee hot. No sugar. I like a large mug 16 ounces plus.

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  11. As a thrifty New Englander, I'm more than content with instant: Nescafé, Folger's, or Maxwell House. Lipton teabag tea is also fine. As I get older, I realize that it's all about the hot water.

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  12. If I'm lazy or rushed, I use a Melita filter holder and do the pour-over thing. If I have more time, I use an Aeropress Coffee Maker, which I think produces a better tasting cup of coffee. I'm less fussy about beans than I used to be.

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  13. Like a lot of people here, I did the Bodum French press in the late 90s and early naughties, but decided it was too much work. These days, I keep it simple; I use a Nespresso as I live in central Europe and we like our coffees smaller but stronger.

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  14. Like one other contributor, I also use a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. My coffee of choice is the cheapest from Wal-Mart ("Great Value"), carefully measured. Three heaping teaspoons in a paper filter and one liter of water, all set up the night before so as to be ready to go first thing and to avoid early-morning errors. Fortified with sugar. Makes about three mugs, more or less strong, black and sweet. Don't care for decaf or instant but I have been known to drink it.

    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Starbucks.

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    1. There are many Starbucks coffee (we call them "charbucks") places in Europe, but I have to say it's bitter and vile (even MacDonald's coffee is better so that's saying a lot), hence I avoid it. For some reason, Starbuck's a bit less unpleasant when I am Stateside but I am not a fan in general.

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    2. I've been told that what Starbucks always aims for is consistency in its roasts. And for this goal, a light roast is a hard target to hit consistently because the beans go from light to dark pretty quickly in the roaster. This makes it difficult to cut the process short in a reproducible way.

      Don't know if this is true or not. Could be that company, being born in a city famous for its annual Festival of Rain (Jan 1 to Dec 31), just needs that burnt brew to get going.

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    3. I had mentioned Starbucks because I thought that was what my son prefers. But in fact, it's "Dunkin." Unlike me, he's actually careful in measuring. I don't go to MacDonalds often, but I think their coffee is pretty good.

      By the way, after making coffee in the morning, what doesn't go into the first mug goes into a thermos bottle. I didn't drink coffee until one place I worked started having it for free. I probably drink more in cold weather if I'm outside much.

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  15. Our guests are always content with hand ground beans and the French Press method. It helps to pour the coffee into a pre-warmed mug. Yes, you have to deal with the coffee grounds. So be it. I’m actually in the warm water with lemon camp to start my day. But a couple (or a few!) days a week I head for a mid morning espresso at the local coffee shop. This is turned into either a “caffe calva” or a “caffe corretto.” This depends on which 2oz flask I grab on the way out the door.

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  16. Spouse drinks coffee every morning. For her, we buy beans and grind, brew in a Cuisinart drip coffee machine. The metal screen filter has worked fine for us. She likes it stronger, so 5 small scoops for 6 cups of coffee (marked on the side of the carafe). Beans vary, she currently likes a locally-roasted brand from Maine.

    I’m a much more occasional coffee drinker and almost always decaf. I use a nespresso machine, the one that uses the small pods.

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  17. No daily ground beans for me and no French press either. Have tried just about everything: Mom's old electric Faberware pot, Melita filter (until I poured boiling water all over my hands one sleepy morning), Mr. Coffee, French press, freshly ground, Keurig pods, Green Mountain coffee, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc. Here's what I prefer: my beloved Bunn (coffee in 60 seconds), Maxwell House Original Blend Medium (2 scoops) and Luzianne, the New Orleans coffee alternative with chicory (one scoop), which cuts the acid and mellows out the coffee. All the previous mentioned varieties esp the French press and freshly ground coffee were too acidic and gave me the jitters. A life time of learning what kind of coffee I like best. Each to their own!

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  18. Ruta Maya Dark Roast Chiapas Mexico from Costco. Grind it at store to fine.
    Blue granite coffee pot. One heaping tablespoon per 6 oz reverse osmosis water from Whole Foods, 1 crushed eggshell to settle grounds & cut acidity. Bring to slow boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from stove, let grounds settle. Consume. Water is key. Method is aka Cowboy Coffee here in Texas. Enuff said.

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  19. For those who dislike press coffee because it gets cold, they make stainless steel double walled presses. Also most tea cozies will fit a press pot. You can also wrap it in a towel.

    For those who dislike dealing with the grounds, I used to pour in some cold water, take it to the compost bin, swirl it a bit, and pour it into the bin. Many compost bins get insufficient moisture, and this fixed the issue.

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    1. Gets cold? Who leaves a press-down coffee maker sitting out naked on the counter? If you don't have an insulated thermos or big go-mug to pour the coffee into, then drop a tea cozy over the Bodum.

      I'm betting that in this here demographic, there's a high percentage of tea cozies.

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    2. Anonymous at 6:20 on January 13 seemed to think it was an issue. I, too, would expect most of us to have tea cozies. Personally, I guzzle hot coffee so quickly it is not an issue.

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  20. I've been buying from D'Amico Coffee Roasters in Brooklyn, NYC for several years. Red Hook and Park Slope blends my favorites. Always grind my own each morning and always french press.

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  21. After years of drinking Kona coffee (pure, blended, peaberry) I recently needed to reduce caffeine. I tried Mount Hagen Organic/Fair trade Instant Decaf and it is a wonderful cup on weekdays. On weekends, I sneak back to my Kona but am getting spoiled from not dealing with grind and brew on most days!

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    1. Oh, I love Kona coffee and miss it! When I lived in New York, I also used to buy Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee; delicious!

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  22. I'm blessed with a local roaster known by many coffee geeks because of his rare, traditional roaster, one of only a handful in the States, and excellent sources of beans. Having tried many varieties, I rotate among my favorites. Each day I grind enough for the next day in my Baratza burr grinder, program the old Capresso drip brewer to kick off at 5:00am, and fill with our wonderful unchlorinated well water. When I arise at 5:10 the hot coffee is ready to go. When the old Capresso dies, I will have to get a Dutch Technivorm drip machine and make the coffee upon arising, it is not programmable.

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  23. We grind Peet's Big Bang and use a porcelin coffee filter holder and paper filters to do pour-over.

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  24. Cuisinart coffee maker. 4 tablespoons of Pete's French Roast, 4 tablespoons of Starbucks DECAF Verona, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon on top of the ground coffee. Pour in 9 cups of water (8 for the coffee and one for the pot). Makes 8 cups of half-caff coffee. The cinnamon is just like salt on food. It makes the flavor pop, and if you can taste it you used too much

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  25. I like Kenyan or Ethiopian coffee beans Use an electric grinder as required I have a SMEG coffee maker here in England That’s the original not New England lol

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  26. I prefer darker roasts, and used to buy Trader Joe's "Bay Blend." Price is very reasonable, and I can grind it at the store. I still sometimes buy it, but have switched to Pete's Coffee Major Dickason's Blend. While I have a French press, and use it from time-to-time, I stick with a traditional drip coffee maker for convenience. Currently use a Braun, which I like very much because the glass pot does not have plastic around the rim. My previous Cuisinart did, and water would always collect under the rim, between the plastic and the glass, and then drip down the side and collect under the pot, which rusted the hot plate. It was very annoying, so I ditched it for the Braun, and haven't looked back. I use a 2 tblsp. scoop, and use one scoop per cup, although for anything more than 4 cups, I generally cut the number of scoops by one (i.e. for 8 cups, I'll use 7 scoops). I feel it's important to taste the coffee. My grandmother used to order 1/2 coffee, 1/2 hot water whenever we were out to eat. My grandfather always called it "dishwater." I tend to agree with him, although I would call it a "why bother."

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  27. Electric percolator and Cafe du Mond coffee. I drink a whole pot myself every morning. Rich taste. Heaven.

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    1. My family in New Orleans still drink Café du Monde and Cuban coffee alternately.

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  28. Peets dark French roast always ,in our elderly Capresso.
    Mari

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  29. My coffee is made by the company counter culture. The best in that line is Apollo and I do grind it myself.

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  30. I had always purchased expensive, dark-roast coffee. But, I could not deny the Folgers I got when visiting my Mother tasted pretty good. So now I mix a bag of Whole Foods French (or Vienna) with a can of Folders. Somehow this mix tastes better (to me). And, the fairly expensive Whole Foods coffee goes farther.

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  31. Coffee by design, no matter what the device! Thank you!

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  32. Drip, a generous serving of Gevalia French Roast... never bitter. As we say, if a spoon can't stand by itself in the mug, the coffee is too weak...

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  33. We have several roasteries in our area, and several coffee brewing systems in our home brewing quiver - a Ninja drip maker, French press, small and large mocha pots, and a DeLonghi espresso system. Grinders and frothers. The system we use for a particular batch is a function of a number of variables - volume and strength, blend, time available for brewing, time of day, and other factors.

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  34. Sounds positively complicatedly tasty. We always take our coffee as does Juan Valdez,
    “tinto, gracias.”

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  35. Absolutely freshly ground beans. I buy a new bag of Ruta Maya (local here in Austin) coffee beans every week, store my whole beans in the pantry and grind them each morning. Purified water makes a tremendous difference and I really prefer the pour over method to any other.

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  36. Bialetti or French Press with beans from a local roaster.

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  37. Stove top espresso--steel with silicone gasket, no aluminum, no rubber. Cafe Bustelo by the brick tastes great, is everywhere, pre-ground, vacuum-packed, and in a small enough package that it doesn't sit opened forever.
    Then half and half with a pinch of ground cardamom, maybe a spoonful of molasses.

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    1. +1 to Cafe Bustelo. In addition to above, it cost <$3.00 at Aldi, a few cents more elsewhere.

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  38. Start with filtered water. We buy coffee from a local roaster. (Red Rooster, Floyd VA). Their beans are organic fair trade, etc. They mail us 3 varieties each month. The darker the better. Then we grind in an old Braun grinder that my parents gave me. Mon-Sat Unbleached filters in the ol Hamilton Beach Flexbrew (funny I thought it was a mr coffee until I looked this morning). French Press on Sunday. Our French press is stainless steel due to a few breaks of the glass sort over the years. I add half and half from the local creamery and some sugar in the raw.

    My favorite coffee joke it that I like my coffee like my women.. Irish

    JM, VA

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  39. We buy coffee from a local award-winning roaster, grind it with a cheap grinder I have had for years and use a French Press (though I am English so we call it a "cafetière"). I never like the coffee from pod machines and they are not great for the environment. I think the last time I had instant coffee was at least 15 years ago!

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    1. My winter indulgence is cocoa in unsweetened coconut milk with a spoonful of instant coffee. Comfort city.

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    2. Despite the instant coffee(!) that sounds yummy Steve. I will give it a try when it is winter here. It is about 90 degrees here at the moment. Love a hot cocoa :-)

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  40. I am a tea drinker and have been since going on the wagon in 1987, but I am a navy vet who sailed on ships that ran on diesel oil and coffee but every so often I have a cup of Folgers Instant and I like to think I feel the salt spray from those great days. As a point of interest, my wife of almost 47 years has never tasted coffee. A life long tea lady.

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  41. I grind the beans the night before and set up the coffee pot so that when I wake up, all I need to do is turn it on. By the time I get back in with the dog, the coffee is ready. I have a French press and I do taste a difference, but on most mornings the need for quick and painless caffeine outweighs the desire for the diminishing returns of the press. The machine makes perfectly serviceable coffee when quality beans are used.

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