Pour some coffee knowledge on me.
February 11, 2010 6:53 AM   Subscribe

Coffee maniacs: What is your home coffee brewing setup from start to finish and in gritty detail?

I am interested in coffeephiles' processes for brewing excellent coffee. I want to know your whole setup from start to finish, with details. I would like to know which burr grinder you use, your brewing method (though I'm assuming it's pour over or press pot), what beans, if you roast your own beans or buy them roasted, where you get the beans from in either case, what you use to roast, any tips and tricks you've found.

I am going to slowly move toward a superior home setup (my budget is limited so it'll be piecemeal) and I want to know how folks are brewing excellent coffee.

Yup, I've read the related AskMe threads and I regularly read CoffeeGeek, follow coffee nuts on Twitter, read what I can when I can, etc., so I am less interested to links with coffee advice from the experts. At this point, I want to know what everyday folk do for good joe rather that what pros, baristas and reviewers do with expensive test products, etc.

posted by Rudy Gerner to Food & Drink (57 answers total) 65 users marked this as a favorite

I've tried all the different methods--drip, percolate, one-cup (Senseo), instant--and I've come to really enjoy only two styles of coffee: french press and Vietnamese.

Beans: Dark roasted (whatever brand you prefer, I happen to love Trader Joe's Dark), stored in airtight container in a dark, cool (not cold), dry space

Grinder: Krups 203. Compact, have never needed to replace the blade, just the right size for making up to 2 cups of grounds

French Press: Two spoonfulls of course grind per cup. Bring water to just below boiling, pour over grinds, stir, cover, let sit for 4-5 minutes, then pour.

Vietnamese: If you can find the Vietnamese style brewer, fill with finely ground beans up to just below the top of the center piece, pour just-under-boiling water and fill up to the rim, wait for coffee to drain, repeat 2-3 times (depending on cup size). I also like to add a spoonful of condensed milk to the glass before brewing.

Good luck!
posted by johnxlibris at 7:11 AM on February 11, 2010

The best results on a budget will come from a Bialetti Moka Express stove-top coffee pot. My personal preference is for Lavazza coffee. I'm really not convinced that the machines produce results fine enough to justify their expense and complexity.
posted by WPW at 7:11 AM on February 11, 2010

1/ Beans. I either buy an espresso blend from my local roaster or roast my own. I buy my green beans from James' Gourmet Coffee (note I'm in the UK).

I use a popcorn roaster like this one (can't remember the brand, sorry), roasting the beans until just before second crack. I got most of my info on how to roast from this book.

2/ Grinder is a Solis Maestro Plus, which is sold by Baratza in the US. Grind is the standard espresso grind, or a couple of stops either side depending on how I feel and how the first couple of espressos go.

3/ I don't have a fancy espresso machine with a custom PID since I'm a cheap git and I don't drink enough coffee to justify the expense. Instead I use a Bialetti Brikka 2-cup which gives a reasonable extraction. In contrast the ubiquitous Moka pot, there's a seal around the basket which raises the pressure in the water chamber to about 2 bar and a mini-frother (like you'll find on cheap espresso machines) to give a thin crema. It's certainly on a par with most cheap espresso makers and generally better than chain espressos and is pretty robust.

From drinking other people's coffee from more expensive machines, I'd say that the main factor to consider is your beans, hence the home-roasting.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 7:14 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and home-made vanilla sugar for a little sweetness. (Organic unrefined granulated sugar+ vanilla pod, left in an air-tight glass container for 2-4 weeks).
You did say gritty detail.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 7:16 AM on February 11, 2010

Ok, you asked for it...

I sometimes roast my own beans in a popcorn popper, but more often I buy whole beans. Usually I buy Caribou Coffee beans because they are reasonably fresh where I live. I don't always go with "locally roasted fresh beans are the best" because I find that not everyone knows how to properly roast a bean. Alot of times they are over-roasted, and I like Central American coffees like Guatemalan, which shouldn't be roasted like that. So, I find Caribou to be acceptable for a store-bought bean. I am saving up to buy a Behmor roaster so I can do more than a quarter cup at a time.

For grinding, I use a Capresso Infinity grinder set in the "medium" range. I dump the beans in the hopper and start grinding as I fill up the carafe, get out the filter, etc. I use one Technivorm scoop (comes with the machine, is slightly more than a standard scoop) for each "two cup" line - so if I fill the water to 8, I put in 4 scoops.

For brewing, I use a Technivorm Moccamaster CD Thermo. (I liked the rounded shape...it works the same as the square one.) I use paper cone filters because I don't like oily coffee. I fill up the water reservoir, then preheat the carafe with hot water. I set the drip setting to "slow drip". If I am feeling fancy I will set it to "no drip" for a while and let the grounds saturate, then switch to slow drip.

If I want only a single cup of coffee, I will use a melitta pour-over filter that I bought at the grocery store. it takes the smaller cone filters. It makes a remarkably similar cup to the TV, if I remember to let the water come down off the boil first. I also take this plus a cheap blade grinder when traveling for work.

Methods I've tried and don't like:
Aeropress: always tasted bitter no matter how much I fiddled with it
Chemex: Fancy pourover, took too much babying
French Press: don't like oily coffee, never hot enough for me
Cheap drip machines: water not hot enough = flat tasting coffee
posted by cabingirl at 7:17 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am loathe to spend very much time and money on, or to put very much thought into, the process.

I start a kettle of water on the stove, go get something done, come back, take a bag of good pre-roasted beans that I keep in a sealed bag out of the cupboard, run some beans through a cheap and coarse Black & Decker grinder I found at Target for less than $20, place the grinds into a Bodum New Kenya french press, pour in some water, stir briefly with a wooden chopstick, cover, let set a few minutes, push down, and pour. Simple.
posted by SpringAquifer at 7:19 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I want to know what everyday folk do for good joe

1. Rinse french press from yesterday's grounds
2. Fill with 3 heaping tablespoons of Lavazza Rossa.
3. Fill with 1/2 pot of boiling water from tea kettle
4. Swish once, gently, for good luck.
5. Let steep for 7 minutes
6. Plunge
7. Pour

Really, I think this is more than sufficient for an excellent cup of morning coffee. Anything more elaborate and we're beyong every day and into the realm of home barristas.

I say this as someone who is a) not a morning person, b) unable to greet a barrista civilly without already having a cup of coffee.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:25 AM on February 11, 2010

I buy my coffee beans freshly roasted from a local shop -- which wouldn't help you -- and prefer to get beans from one place. No blends. Always Arabica beans, but where they are from I am not too particular about. Variety is good.

I grind them in an old Braun burr grinder. Most often 3 spoonfuls of beans, for 2 large cups of coffee. One spoon is 25 to 35 beans. The place of origin of the beans does play a role here. So the first cup of a new bean variety is hardly ever the best.

Water is boiled, and then somewhat cooled to around 85° C. My electric kettle does this automatically -- it has a thermostat.

I pour some of the water into the beaker of a French press first, to preheat it. Put the coffee in, and then pour the large remainder of the water in. And let it rest for four minutes, before consumption.

[Is this description anal enough?]
posted by ijsbrand at 7:27 AM on February 11, 2010

I generally follow the cool French Press stylings of johnxlibris, but I wrap the carafe in a kitchen towel to keep the heat in. It may be my imagination, but I think it results in a slightly richer-tasting brew. I also use a slightly finer grind, I imagine, and slightly more coffee per cup (2 Tbs per cup, plus an extra one or two), but then I like my coffee fairly thick.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:28 AM on February 11, 2010

[And I plunge, of course]
posted by ijsbrand at 7:28 AM on February 11, 2010


Various darker roasted beans, cheap Capresso burr grinder (that I'm not that fond of) at like, 2.5 grind setting (towards the fine end), hot water from my Zojirushi (set at 195 F) into an Aeropress( I splash some tap water into my hot to bring the temp down as the Aeropress instructions recommend.) I make a double-shot amount in the Aeropress and then usually top it off with another 4-6oz of hot water.

I also have a Bodum french press, for that I grind at around the 8 marker on my grinder, 1 tablespoon of grounds for each 4 oz of water, use boiled then slightly cooled water, pour in a thin stream over the grounds, stir with a wooden chopstick, wait 4 minutes, then press and pour. I also generally pre-warm my press and mugs with warm tap water while my water is boiling.

The above I generally do on weekends, at work I just have a drip machine which is too boring and crappy to be worth discussing.
posted by ghharr at 7:37 AM on February 11, 2010

From the start, we buy five-pound bags of beans from Dean's Beans since they are roasted directly before shipment and they are only a day away. We're partial to the Uprising!, Sirius Blend, and Full Moon varieties but we're on their South American half-caf for now.

We use a Starbucks Barista blade grinder. Currently we use a drip machine in general since our French press broke and we haven't replaced it yet. However, we occasionally use our Bialetti Mukka Express for cappucino or lattes. I also have a little Melitta single-cup pour-over thing for work. I pre-grind beans and bring them in, stashing them in my desk.
posted by mkb at 7:38 AM on February 11, 2010

I used to do all that rigmarole, thinking it was the only way to get a great cup of Joe. And then I discovered instant coffee while overseas. My morning ritual is the most satisfactory of all experiences, but yet is the simplest.

1) Boil water in electric kettle.
2) Fill mug with CoffeeMate, brown sugar, and NesCafe (the expensive version)
3) Add water to top and stir.
4) Instant numminess.

Seriously, before you knock it, try it with an open heart and tastebuds. :)

(for people who don't dilute their coffee with sugar and partially-hydrogenated oils, this might not be as yum, but we did this even for the best and most expensive brands/routines, and this is by far the best.)
posted by citystalk at 7:46 AM on February 11, 2010

Beans: I drink decaf because I'm on Adderall and adding caffeine to amphetamines is a one-way ticket to twitchville. I like Whole Foods decaf Colombian La Serrania, Whole Foods decaf Sumatra Blue Batak, Java City decaf French Roast, and Starbucks decaf Caffe Verona. I keep meaning to try the decafs that Peet's has, but never manage to get around to it. Trader Joes has a couple of decent decafs as well, but I can't remember what they are. I only buy a pound or less at a time, which is probably why I don't buy better beans online. Stored in a sealed container in the tea and coffee cupboard above the sink.

Grind: Coffeephiles will laugh, but because I only grind enough for each cup at a time, I use a Magic Bullet. It works fine.

Brew: AeroPress. I've never had such an amazing cup of coffee. Two scoops, fill to three. Water from my electric kettle that's come to the boil and then left to sit for a few minutes so the temperature comes down. Stir and press, then I add more water from the kettle to make a full cup.

Add-ons: Scalded whole milk. Before the AeroPress I was putting in enough milk to be a cafe au lait, but now I've been adding less and less. And no sugar or sweeteners.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:57 AM on February 11, 2010

Beans: Trader Joe's French Roast Low Acid
Grinder: Krups
Brew: Bialetti Moka Express 10 cup stainless steel
Add-ons: Silk creamer French Vanilla
posted by omnidrew at 8:01 AM on February 11, 2010

Morning coffee:
(1) Start about two cups of filtered water boiling in electric kettle. I think we have this one.
(2) Grind 1/4 cup beans (usually the El Diablo Dark Roast from Intelligentsia, bought 1 pound at a time, but I prefer Peet's French Roast when I have time to get it) in this burr grinder.
(3) Put ground coffee into small french press. I've never bothered to pour hot water into it first or anything.
(4) Once the water boils, pour it over the coffee grounds to fill the french press and stir with mini whisk (not strictly necessary, but cute).
(5) Wait three minutes.
(6) Stir again with cute mini whisk and plunge.
(7) Pour into mug with about a tablespoon of 2% milk and enjoy

Afternoon coffee:
(1) In the evening, start with step 2 above.
(2) Mix grounds with 14-16 oz cold filtered water (with the cute mini whisk!).
(3) Leave mixture out until morning.
(4) In the morning stir again, then pour through paper filter in a plastic single cup brewer (like this one).
(5) Result is two servings of cold brewed coffee. Portion into two small mason jars to get afternoon coffee for two days.
posted by Xalf at 8:03 AM on February 11, 2010

If you are not making espresso from a moka pot or other real brewing device (developing significant pressure from steam created from boiling the brewing water) ... then there is a good place to start. They cost, like, 25 bucks. Freshly grinding coffee in a burr-type grinder also helps.
posted by jannw at 8:05 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Beans: something local if it's on sale, or caribou or the like
Grinder: cheap blade grinder. Gets the job done.
Brew: 6 cup moka pot on a gas stove
Etc: splash of skim milk
posted by craven_morhead at 8:06 AM on February 11, 2010

I prefer really fresh, medium-strength coffee from good quality, freshly ground, medium-roast beans. As every coffee thread, ever, on Ask.Me will attest, preferences in strength, beans and roast will vary widely.

French press, aeropress, or Melitta-style produce different beverages. Test. I like Melitta-style, and my favorite coffee-maker was one that got the water hotter than average. Fresh, unbleached paper filter and clean thermal carafe. Extra heating makes coffee taste burnt and awful to me. I haven't tried coldpress, as I (mostly)gave up my coffeesnobbery. French press has an oilier taste; many people enjoy it. Aeropress was too fussy for me; I like to "set it and forget it."

Go to a variety of roasters/coffee shops and try different beans and blends, and different roasts. I try to change blends because otherwise I get too used to a specific taste, and even a minor change annoys me. Cheap coffee tastes cheap, but spending a lot more doesn't necessarily ensure better coffee.

I used to drink coffee with just milk. I really, really hate those cups of hyper-pasteurized, hyper-homogenized liquid that purports to be "cream." Using only fresh, whole milk made coffee much more pleasant, even the merely adequate coffee at the donut shop, which is, at least, fresh and hot. If you use dairy or sweetener, try different combinations.
posted by theora55 at 8:10 AM on February 11, 2010

Beans: best in London are Climpsons & Sons beans from Hackney but if i can't get there I by Monmouth Espresso Blend from Borough (its near to work)

Burr Grinder: Grind in a Rancillo Rocky on a rather fine grind.

Espresso Machine: Rancilio Silva (ya!)

Milk: Organic Full Cream steamed till the jug is starting to get pretty hot in my hands but not unbearable. (I find most crap coffee places over heat the milk - you should not have to wait for it to cool)
posted by mary8nne at 8:11 AM on February 11, 2010

I roast my own beans in a drum roaster I built (beans from sweet maria's, current blend is 50/50 Brazilian/Ethiopian). Grind them in doserless Pasquini Moka grinder. Load them into a triple basket in a bottomless portafilter then into my Isomac Rituale. Pull a ristretto, and either drink or steam some milk to make a cappucino or latte.
posted by foodgeek at 8:20 AM on February 11, 2010

In short: Stove-top cooker, just less than medium-fine ground high-end coffee of your favorite brownness, not too much water, a tight seal and a low processing temperature.

For further thoughts, here's a slightly compressed version of a text I wrote elsewhere:

The classic model, the Moka Express, is made of aluminum. This article claims that the coffee fat creates a protective layer inside the pot that prevents the coffee from tasting metallic. Not mentioned is that undefinable blobs of whitish goo tend to form in the lower compartment of an aluminum cooker, even if the device is kept dry and clean when not in use. Under pressure, the aluminum clearly reacts with either the coffee or the water or both. After a while, the inside of the Moka Express thus gets increasingly rougher – aluminum is being washed away. I would never wait for a metallic taste to manifest itself: there can be no doubt that some aluminum gets transferred from the pot’s inside into my own inside all the time. I don’t like thinking about what it would do there, so I am using stainless steel espresso cookers.

- One has to know how one’s choice of coffee will behave in the confinement of the metal filter. This knowledge will have to be based on experiments with different grinds and with different degrees of compacting the coffee in the filter. Usually, a medium-coarse grind and very little or no compacting will do fine (too much compacting always gives poor results because it would require more pressure in the lower compartment than necessary to activate the safety valve, so the steam leaks out of the valve instead of pressing the water through the coffee). Some very fatty coffees tend to clog the filter and require a coarser grind.

- The water level should be somewhat lower than usually recommended. For most of the time, I am using a pot that accommodates 1/4 l when filled up to the hole of the safety valve. I usually fill it with no more than 200cl of water, so the water level stays somewhat below the entire safety valve. When using the whole amount of water, the last boiling-hot three tablespoons or so of water that run through the worked-out coffee extract highly undesirable aromas. To appreciate the full impact of the horrible rubber and cellulose aromas of this last portion, one can give the coffee of the first half to the guests and drink the last sip separately. Once will be enough to verify my point. Typically, an espresso cooker carefully loaded with high-quality coffee and not too much water first produces an abundance of crema-like foam (no real crema, I fear, but I am not a crema snob), which will run successively clearer. In this case the aroma test will show that the last part of the coffee is a bit weaker than the beginning, that’s all.

- The rubber seal must be tight. In new 4-cups-cookers (or bigger), or cookers with a new seal, this is a real problem. The rubber needs to get worked in. At the beginning, several batches of coffee will not process properly, because steam will leak out at the sides (smaller pots are easier to close, but who needs a 2-cup cooker...). Then again, I might be able to tighten a coffee pot when angry, but not to open it again after use. After a while, the seal should cease to be a problem, at least if one takes care to keep the rubber really clean. I regularly scratch out any embedded coffee grains with the handle of a spoon.

- The cooking temperature must be low. On gas stoves, this is very difficult to achieve, and so I would use a metal plate to dissipate the direct heat of the flame. On my ceramic stove, I heat the espresso cooker up on high for a minute at most; then I readjust the heat to the lowest possible effect. The coffee will now slowly and steadily run through. On the old-fashioned electric stove in my UK flat, I switch the heat off as soon as I hear the first cough of the water heating up.

- cheap non-espresso kinds of coffee cannot be used. I once almost lost two good friends by giving them, in an unfortunate moment of low brain activity, Moka Express-processed roasted-sawdust-type coffee-at-work. They literally almost ran away.
posted by Namlit at 8:47 AM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

You know what, I love a good cup of coffee and I drink it every day. I don't like it burnt, but I do like it bold and well-rounded with a little bit of cream. I've got a french press, an ibrik/briki, a couple different kinds of Turkish and Greek coffee and I get my beans from a coffee store in Manhattan called Porto Rico. My favorite beans are their Aggie's blend, which is something like 65% Colombian and 35% some sort of darker roast. It's $6.99/pound. I find it makes a perfectly tasty and balanced cup. I buy the beans whole and then grind them to a medium grind in a Cuisinart burr grinder. I grind a lot of it at a time and then keep it in a coffee-shop lined paper bag clipped shut in the fridge because I can't be bothered to pull out my absurdly loud grinder every time I want a cup of coffee, and I don't find the coffee tastes noticeably worse when it's been in that bag for a couple weeks as long as I keep it well sealed.

Now, here's the thing. I have all those coffee-making devices, but I find that my cheapo little Black & Decker drip coffee pot makes coffee that I find to taste the most like coffee I want to drink on a daily basis. The Turkish and Greek stuff I have to be in the mood for, and it's more like espresso anyway, and if I'm not really in the mood for it I won't feel like dealing with the process of actually making the stuff. The french press is good, but the coffee just isn't as appealing to me as it is from the pot. I might make the french press coffee one day a week, just for a change.

The catch is that my drip coffee pot requires more coffee than the other methods do, because otherwise it's weak. I makes me glad that I prefer a relatively cheap coffee bean. You know that big black scoop that comes with a Bodum french press? It's slightly more than a tablespoon. I use a heaping one of those scoops per cup of coffee when I brew it in my drip coffee maker, which is this: cheapo coffee maker

Also, I put organic half-and-half in my coffee, but not so much that the coffee is no longer a shade of brown. I'll add maybe a teaspoon of it. I don't put sweetener in the coffee.

I would be willing to shell out extra cash for a finer bean or a better brewing method, but I'm happy enough with this that I feel no need to.
posted by wondermouse at 8:55 AM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

I prefer to drink cappuccinos in the morning so:

Blue Bottle Beans (I walk by their roaster on the way to the train. This week is Tribal Aromas blend at our house.)

Zassenhaus burr grinder.

Rancilio Miss Silvia.

Strauss organic cream top milk.

If we go camping or otherwise need an alternative, I have a vintage Vesuviana stovetop macchinetta. We've also got a french press, and I quite like french press coffee. I just like espresso drinks better, so it is rarely used. If I wanted to drink more single origin coffees, the french press would probably be where I started, though there would be some experimentation with the Rancilio. The big deal around the coffee world in these parts is single cup drip coffee. Sweet Maria's has some nice looking equipment for that.

Your personal setup is going to depend on what you like to drink. There's nothing better or worse about brewing methods, it just depends on your personal preference in coffee. So that's where you should start, IMO.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:00 AM on February 11, 2010

Ah, and I use a wall-mounted cast-iron hand-cranked grinder that makes a lot of pleasant anticipatory crunching noises, and grinds slowly enough not to - beware! - heat up the grind prematurely.
Hum. This may prove silly: weren't they roasted anyway? Some of all this is, naturally, ritual. Coffee tastes better if you do all the movements correctly...all the chanting, too. And the slowly stirring heating up of the milk until it gets that 'almond' taste (but no further: as opposed to the boiled cow taste I remember from kindergarten hot chocolate with a skin).
posted by Namlit at 9:04 AM on February 11, 2010

Vacuum pot all the way. Maybe it makes me passe and pedestrian, but I love it. Some disclosure: I really do not like French press (quelle horreur, I know).
posted by ifjuly at 9:04 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I use dark roasts of whatever expensive brand is on sale.

I use an aerobie aeropress: http://www.aerobie.com/Products/aeropress_story.htm

Its like a french press, but you don't have to wait for 4-5 minutes and you use a fine ground coffee. Makes great espresso! and if you add some water, makes great regular coffee. Its also very easy to clean.
posted by herox at 9:05 AM on February 11, 2010

Oh I left ou the most important part: coffee is all about the beans. It doesn't matter how much or how good your equipment is if you buy crap from Starbuck's. You could brew coffee in a saucepan and make something sublime if you have good coffee to begin with.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:08 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Beans: Peets when I can get it, small local roasters when I can afford or get as gifts, or something Sumatran/Ethiopian/French roast from TJ's.

Method: cold-brew concentrate.

Additive: organic whipping cream or half-and-half.
posted by catlet at 9:22 AM on February 11, 2010

Coffee is totally in the beans. I make some unbelievably good coffee with a blade grinder and a plain ole' drip machine -- solely because I buy crazy delicious beans from my crazy awesome 'coffee guy' (Seth @ Old Bisbee Roasters if you're curious).

I'm sure I could eke some more deliciousness out of the beans if I had a more complicated/traditional/yuppie/expensive/fun/whatever/etc. process -- but I save my hand wringing elitism for other vices/hobbies. :)

(Seriously though, more power to the coffeephiles!)
posted by wrok at 9:27 AM on February 11, 2010

ok, so this may be a bit long. I have three primary methods for making coffee. I also use an Ibrik and Vietnamese style pour over, but not as often as I use a press, moka pot or pull shots of espresso.

Beans: I don't roast my own beans. I have in the past, but I just don't feel the need to venture down that path, when there are more than a few solid roasters to get my beans from. Typically I order from one of these roasters; Barrington Coffee Roasters, Victrola Roasters, Blue Bottle Roasters, PT's Coffee, Coffee Labs and Barismo. There are others, but these are my current go to roasters.

Grinders; I use a Kitchen Aid Pro Burr grinder that has been modified to accept a better burr set, has its adjustment converted to stepless. These two mods make a grinder that is rather good for everything except espresso even better (but still not for espresso). For my espresso duties I use a La Cimbali Junior commercial grinder. You can see most of my kit here.

Press pots; These are what I use almost every day. I have a 3 cup (about 12oz) two 8 cups (about 1 liter, with one made of porcelain, great for heat retention) and a 12 cup (about 1.7 liters).

Kettle: I use an electric kettle, about 20 bucks from Target a few years back. Water is always filtered tap, as it reduces limescale build up in the kettle and espresso machines as well as give you a cleaner taste. Filtered water also plays a role in the rate which it will absorb the brewing coffee, but that is a technical article for another day.

Moka pot. I picked up an odd piece in Italy a few years back. If you look at my picasa album you'll see a pic of it. It holds 18oz and has an integrated glass lined carafe. I try to alternate using this and press pot, as the flavor profiles are different with the same bean.

Espresso Machines; I am a lever geek when it comes to espresso. I think a good pull produces excellent flavors that are sometimes glossed over with all but the really, really good non-lever machines. Plus it keeps you in the mix, and the end product in the glass is a direct result of your attention to the details. I have two small lever machines from the 60's-A Caravelle, and a La Peppina. The former is a manual lever (you control the rate) and the latter is a spring loaded lever (you can kinda control the rate). Neither has steaming capabilities, but I'm more of an espresso drinker than an espresso drink drinker, so it works for me.

Making coffee, Press Pot; I start with hot filtered water to temper the press pot and carafe. The reason why well made press pot of coffee tastes so much better and has so much more character than your average drip cup is the steeping of the beans over a set amount of time through a temperature range. Tempering the pot makes sure the hot water poured into the pot doesn't go to warm a room temp pot; rather it goes to brewing the coffee with a nice, moderate temperature drop over the 4 minutes. While the pot and carafe are warming up, I measure the coffee, at 2 tablespoons per 6 oz of water. Press pots need a coarser grind. On my KA Pro I set the dial at "3.5". Put it in the grinder, but don't turn it on yet. I empty the Kettle and measure out the amount needed, i.e. for a 24 oz pot of coffee I have 8 tbsp of coffee and 24 oz in the kettle. I turn the Kettle on and let the water come to a boil. Once the water stops I grind the beans. This gives the hot water time to come off the boil (about 30 seconds) and the ground coffee won't sit. put ground coffee into press pot, followed by half of the kettle water. Stir, using either a long spoon or a chop stick, and then pour in the remainder. If your coffee is very fresh let the bloom settle (just roasted coffee gives off carbon dioxide that reacts with the hot water) Time for 4 minutes.
Now here is where your path may go in either of two directions. You can either immediately press the plunger down all the way and pour your self a wonderful cup of coffee, or you can skim off the coffee grounds before you plunge. What's the difference? Well, it does give you a cleaner cup (both literally and taste wise) with some of the brighter notes coming out, but you lose a lot of the low flavor notes, and some body. I find that I'm on the fence with this, and only do it about 30% of the time, and typically only with darker roasts.

Making a Moka Pot. Much, much easier than the press pot. You take 18 oz of cold, filtered water and place it in the base. Assemble filter. Measure coffee (18 oz water=6 tbsp of coffee) and grind at a finer setting than press pot. On the KA Pro I use a setting of "5.5" on the dial. take coffee and place it in filter, level off and then tightly screw on the top. place pot over medium heat and in about 14 minutes you'll have an excellent cup of coffee. just remember to turn off the heat when the pot starts to make a sucking sound.

I also have lots of Siphon pots (both glass and the old Sunbeam electrics from the late 30's) and some pour over brewers, but I think you get the gist of it. If you have any questions please PM me!
posted by chosemerveilleux at 9:28 AM on February 11, 2010 [5 favorites]

Alton brown has a whole episode on
coffee and which kind of machine to use.

You should look it up.
posted by majortom1981 at 9:42 AM on February 11, 2010

Hardware: Aeropress. Kettle.

Heat water in kettle. Load aeropress with about two scoops of espresso or courser coffee. Prepare according to technique in aeropress manual. Dilute with milk or water to fill mug.

I like Cafe Bustello, as it's cheap and better than cheap coffee should be. It's the best value in coffee, IMHO, although Eight O'Clock tastes better, and DeansBeans tastes even better yet.

I usually buy preground, because Bustello does not come in whole beans. It shaves some time off, too. When I do have whole beans (which are better, and more subtle), I use a blade grinder as it's cheap.

When I'm in a rush, I drink instant Cafe Bustello, which you might be able to find in the international or coffee aisle of a supermarket near a big Latino population. Instant coffee has gotten much better over time, so if you remember it as being awful, give it another shot. In some countries, it's almost unheard of to even use a drip maker anymore because of quality, cheap instant coffee.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:48 AM on February 11, 2010

PS: I don't know how people can say the Aeropress is bitter! To me, it's as bitter as a cup of coffee should be, and no more than that. But then again, I might be wired differently. I like Guiness, and I've heard that's love it or hate it because of the bitterness...
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:50 AM on February 11, 2010

Constraints on my coffee: I am the only coffee drinker in my house, don't drink a whole lot at a time, need to conserve counter space, and don't have a ton of time to linger over brewing/cleanup in the morning. I like low acidity, a mellow chocolaty flavor profile, and mostly medium roasts.

I've tried and rejected: French press, Melitta pour-over. French presses aren't worth the trouble of cleanup and the Melitta gets too much sediment in my cup.

Beans: vary. I have a favorite local roaster, but the way they roast my favorite bean (Sumatra) is typically darker than I like, and sometimes they have seasonal blends I like to try instead. Don't have enough free time to roast my own, but want to try someday. Always try to store in an airtight jar, and buy in small quantities.

Process at home: Boil water from the filter pitcher in a teakettle; I have just started noticing the difference that filtering the water makes. Grind beans with little Krups blade grinder until they look right, I guess a little finer than a drip grind but not crazy fine. I get a more even grind if I shake the grinder while it's on. Pre-wet Chemex filter (ok, this may be total magical thinking). Add grinds. Turn off the kettle when the water's boiling, maybe let it sit a moment. Wet the grinds, wait a minute, add more water until it looks like I've got about 8 oz in the Chemex (I have a smallish one with like a 3-cup capacity). More water just off the boil goes in my cup to warm it up; after I pour that out, coffee goes in and I add water if necessary. Preferred additives are usually Edenblend soy/rice milk and maybe a spoonful of good honey, depending on the beans. (I am extremely fussy about the soy milk! Other brands taste crappy, especially if they have added sugar; dairy milk tastes sour and cuts the flavor too much. Your mileage will almost certainly vary. Most people think my way is gross.)

Process at work: grind while shaking in shitty communal blade grinder. I do a much finer grind here because I can get away with it in the AeroPress I keep at work. Use between the 1-cup and 2-cup amount of water (marked on the side of the AeroPress) from the almost-boiling hot water tap in the breakroom to brew in a pre-warmed cup. Stir, let sit a minute, press. Maybe add more hot water. Probably add soy milk, maybe add honey. I rinse and reuse AeroPress filters with no apparent ill effects.
posted by clavicle at 10:15 AM on February 11, 2010

You mentioned expense, and I have to say the AeroPress is IMO the best value. It's similar in function to a Clover machine (those $10,000 things you need a special certification to purchase) but the AeroPress is low tech, and under $30. I find with the aero press, even crappy beans taste less acidic. Many mornings I enjoy a double espresso black.

I (unfortunately) also agree that local roasters are not always the best. I'm not a fan of charcoal. Unless you go very high quality, skilled roasters and super fresh, dark roasts aren't going to have lots of tasty oils, like you'd find in a mid priced medium roast. (poor quality dark have their oils burned off)


Cheap/everyday: WholeFoods 365, Morning Buzz or Island Blend. It's $12 for a 1.5 lbs bag.
Expensive/everday: WholeFoods store roasted bulk coffee, $10-$12/lbs, usually something Columbian or single origin
Super Expensive/fancy times: Kohana, (local brand), partially or all Kohana beans, $15-$20/.75 lbs (or whatever those stupid small bags weigh that used to be 1 lbs)

Daily routine is like this: crappy spinning blade grinder (next on the wish list), Aeropress, and a Zojirushi hot water dispenser. Takes about 30 sec, including clean up. I re-use the filters a few times. A tsp sugar and dab of half and half if I'm feeling indulgent. You can also dilute the aeropress into an americano, or add steamed milk/foam.

Afternoon iced coffee: fill tall glass with ice, brew double shot into mug and dissolve sugar into hot coffee. Pour over ice, fill rest of the way with milk. Straw. Home made vanilla sugar (used bean in jar of sugar, shaken for a few weeks), or syrup can be subbed for sugar.

Double walled latte glasses, for fancy times. (obviously don't brew the aeropress directly into these)
posted by fontophilic at 10:18 AM on February 11, 2010

I have a Capresso TeamLuxe drip machine. It has served me well for close to 6 years now.

Integrated Swiss burr grinder, so the beans are ground immediately before brewing. The Capresso machines get hotter than a standard drip coffee maker, so the coffee is brewed at a better temperature. The downside is that you need to run some Durgol through it more often than you would with a cheaper pot, because higher temps also mean more sedimentation from minerals in the water. The charcoal fllter takes care of some of this, but not all.

I fill it with cold water, set the timer, go to bed. Next morning it's brewing just before my alarm goes off.

I buy beans locally when possible, and have tried roasting them myself in a pan on the stove (fun, but not something I'd do every day). I avoid the charred crappy Starbucks beans like the plague. I try to buy shade-grown fair-trade (such as Peace Coffee, etc.) when I can but have had good luck with other local roasters.

As much as I like my Capresso for American-style coffee, I have been eyeballing the stovetop espresso machines for a while now. Especially since the old Gaggia machine I've had since I was 16 has been pretty much shot for a long time now. I mean, it's 20 years old... it hasn't worked right since I was in college.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:19 AM on February 11, 2010

1. Order green coffee beans at Sweet Marias. I have nothing but good things to say about them; exemplary service every time and a wealth of info on their website.

2. Roast beans in thrift store popcorn popper. Roast time varies from 6-12 minutes depending on variety and desired roast level, and is mostly guided by senses and experience. Each batch produces ~100 gm of roast beans. I roast only a week's worth of coffee for a household of two at a time. Cool beans, seal in a canning jar, and let rest overnight, if not longer.

3. Heat water in electric kettle, 8oz per person (far superior to any other boiling method once you see how fast they are).

4. Weigh out beans- 16gm per 8oz water. Grind in Rocky Rancillio grinder, dump grinds into Bodum french press.

5. Pour water over grounds, wait 4 minutes, press, pour coffee.

Here is an older post from when I was drinking more espresso than brewed coffee.

The part of my process that has the biggest impact is home roasting. I have a different coffee every week which keeps it fun and interesting in the morning, and I have tasted enough to know which countries produce my favorite coffees.
posted by slow graffiti at 10:19 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

1. Night before: Line up Aeropress parts on kitchen counter, putting little Aeropress paper filter inside the plastic filter thing-y and screwed into the other plastic thing-y. (There's a You Tube video on this.)
2. Next morning, pour one mug of filtered water into a kettle.
3. Meanwhile, add two Aeropress scoops of Trader Joe's French Roast ground at TJ's on espesso setting then kept in freezer.
4. Listen for water "sizzling" in kettle & do not let it come to a full boil.
5. Pour sizzling, but not boiling, water to #2 mark on onto the Aeropress thing-y.
6. Slowly stir grounds for 10 seconds.
7. Run plunger under faucet and press it down slowly over grounds for 20 seconds.
8. Remove Aeropress parts. Pour in rest of the water, stir, add Half and Half. This is for a mug of Americano style coffee. If you want a double espresso, do all these steps with 2 espresso-cups of water, not a mug.

That's what I do. I know higher quality beans and grinding them at home would upgrade this to orgasmic levels, but I can't stand the noise of a coffee grinder, and I'm too cheap to buy better beans. Nonetheless, this is an awesome cup of coffee. It sounds more complicated than it is. It's easier than a French press. I actually start to get groggily excited right before I do all these steps, probably the way a junkie anticipates a high just by looking at the needle.
posted by Elsie at 10:28 AM on February 11, 2010

In my opinion, Chemex coffee cannot be beaten. I use the process documented here except I use an 1/8 cup measuring spoon instead of a scale (1 scoop per 10 oz. water).

For beans, I get Intelligentsia single-origin.

My wife was chastised by a barista at an Intelligentsia shop when she let it slip that we are using a Krups blade grider! I am still roughing it with that due to being cheap. I try to mitigate the blade grinder shortcomings by pulsing the blade and shaking up the grounds between pulses.
posted by Ultra Laser at 10:51 AM on February 11, 2010

There is no such thing as the perfect coffee set up. Coffee is like wine - some want dry, some want fruity. All are good, it's just a matter of taste. I love sludge at the bottom of my cup, my sister-in-law hates it. I use a french press or a western adaptation of the Vietnamese style dripper (with too much coffee); she uses an aeropress because it lets no sludge in (for her a feature, for me a bug -- also, I think I like the acidity of bad beans).

If you want to get a good setup for yourself -- drink around and figure out what YOU like best. I switched to a french press because I was drinking it at my parents-in-law and much preferred the stronger, richer, even sludgey flavour (mmm....carcinogens) to the clean flavour of my mother's drip machine. (And I purposely use regular grind for extra sludge, not the recommended course grind). Recently, I've started using a Vietnamese-style dripper over the cup because it is single serve (and cheaper than a new french press), only with a finer grind and more coffee to imitate the richness of a french press (sadly, less crema); again, committed to this only after having had it at someone's house.

So drink around at different places (friends, coffee shops) and trying different styles. For espresso-based drinks without a big machine, I've had a nice cappuccino made using a new version of the classic stove-top moka espresso maker -- the mukka. (I think hers was actually Bodum brand with a glass top -- but Bialetti deserves some love for inventing the home-espresso maker). Me, I like the espresso from a moka, but I have to learn how NOT to burn it -- I don't pay enough attention. Hard to burn coffee in a french press. (Though I do purposely pour in before the water can cooled down to the recommended 80 degrees C or so -- I like my coffee strong and bitter.)
posted by jb at 11:15 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Beans from Bluebottle or Fourbarrel.
Breville Grinder.
Either Chemex or Eva Solo to brew.
posted by judith at 11:25 AM on February 11, 2010

Every few days, I make a new glass pot of cold-brewed coffee in a Toddy carafe (I don't use the filtered and stuff anymore; just brew it in the pot). Usually I use 2 cups of Rio Grande Roaster's Pinon blend, ground more fine than they tell you to for cold-brewed. The pinon blends make it chocolaty and the smell is AMAZING!

After a day or so in the fridge, it gets filtered through a normal coffee filter and returned to the fridge. Heat as needed.

Full-flavored, low-acid, and mellow.
posted by answergrape at 11:31 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

1. Roast beans in my tank-like WestBend Poppery I. (Poppery II's run a little hot for my taste.) I personally prefer to buy organic/fair trade as much as humanly possible, and Sweet Marias makes that an easy task. They have a "farm gate" program for many of their beans, wherein they directly negotiate prices that frequently results in the farmer/worker receiving much better pricing than the "fair trade" price. That the people growing, producing and processing my coffee receive a livable (and +) wage for their efforts is the extremely important to me.

2. Grind beans with burr grinder from the thrift store. It's a cheap brand but it works weirdly well and it was $2.

3. Boil water in kettle.

4. Pour boiling water in pot of Yama coffee siphon. Put appropriate amount (1 heaping tablespoon per cup) of coffee in bulb of siphon and put in siphon pot. Place on burner and watch the fun begin. Remove from burner. Pour coffee in cup. Feel sense of accomplishment as the rich beautiful myriad of flavors caress my tongue.

I broke my siphon last week and have had to revert to to a french press. The replacement siphon CANNOT get here quickly enough. The flavors are so muddied and the cup so sludgey I can't believe how long I stuck with french press. Blech.
posted by hecho de la basura at 11:45 AM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

(high-fives hecho de la basura)

When our auto drip died during a cold snap a few weeks ago I took it as an opportunity to finally try a different brew method--I'd wanted to try the Chemex but could never get around to it while I had a working coffeemaker, seemed too unnecessary. But then I heard about how it makes wispy coffee, and I'm so not down with that personally. The only other affordable methods I'd tried or knew much about were the Italian stovetop kind (decent but not transcendent to me, felt better for after-dinner coffee treats) and French press (which, yes, I hate). I sniffed around on Chowhound because it's my go-to resource when I have general food questions like this, and there were a few people amidst the "spend $300+" crowd giving loving shout-outs to Yamas as being just about as simple and cheap as the Chemex, but more fun to watch and bolder tasting. So I went for it and I'm a total convert. It's freakin' easy, awesomely fun to watch, and works like magic to make an assertive but smooth, rounded flavor. And it works even when your beans kind of suck, are dried out, whatever. It's really great and I highly recommend it. Hell, Laurie Colwin liked it too, more than the Chemex for the usual reasons.

They're under $40 for a full-sized (8 to 12 cup) pot, and can be more like under $30 if you only want a 5 or 6-cup brewer.
posted by ifjuly at 11:59 AM on February 11, 2010

1. Buy beans from Sweet Marias. I use their "Decaf espresso blend" and "Espresso Monkey blend"

2. Roast beans in Behmor roaster. I set the roaster for 1 lb but only roast 1/2 lb at a time. (the Behmor seems to have a little difficulty getting the roast dark enough if I put a full pound in). For decaf beans I stop the roast about 2 minutes after the first crack. For the caf beans I stop the roast about 6 minutes after the first crack. In both cases this winds up being just as 2nd crack is starting or about to start. It is roughly a city+ roast.

3. I roast about 1lb of decaf and 1/2lb of caf this way about every 10 days. (The coffee must be fresh, so I don't do too much in advance).

4. I make two lattes for breakfast- one for me and one for my wife. Each latte has 3 shots of espresso. To do this I make 3 double baskets (2 decaf, 1 caf) and put half in each cup.

5. For each double basket I use just under 1/4 cup of beans in a Rocky Rancillio grinder. The coffee should be ground right before use.

6. My espresso machine is an Andreja Premium, it is a fairly kick ass machine in the 'prosumer' category (though it is at the low end I would say).

7. Unfortunately unfiltered coffee can cause a rise in cholesterol (it does in me) so I can't drink more than this per day most days. Sometimes I have an americano after dinner though.

8. This equipment cost roughly $2500 US; however I can make a triple latte for around 50 cents (counting electricity, beans, milk). Based on local coffee shop prices (~3.50 for the same drink) it only took a little over a year to break even.

9. But obviously you don't need to spend that kind of money to get a good cup of coffee; part of it is the process--I enjoy all the steps and doing things myself. This setup is only recommended for the true coffee lover who also has strong geek and gadget loving tendencies.
posted by jockc at 12:22 PM on February 11, 2010

Every few days, I make a new glass pot of cold-brewed coffee in a Toddy carafe (I don't use the filtered and stuff anymore; just brew it in the pot). Usually I use 2 cups of Rio Grande Roaster's Pinon blend, ground more fine than they tell you to for cold-brewed. The pinon blends make it chocolaty and the smell is AMAZING!

I love the Toddy system, I have one and have made some great coffee (it is especially amazing for making iced coffee) with it. The main issue I have is it's just a pain to clean. And the filters get clogged sometimes making it not want to drain properly.. Its just too fiddly.
posted by jockc at 12:25 PM on February 11, 2010

jockc, you don't have to use the filters. I put a dampened muslin dishtowel inside the white plastic Toddy steeper thingy, then pour through. I get better yield and haven't noticed a change in quality beyond that I'd get when switching beans. Or, like answergrape suggests, just pour it through a paper cone filter.

I got rid of all my coffee equipment except a grinder when I went cold-brew.
posted by catlet at 12:45 PM on February 11, 2010

I have an aeropress, moka pot, espresso machine, and french press. I only usually use the latter two. Coffee from the aeropress always tastes a little tame to me, though it's good for traveling or camping.

For beans, I roast my own from Sweet Maria's. I usually order 12-15 lbs every 6-9 months, and roast them in my iRoast 2. I probably roast coffee 2-3 times/week. Each time it takes about 15 minutes, and I know my roaster well enough that I just let it do its thing while I'm making breakfast, then stick my head outside to stop it between 10 and 14 minutes into a roast. As long as you have decent ventilation, home roasting is usually cheaper and tastier than buying coffee from a store.

For french press, I:

1. Heat up water in an electric kettle (way faster than the stove!)

2. When water boils and the kettle clicks off, I grind beans in a Capresso Infinity. I usually use 1 heaping tablespoon per 4 ounces. For a 4-cup Bodum, I use 4 tablespoons. The Infinity grinder has served me pretty well for 4 years now, with little maintenance.

3. Brew for 4 minutes, plunge, and drink.

For espresso, I:

1. Turn my Quickmill Anita on when I wake up and let it heat up for 40 minutes or so. If I know the night before that I'll be lazy in the morning, I sometimes turn it on before I go to bed.

2. Dump about 2 1/2 tablespoons of beans per shot into my Macap M4 stepless grinder.

3. Do the espresso water dance while I'm grinding my beans

4. (Slightly over)Dose my coffee and level it off with the back of a butter knife.

5. Light tamp, knock the portafilter a bit, then hard tamp the grounds.

6. Pour the shot, and readjust the grinder as necessary so it takes ~25 seconds for 2 ounces.
posted by indeterminacy at 1:19 PM on February 11, 2010

Beans: Once upon a time I lived within walking distance of The Coffee Roaster, who roasted the best coffee I've ever had anywhere. I see they're under new ownership now, so I can't vouch for how good their coffee is any more without Richard manning the roaster. These days I go out of my way to get my coffee from Esselon when I'm in their neck of the woods... failing either of those I like Caribou's whole bean, vacuum packed stuff - and when I'm not feeling as expansive about spending money on coffee beans, 8 O'Clock's Bokar Blend (black bag) is really quite good for the price. Two things are a must: whole bean, and either freshly roasted, or vacuum sealed. (Preferably both!)

Grinder: I'm still slumming it with a Braun blade grinder I picked up on Ebay 11 years ago.

Brewing: I'm one of the people who compulsively pokes their head into any coffee discussion and says "Chemex, Chemex, Chemex!" Simple & elegant, no moving parts, and easy to clean; no scale buildup. And it brews simply wonderful coffee. Boil water in a kettle, let it cool to a few degrees below boiling. Pour just enough water over the grounds to dampen them and let them "bloom" - then pour the water in small amounts over the grounds - it's not as convenient as a drip maker, especially for large pots, but oh it is worth your patience!

And that's pretty much it. I don't add anything to my coffee; with good beans & good brewing, coffee should be smooth enough to drink black. (I know that's an acquired/personal taste sort of thing, but I do think a lot of people get in the habit of adding huge amounts of cream & sugar to their coffee to cover up the awful taste of cheap, weakly brewed stale coffee, never having had the good stuff!)
posted by usonian at 1:45 PM on February 11, 2010

I go to the best espresso bar in town and get their beans and have them grind them correctly for my La Pavoni machine. (I will someday have a grinder, but this works fine for now.)

Top up the water in the machine if necessary, turn it on, tap the old grounds out of the portafilter and tamp some fresh ones in and clamp it on. Place cup. When the machine starts sounding like a steam train, switch it to low, haul up the handle, count slowly to ten, and then pull slowly while the essence of life trickles out into the cup. Lump of sugar and stir.

Of course, it's better coffee at the best espresso bar in town, but mine is pretty good.
posted by zadcat at 2:49 PM on February 11, 2010

beans: pretty much anything from intelligentsia, because they're roasted here in town and fair trade.

grinder: baratza virtuoso, hacked so that it can actually grind fast enough to do a pretty good espresso grind

carafe: chemex handblown (#CM-4 -- handblown glass is so much more of a pleasure to deal with than machine-molded)

filter: chemex circle filters, pre-folded

method: grind, place gorund beans in a wet filter in the top of the chemex. pour enough just-off-the-boil water to prime the grounds and make a paste. once that water's drained down, add water again, filling to about a third of the height of the carafe.
posted by patricking at 5:56 PM on February 11, 2010

Light or city roast beans of any variety, from Equal Exchange, Intelligentsia, or Alterra. I'd drink Peet's but there isn't one near me. Midwestern coffee roasters I don't like: Metropolis, Kickapoo.

Zassenhaus manual grinder, medium grind

Bring water to a rolling boil in an uncovered saucepan.

Turn off heat and put grounds in. Brew 3 to 4 minutes, stirring twice.

Pour through mesh strainer into cup.
posted by halonine at 9:50 AM on February 12, 2010

Also, I second the recommendations for Sweet Maria's.
posted by halonine at 9:54 AM on February 12, 2010

I buy a half pound of whole-bean house blend coffee from Peet's every week to 10 days. Each morning, I grind it in an inexpensive blade grinder (I'd like a burr grinder, but they're expensive). The beans from Peet's are really fresh - esp. since I only buy a half pound at a time. And, the coffee is noticeably better when I grind it daily with my blade grinder than when I have Peet's grind it for me. When they grind it, it's excellent for a day or two, but then the quality drops off very sharply as it loses freshness.

I brew it in an inexpensive 4-cup coffeemaker, since I only make 2-4 cups (it's just for me). It seems to get the water hot enough. I used a french press for a while, but it was too much of a pain and the coffee wasn't hot enough for me.

I drink it black or with 1% milk, no sugar.

During the summer I sometimes cold-brew coffee by buying coarsely ground coffee, mixing with cold water, leaving overnight, then straining in the morning. It keeps for a while in the fridge, so I make a lot at once. I think the ratio to make coffee concentrate is a half-cup coffee beans to 2 cups water, but I'm not sure, as I haven't made it for several months.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:53 AM on February 12, 2010

I like my coffee strong and well-filtered. The French Press does make the best coffee, but it also takes more time than I have when I just want to be awake. My coffee secret? Use at least two filters in the coffee maker. I don't know why, but it really does improve the taste. This trick also works on bad workplace coffee.
posted by medea42 at 10:15 PM on February 12, 2010

Wow, this is all amazing. Thank you guys so much. I definitely feel way more in the know about grinders and roasting/beans, which was the biggest blank spot in my coffee knowledge. I will report back with what I end up doing/procuring. I can't wait to taste the deliciousness I brew up thanks to all of you. Thank you for taking the time to provide the nitty gritty!
posted by Rudy Gerner at 7:47 PM on February 13, 2010

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