Where online should I buy a French press and burr grinder?
April 2, 2011 3:36 AM   Subscribe

Where online should I buy a French press and burr grinder?

I want to get a French press and burr grinder so I can start drinking "real" coffee (i.e. - coffee that isn't from a tin). Upon getting my French press and grinder I plan to start buying my own beans either online or at a shop in a nearby city.


. Are there any accessories, other than a burr grinder and a coffee machine, that I should become in possession of?
. Are there any other types of coffee machines that can brew finer coffee than a French press?
. Should I buy beans online or would beans from almost any supermarket suffice granted they're arabica and are at least semi-fresh?
. Where can I buy high-quality coffee beans online?

I don't think I've ever had coffee that wasn't from a drip machine, and direly want to taste the difference this will make. Lots of true coffee aficionados scoff at you when you tell them you brew pre-ground coffee in a drip machine.

I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of coffee, but hopefully this will change once I start brewing high-end coffee with a high-end brewing machine.

Anyway, thanks. I'm excited to read your responses.

*Note - I live in the middle of nowhere in Canada which is why it's preferable that I buy a machine and grinder online.
posted by GlassHeart to Food & Drink (40 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think there's any real difference between grinders. Maybe battery-operated vs. plug ins. If it works, and the motor won't die after a daily grind(ha), its good to go. Even spice grinders will work. Same concept.

Same with the french press. Just a simple push-machine. Thats all.

As for coffee...Its all preference. As a brand new coffee drinker, I was able to get past the bitter aftertaste when drinking Jamaican Blue Mountain (not-blend).

Oh yeah...don't get it dark-roasted...it apparently destroys the flavor or whatever the snobs say. But for me...it was all about getting it down, and JBM did the trick.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:12 AM on April 2, 2011

For money and ease, I say get an Aeropress and a Porlonex hand-grinder. Easy to find (I got the former on eBay and the latter in Japan, but they're available online at a good price)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:22 AM on April 2, 2011

Two places in Ontario that I have looked at are:

I Drink Coffee


Espresso Planet

The latter seems to have better prices. I've been thinking of doing the same thing as you, and have my eye on either the Maestro or Maestro Plus grinder by Baratza. I haven't looked in a while but reviews seemed decent. 

Rather than French press, I'd probably go with an Aeropress. Check out YouTube for tons of videos on it. On preview, consider it seconded.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:30 AM on April 2, 2011

Have you used or seen a pour-over brewer? These from Sweet Maria's use a standard paper cone filter or folded Chemex filter, some have a valve that let you steep the coffee as you would with a French press— but with less sludge and easier cleanup. You get a different flavor profile from each brewing method anyway, and part of the fun of enjoying coffee is exploring a certain bean at a certain roast level in a particular brew method.

Honestly, much of the scoffing about your "pre-ground coffee in a drip machine" is from the coffee itself; it's nearly impossible to brew a decent cup from beans that have been ground maybe weeks ahead of time and are sitting in a bag going stale. You'll notice a world of difference with a decent quality conical burr grinder— even in a drip machine.

Second backwards guitar's rec for the Baratza grinders. My old shop used to carry them, they're a fine product. They are larger than your typical department-store grinder, though they will be quieter, more durable, and more consistent.

Also: don't forget a good source of clean, hot water. At the very least, get a filter pitcher and an electric kettle, and don't put tap water in the kettle.

posted by a halcyon day at 4:54 AM on April 2, 2011

Sweet Marias gives excellent service and has what you want.
posted by BostonTerrier at 4:55 AM on April 2, 2011

Yes, totally go for the Aeropress over the French press. I have this Cuisinart burr grinder, which works fine but is as noisy as hell.
posted by essexjan at 5:11 AM on April 2, 2011

Since, by your indication that you want to use a French Press, you aren't going to need a grinder capable of producing a fine espresso grind, I can heartily recommend this unassuming Black and Decker burr grinder. Seriously!!!

It's very affordable and does a great job. You don't need a huge, expensive grinder for making French Press coffee. The expensive grinders are best at producing espresso grinds, though. That said, with a simple home modification, the B&D machine can make a good espresso grind, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:37 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's a bit pricey but Intelligentsia, based out of Chicago, is my favorite online coffee bean seller. It's worth mentioning that they have great customer service—when they sent me whole beans by mistake (I, alas, have no coffee grinder), I called them up and they immediately sent me a new French press ground coffee, and recommended I give the whole beans to a friend with a grinder.

I don't have a specific site recommendation for a French press, but Bodum makes good ones in a variety of styles and they are available from many online retailers.
posted by mlle valentine at 5:47 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Definitely go Aeropress unless you need to brew lots of coffee. It's cheap, it makes amazing coffee (and amaaaaaahzing Americanos, which is what I now drink every weekend morning) and it's very, very easy to clean. Which a french press is generally not.

I have some kind of incredibly cheap blade grinder I found in my basement so I will refrain from comment on that side, except to say that I'm not sure you need an expensive Burr grinder with the Aeropress as I haven't had any problems.
posted by selfnoise at 6:01 AM on April 2, 2011

Oh, missed the bit about ordering coffee beans online. I buy these locally, but thanks to the magic of technology you can order them!


Buttery smooth expresso beans.
posted by selfnoise at 6:04 AM on April 2, 2011

i'm excited for you!! ok -- the green beanery is a great canadian place for ordering a bodum french press. i have two bodum french presses -- one of them, i've had for 6 years, and it's still going strong. i love it. i'd recommend a 34 oz. one (it's the perfect amount of coffee split between my partner and i in the morning). it needn't be double-walled or super expensive. shop around -- you may find a cheaper one on amazon, or even the bodum website.

our grinder is maybe the second cheapest one from canadian tire? i don't remember -- but it's perfect, and has served us for at least a few years.

our absolutely favorite coffee is kicking horse. we're very faithful to their 'grizzly claw' bean! it's available quite widely in canada, but you can also order from them online.

and do not underestimate the difference a really nice, dark brown sugar can make in the taste of your coffee! we usually buy demerara, but any brown sugar will do. i use a bit of 10% cream in my coffee as well. it makes my morning!
posted by crawfo at 6:05 AM on April 2, 2011

Best burr grinder I've had so far was from Canadian Tire; it's a cheapo Black & Decker™ Burr Mill. It has a tiny capacity, has an annoying button you have to hold down, but grinds better than other ones I've had and is easier to keep clean.

Their stock of cafetieres are a bit low at the moment, but I'd recommend Toronto's Merchants of Green Coffee. I don't recommend Green Beanery, as they are owned by this dude, and friends don't let friends buy from climate change deniers.
posted by scruss at 6:17 AM on April 2, 2011

If you're just getting into this, don't spend a ton of money, is my advice.

I bought a grinder I still use and an espresso machine I eventually got rid of, because the cheap models are a huge pain in the ass. Despite that I've avoided filter coffee or drip machines, because I just don't need twelve cups of coffee in a day, and I prefer the stronger brews I can make with a french press. I haven't tried the aeropress, but have heard good things.

If I were putting together a competent starter coffee-nerd setup, as in "if I had to do it all again", this is what I'd do:

One Hario Skerton hand grinder, $45 or so. Sure, it's hand-grind, but it gives you good fine control over your grind and will hold its value well if you decide to get rid of it. Don't listen to people who tell you that all grinders are equal or that the grinding doesn't matter, because that's a lie. Don't get a blade grinder, because seriously.

A Frieling stainless steel bodum, because I want a rich, warm cup of coffee in the morning, not a sink or floor full of boiling-hot glass shards to clean up. Fuck glass bodums, I say.

A small stovetop espresso maker, because now and then that's what you want, and it doesn't take up two square feet of counter space when you don't.

A coffee subscription from Transcend Coffee, because having fantastic coffee arrive periodically in the mail is awesome.

That and a few jars of the Ikea "burken" or "slom" varieties, largeish jars that are reasonably airtight. Store your coffee in them, somewhere cool and not in direct sunlight. Don't ever freeze it, because we're not a bunch of filthy backwards savages, scrambling for caffeine on the dimly-lit fringes of a dying civilization here, we're the proud men and women of modern civilization, and we are deserve better.

All told that should set you back less than $200, though I don't know about shipping to wherever you are. Cheaper than one of your fancier coffee machines, and a little more work, but you'll be much happier with the result.
posted by mhoye at 6:20 AM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

I have this french press, and I use it every day. I love that it's stainless and not glass - I can't find the article now but someone in the news recently had their glass press explode on them -- not that it's common but the stainless one isn't ever going to do that. Bonus! If you savor that first cup for a long time the 2nd cup is still toasty.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:33 AM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Haven't used an Aeropress, but a French press is an outstanding way to make coffee.

As others are saying, you don't need much of a grinder. I've used a simple blade grinder for a whole lot of years. You barely need to grind the beans at all -- just whacking them into small chunks is fine. I generally grind my beans for about three presses of the grinder, about one second each, and that makes a great cup.

In fact, grinding less gives you less sludge in the coffee.
posted by Malor at 6:47 AM on April 2, 2011

For something quite different and certain to impress - try a siphon. Great results as well.

But if you're after a press, the stainless steel models are great.

I would always recommend a burr grinder over a rotary grinder. Rotary grinders produce a wide range of grind particle size, and that causes some over-extraction and therefore bitterness (because the smallest particles end up being steeped in water too long) . Burr grinders produce a more consistent grind size.

Try to find some boutique roaster that can deliver to you quickly and quotes a 'roasted on' date. (beans are only good for use one to four weeks after roasting). Avoid supermarket beans. Avoid beans that have been roasted for espresso machines - these beans tend to be roasted longer and have a more intense, bitter flavour that does not come over well in a press.

Seconding mhoye's advice - don't spend too much now. Plenty of time for the Synesso later on ;-)
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 6:49 AM on April 2, 2011

I'm drinking a cup of coffee made in an Aeropress right now, and it's pretty damn good. We also have a French press and use that sometimes. The drip machine come out for parties. Anyway, nthing the Aeropress.

I don't grind my own beans, though. You may now shun me ;-)
posted by rtha at 7:25 AM on April 2, 2011

I also recommend a stainless steel french press if you're going in that direction. It not only will not break like a glass one, but it keeps the coffee warm for hours (which is a plus for me because I drink my coffee slowly and I have a two cupper).

I have a hand grinder that someone sent to me over the holidays as a gift and I love it. I can't tell you the company name because it was all in an Asian language. But having fresh ground coffee definitely makes a difference. However, a French press will make even ground coffee from the store taste much better. I don't even have a drip coffee maker anymore.
posted by patheral at 7:35 AM on April 2, 2011

You might consider getting an electric kettle to heat water in - it will boil water much faster and economically than on the stove.

Another method you might also consider is using a filter cone. They're cheap, come in any size you want (so you could brew a single cup at a time), and easy to use. I bought one for a camping trip and nowadays I have it in my office, so I use it daily. We also have a french press at home, and I use the same coarse grind for both methods. I wouldn't necessarily rate one higher than the other, but you can tell a difference between the brewing methods.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:46 AM on April 2, 2011

Contra what many people are saying, the grinder matters a lot. Blade grinders typically result in very uneven grinds and really increase the unpredictability of the resulting coffee quality. (I.e. they won't always result in worse coffee, but they will make it that much harder to get consistently great coffee.) Among burr grinders there is a certain amount of variation. For instance, the cuisinart recommended above (my previous grinder) generates a ton of dust, which sort of nullifies the evenness of the grind, and makes it a huge pain to clean. In that price range I'd recommend the capresso infinity.
posted by advil at 8:29 AM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

You can go as cheap as possible on both the grinder and the press — the place to spend more money is getting good coffee. The very cheapest burr grinders are bad at getting the consistent fine grind needed for espresso, but perfectly great at the consistent very coarse grind needed for French pressing. And the press itself is basically a device for getting the grounds out of the coffee once it's ready to drink; nothing about the specific press affects the quality of the coffee much at all.

By contrast, spending extra on good coffee, perhaps roasted locally by some artisan around where you live or at least fresh high-quality coffee from some better-than-supermarket source, makes all the difference in the world. You'll want to experiment to find the tastes that you like, trying different roasts and roasters and different beans, so this is nothing more than a heuristic, but still: putting extra money into upgrading from supermarket beans might be a revelation, while putting money into a more expensive press or grinder won't change what you're drinking much at all.
posted by RogerB at 8:43 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Amazon should be fine in terms of "where to order" a french press and burr grinder.

Are there any accessories, other than a burr grinder and a coffee machine, that I should become in possession of?

Here's my coffee setup:

1 airtight opaque jar for coffee bean storage.
1 electric kettle.
1 rounded tablespoon measuring scoop.
1 grinder - FWIW I don't use a burr grinder but one of those "Magic Bullet" infomercial food processor things. It's not the most uniform grind ever, but it gets the job done.
1 french press (Bodum 34oz, if you're curious).

When it's very cold out, I also use a little french press cozy I knitted up out of spare yarn, but you could also get an insulated carafe. This is mainly because I have a large-ish press and roommates who all keep different hours.

Are there any other types of coffee machines that can brew finer coffee than a French press?

This is always going to be a matter of taste. I like the elegance of the french press and the simplicity of making coffee without requiring anything beyond hot water and ground beans. Others swear by the moka pot, the aeropress, really fabulous high end drip machines, cold brew, etc etc. In the end, it's just coffee. If you like the way it tastes and find it convenient to make, you're fine.

Should I buy beans online or would beans from almost any supermarket suffice granted they're arabica and are at least semi-fresh?

It depends on the selection at your supermarket. If you live in a small town where most people drink Maxwell House or Nescaffe, the whole bean coffees at your supermarket will probably be pretty stale. If the whole bean coffee at your supermarket turns over pretty quickly, then it's probably fine to buy there. (I know, I know, local small batch roasters, use within two weeks, blah blah blah, but you're in rural Canada. It's just coffee. You'll be fine.)

Where can I buy high-quality coffee beans online?

I don't order online, but I love dropping in at Porto Rico Importing here in New York. If you're in eastern Canada, I'd definitely recommend ordering from them.
posted by Sara C. at 8:45 AM on April 2, 2011

I recently discovered the best coffee I've ever been able to make at home in my french press. It's the Northeast Blend from Porto Rico. There are beans that work well in a drip coffee maker but then something happens in the translation to french press, and they're not as good. I have a feeling these wouldn't be as good in drip, as this blend seems to benefit from the longer brewing time. I don't know what it costs for them to ship to Canada, but in general their prices are reasonable and this blend happens to be on sale today too.

In terms of brewing technique, I found that following the french press's instructions exactly did not yield the ideal cup of coffee. I use about twice as much coffee as they recommend and brew for 4-5 minutes. Make sure the water is not boiling, but just under boiling when you pour it in.

By the way... a little trick I learned recently. Some people may scoff, but I am finding that I can make a great cup of coffee simply by putting these grounds in a glass measuring cup, brewing it in there the same way I'd brew it in a french press. I have one of those one-cup melitta things that fits over the top of a mug, so I put a cone filter in that. When the coffee has brewed long enough in the measuring cup, I pour it into the melitta filter. This leaves me with a clean, strong, tasty cup of coffee without the film of fine grounds that always end up in my french press brew no matter how coarse the beans have been ground, and I don't have a bunch of little parts to clean afterwards. This wouldn't work as well if you're making coffee for a bunch of people unless you get a bunch of one-cup filters, at which point it's a lot more wasteful, but I really like it when just making coffee for myself.
posted by wondermouse at 8:49 AM on April 2, 2011 [5 favorites]

don't get it dark-roasted...it apparently destroys the flavor or whatever the snobs say.

If you like dark roasts, you like dark roasts. Dark roasting doesn't "destroy" the flavor of anything. That doesn't make any sense. What it does is that it takes a lot of the subtlety and complexity out of the flavor, which real coffee connoisseurs dislike. Frankly, I feel like unless we're talking Starbucks level dark, honestly if you're new to anything beyond Folgers out of the office drip machine, you're probably fine drinking a dark roast if it's what you enjoy.

To me it's sort of the difference between drinking Chateauneuf du Pape and Beaujolais Nouveau. One could be a snob and say "drinking wine too young destroys the flavor". Or one could admit that they're two different wines with different flavor profiles consumed in different ways.

I grew up on dark roasts. Even though it's not the most sophisticated way to drink coffee, I really enjoy it that way sometimes.
posted by Sara C. at 8:52 AM on April 2, 2011

french press: I don't like them taste-wise (I do like the looks and simplicity, but I never had a good cup from a french press). A melitta pour-over or a more fancy ceramic pour-over are much better, a vacuum pot is even better but too much hassle to use often; reportedly an aeropress is as good as a vacuum pot but also very easy to use.

burr grinder: depending on how much coffee you plan to drink, a hand-grinder may be a good choice. I have a Zassenhaus I bought used. It looks amazing, probably the neatest thing I own. Most often I grind enough for just one small cup, so it's more practical than having a noisy electric grinder with a cord.

beans: I buy green beans online from sweet maria's and roast them myself in a cheap popcorn maker. Sweet maria's has instructions on how to find one. It only takes 5 minutes to roast (and it's stupid-easy), and the great thing about buying green beans is that they can be stored for years -- while roasted beans are only fresh for 5-7 days at most (no matter what anyone else says) before they go stale.

I mostly drink tea, not coffee, though, so take all of this with a coarse-ground grain of salt...
posted by rainy at 9:44 AM on April 2, 2011

I have a Zassenhaus grinder that I purchased off of Ebay a few months back for around $70.00. They make other really reputable manual grinders, and this is probably there most expensive one. Since I got a total deal on it, I bought it, and have yet to regret my purchase decision. When friends come over, I make them coffee. This grinder is always an eyepiece; hipster street credit as it were. It's fairly adjustable, but you do need to hold the twisting part underneath the swivel crank in order to get a consistent grind size. I think some people might use rubber bands for that? I can't really see myself doing something like that to my beautiful grinder, so I grind with two hands.

As for the French Press: I used to assume that they were all the same, but then I realized a subtle difference between all of the Bodum French presses that I have used, and my friend's Mr. Coffee French Press. The Mr. Coffee French press top rotates freely, so it must be adjusted before pouring. My own Bodum mini-press only has one top-side configuration, whereas my brother's larger one has a pour and stow 180 degree rotation top-side configuration. I'm not sure if I'm aptly describing that small detail, but you could compare it to the behavior of tops on those plastic jugs people tend to use for storing Kool-Aid in refrigerators. Basically, I think it is nice not having to worry about dripping hot coffee all over your hands from stupid orientation of a pour screen.

Anyhow, if you're only going to be making coffee for yourself 90% of the time, then get one of these.
If you think you'll make coffee for others too (even just one more person, maybe a significant other that also drinks coffee or something), then get one of these. They used to make ones with wooden handles. My girlfriend's dad has one that he found at a garage sale (along with multiples of other obscure coffee accessories over the years), but I never really find any of those in stores here in Charlotte. They probably are on eBay, but I haven't had to look. I'm a solitary coffee drinker most of the time, so I stick with the little one my girlfriend gifted me back in the day.

As for a hot water suggestion, electric kettles are totally worth it. I don't like my roommate's Crups kettle that much because I had to fix hers, and because a lot of plastic is used in its construction, but there are plenty of reviews on Amazon for that sort of thing. Try and pour hot water over the ground coffee when you think it is about 200 degrees F. For me, I just let the water boil, take off the kettle top, swirl it around for 5-10 seconds, then pour hot water into the French press. If you really want to go all out with an IR thermometer (seriously, I gave thought to this for a good 30 minutes one day), make sure that the emissivity constant is dialed in for water (0.98).

Also, some coffee storage suggestions. I store bags of whole bean coffee in my freezer. The life expectancy on those is about four months, so if you like to buy in bulk, buy only enough to last no more than four months. I like to keep a little bit of coffee out at room temperature inside of this snazzy little jar, and then refill my jar every week or two.
posted by JesseBikman at 9:47 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

We have a Zassenhaus grinder, which is awesome. They're infinitely adjustable, unlike some burr grinders. Much cheaper and much harder to break, and less crap to keep clean. There's no hopper, so you can keep your coffee fresher in appropriately sized containers.

Go for a pour over if you're trying to learn to like coffee better. There's a knack to good press coffee, and some people don't like it anyway because it's more oily. There's also more cleaning to do. Nearly all the high-end coffee houses in the Bay Area have moved to (or always had) pour over coffee. You can control oiliness by using either paper or metal filters. It's a cheap way to brew very good coffee, and then you can decide if you want to experiment with other brewing methods.

The only other thing I would recommend would be a digital scale, for measuring out your beans before grinding.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:57 AM on April 2, 2011

Actually, I didn't realize stainless steel French presses existed. Go with that suggestion!
posted by JesseBikman at 9:59 AM on April 2, 2011

Oh crap, where to buy, which is what you asked-Sweet Maria's, mentioned above.

Also, regarding different machines: every brewing method requires and responds to different variables. French press coffee tastes different than proper espresso, or machinetta (stovetop) coffee, or pour over, &c. The grind for french press is coarser, because the coffee is in contact with the water for a longer period of time than drip coffee (less coarse grind) or espresso (very fine grind, very hot pressurized water). So there's no way to really say what makes the "best" coffee, because it's all subjective. You can make awesome coffee with a saucepan over a fire, if you know what you are doing.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:05 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Aeropress on Amazon! A french press will leave grounds in your coffee, which continue to brew as you drink, leading to bitterness. Any paper filter brewing (like the Aeropress) blocks coffee dust, also allowing for a cheaper grinder. I use a blade grinder with my Aeropress and it's been great.
posted by mnemonic at 10:30 AM on April 2, 2011

RogerB speaks the truth: the order of importance is
1. the beans
2. the grinder
3. the brewing device
4. electric kettle

The best place to get beans is a local roaster, but it sounds like you may not have access to this in your town.

The next best place is the internet. There are many good subscription services out there that will send fresh beans that are way better than supermarket beans at regular intervals. I am not very familiar with Canadian roasters but 49th Parallel is definitely one of the best I've heard of, and the way they do things sounds similar to top US roasters like Intelligentsia.

I have long gone down the path of roasting my own, but if I were trying to convert a coffee noob, I would probably buy them one bag of something like 49th Parallel; expensive but it would give you an idea of what coffee can be when it's really really good. Buy a basic french press on Amazon, and grind the beans at the grocery store or borrow a friend's grinder, whatever. Decide based on that experience if you even in fact like coffee that much (and hey, maybe you don't, that's fine). Then if you do like it, you can plunk down some cash on the grinder and it will be even better. Then maybe later on you can play around with different brewing devices like a siphon or a Chemex.
If it turns out you don't really care for even the high end coffee, perhaps try tea snobbery instead, which is somewhat less equipment intensive and will allow you to still make use of the french press. You'll be out only the cost of the beans.
posted by slow graffiti at 10:46 AM on April 2, 2011

slow graffiti: tea snobbery is a lot more equipment intensive depending on types of tea.. kyusus, houhins, gaiwans, separate zisha pot for each type of puerh / oolong with different varieties of clay / shapes, chawans, puerh aging setups, ceramic or clay or tetsubin kettles with olive pit charcaol fuel, -- and that's just barely scratching the surface!
posted by rainy at 11:04 AM on April 2, 2011

Aeropress has the benefit of being highly portable - I've taken mine to the office when I knew a particularly long day was ahead, since all you need is a microwave to heat the water (and coffee, of course, but you do all have that emergency tin of Illy dark roast fine grind in your bottom drawers, next to the single malt scotch... don't you?!).

I know, I know, you want a French press - but I have to also put in a shoutout to my personal favorite, the stovetop moka or "old school Italian espresso percolator." There's something about the process, and the aroma, that still mean "espresso" to me. You can buy all kinds of shiny, Williams-Sonoma-ey mokas, but the one you get for $10 at the Italian grocery will do the job just as well.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 11:54 AM on April 2, 2011

Paper filters do a good job at blocking fine particles that can give coffee a bitter taste. But they also remove some of the most flavorful oils and organic compounds. To me, drip coffee can taste paper-y and a bit bland compared to the fullness of well-made French press. This is certainly a matter of preference, though!
posted by Orchestra at 12:50 PM on April 2, 2011

Where in the middle of nowhere of Canada are you? I live in Edmonton, where Transcend Coffee roasts their own beans and offers free shipping in Canada.

They also sell grinders and are quite knowledgable about which options would work best for your budget.

Intellegentisa is indeed pretty great, but in my experience the less the coffee has to travel after roasting the better it tastes.
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 12:57 PM on April 2, 2011

Jumping in to advise, like others have, against a glass french press. I've broken more than I've owned.

Orchestra: "Paper filters do a good job at blocking fine particles that can give coffee a bitter taste. But they also remove some of the most flavorful oils and organic compounds. To me, drip coffee can taste paper-y and a bit bland compared to the fullness of well-made French press. This is certainly a matter of preference, though"

I use one of those gold, reusable filters in my single-serving cone. The mesh is super-fine, and no paper-y taste!
posted by Room 641-A at 2:23 PM on April 2, 2011

A french press will leave grounds in your coffee, which continue to brew as you drink, leading to bitterness.

Not all french presses are built equally. My french press (which I bought on Amazon) leaves no grounds in my coffee, and I love it.
posted by patheral at 8:35 PM on April 2, 2011

Someone above recommended the Cuisinart burr grinder.

It's awful.

I have one and don't use it anymore. I'm willing to go through the 200-or-so turns of my Porlonex hand grinder to avoid the Cuisinart. (The Porlonex, btw, is better than the Hario Skerton, imo).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:36 AM on April 3, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for your responses, folks. Ask MetaFilter truly is indispensable.

Looks like I'll get:

. An Aeropress coffee machine
. An electric kettle (still not sure which one though)
. A filter pitcher (also not sure which one . . . probably almost anything would be adequate)
. A Porlex coffee grinder

beepbeepboopboop: "Where in the middle of nowhere of Canada are you? I live in Edmonton, where Transcend Coffee roasts their own beans and offers free shipping in Canada.

They also sell grinders and are quite knowledgable about which options would work best for your budget.

Intellegentisa is indeed pretty great, but in my experience the less the coffee has to travel after roasting the better it tastes.

MB. Closest "major" city to me is Brandon.

I'm pretty sure good beans could be found somewhere in Brandon, but not sure where to look.
posted by GlassHeart at 5:54 AM on April 3, 2011

To me, the aeropress makes the best single cup of coffee. But if I want more (rarely) or if I have guests, I use the french press. The only downside to the french press is there's always a little bit of sediment in your cup.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:42 AM on April 4, 2011

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