Help me use this formerly decorative coffee pot on a near-daily basis.
March 14, 2014 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Here is a coffee pot I own. It's meant to hold decanted, already-made coffee, but I'm interested in brewing coffee in it. What's the best, non-pour-over way?

As you can see, the opening at the top is pretty narrow. I don't care to use a pour-over drip method, as it would take too long (in addition to being inelegant.)
Short of stuffing a knee sock with coffee grounds, what's a good way of making this pretty pot earn its keep as a worker? Would a large mesh tea ball filled with grounds work? Help me (and it) become more practical and less strictly decorative.
posted by BostonTerrier to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could use a tea ball, but I don't have any confidence that the coffee you make will be good in any sense of the word. Likewise, you could just dump the grounds into the pot and let them sit in the water (i.e. make cowboy coffee). But again, the taste problem. You really only want the water to be in contact with the grounds for a limited duration, which is why nearly every means of brewing coffee (espresso, drip, pour over, aeropress, you name it) works the same way: water flows through grounds, grounds are discarded. Even a French press, after brewing for a few minutes, removes the grounds from the water.
posted by The Michael The at 6:47 AM on March 14, 2014

there are similar purpose built coffee makers/pitchers.

i don't think a tea ball/spice ball would do it - the mesh is too wide. every in pitcher/thermos idea like this that i've seen has had a super fine mesh and that seems to be what most of them advertise as well.

and yeah, you'll definitely want something you can pull out without making a huge mess after 2-4 minutes.
posted by nadawi at 6:50 AM on March 14, 2014

If you can get the widths to line up, a gold coffee filter might work.

I have a similar problem, owning two coffee-serving pots that are not designed for brewing. I suggest admitting defeat and using them for flowers. (I do bring mine out when we're having many guests and I need to reuse the French press before the coffee inside is consumed.
posted by chocotaco at 6:52 AM on March 14, 2014

My boyfriend does the mesh tea ball thing. He steeps it for a few minutes in about 8oz of hot water. The taste is not amazing, but not terrible. You can avoid the issue of having loose grounds in your coffee by getting coarse ground coffee (most grocery store coffee grinders will have a setting for French press; go for that).
posted by rhythm and booze at 6:54 AM on March 14, 2014

So Turkish Coffee is made in a pot, but that pot is usually boiled with water and grounds inside. You could do a similar thing by putting finely ground coffee and boiling water in the pot, but it won't be quite the same. The coffee is "filtered" by gravity settling the grounds out in your cup.

The real issue is that controlling coffee contact with hot water is how you make good coffee. Coffee expands quite a bit in water (called blooming). A tea ball would limit that. Thats the reason pour overs take time.

I don't understand your idea the pour overs are inelegant. The coolest coffee shop in my city does a booming pour-over business and it costs twice what a drip coffee costs.

I have a clever coffee dripper that I really like and would probably work with your pot. It's like fool-proof pour-overs. It can be brewed and your pot filled in the kitchen, then brought out to your properly fancy table afterwards.

Or you could just make tea in it.
posted by fontophilic at 6:54 AM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Would tea filters alleviate the blooming problem?
posted by mkb at 6:56 AM on March 14, 2014

Sorry, I should have mentioned that a "Clever Coffee Dripper" is a product, not just an adjective. They come in small and large sizes.
posted by fontophilic at 6:57 AM on March 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

In Northern Sweden "kokkaffe" is pretty much standard way of making coffee. You pour coarsely ground beans (preferably broken against a rock using the flat side of a knife) into just such a coffee pot and set it to boil. Preferably over an open fire under the stars. Gravity filter (let it stand a few minutes) and drink it black.
posted by three blind mice at 7:01 AM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's one receipe (pdf) and a quick translation:

"When you cook coffee you should use the same about of coffee as brewing. For six cups of coffee you need 1 liter of water and about 1,5 dl coarsely ground beans.

Boil the water, remove from heat, pour in the beans until a little volcano (with about 30 deg of angle) built on the surface. Place the pot back onto the heat until the water has almost swallowed the volcano. Prepare your mug by filing it with coffee and pouring it back into the pot THREE times. Put the lid on the pot and let stand a few minutes.

A proven concept from the Norrland forests handed down for three generations.

Good Luck."
posted by three blind mice at 7:11 AM on March 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

You can do a "reverse French press" with it if you want to experiment. A French press is just a large carafe that steeps coffee grounds, and then a plunger pushes all the grounds to the bottom of the pot. There's no reason you couldn't do the opposite - steep the coffee in your carafe and then pour the results through a strainer/filter. You would have to empty the whole pot in one go, though, or you're going to end up with mud at the end.

Cool Tools had an entry about it awhile ago.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:12 AM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your problem is that pot is not meant to be heated itself. You can't put it directly over a fire or even in the microwave.

The only non-drip method is going to be soaking ground coffee in hot water, either directly or in a tea ball. Neither will result in a drinkable cup of coffee. IMHO.

If you're interested in a cheap alternative to a drip brewer, you can go old-school and get a percolator. (This is the one my mom had before Mr. Coffee.)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:15 AM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you thought of an Aeropress? They're much faster than traditional pourover and they make GREAT coffee even if you use shitty no-name preground beans from the grocery store.

It makes an espresso-style cup, but I tend to make two cups' worth directly into my similar coffee pot and then add hot water to the pot to make a nice pot of Americanos.
posted by AmandaA at 7:24 AM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Got it!

Find an instant coffee you like, and make it in the pot!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:08 AM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

You could use something like a coffee sock to cold brew overnight, then remove the sock and warm gently in the morning.
posted by cabingirl at 9:15 AM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whoa! Cabingirl, that coffee sock thing is just what I had in mind.

Case closed, friends!
posted by BostonTerrier at 11:39 AM on March 14, 2014

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