...And Then I Ran Screaming From All My Coffee Toys
January 3, 2017 5:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm burning out on making coffee at home. Too much fuss. Too much mess. Too much money. It's become way too cluttered and way too annoying. I don't wanna be my own imitation barista. I just want coffee. I've reached my limit with all the measuring, weighing, preheating, prewetting, timing folderol.

More precisely, I want to brew 28-32 ounces of coffee at a time, drink half of it immediately while keeping the remainder hot for 20-30 minutes. Without resort to a thermos. Dead simple cleanup.

Pretty sure I've tried every device and method other than an espresso machine, and that won't happen. Overwhelmingly, IMO, the bean and the grind are the controlling factors.

Here's the goal: Do nothing. Then, push a button and coffee happens. How close can you get me?
posted by justcorbly to Food & Drink (45 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I make drip coffee using preground beans in a maker that has a 1-hour automatic shut-off on the hot plate.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 5:31 AM on January 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

Why not consider a superautomatic? Look for (gently) used ones. They can make all sorts of coffee drinks at the push of a button.
posted by mbarryf at 5:39 AM on January 3, 2017

You've just described nearly every coffee pot on the market. They all have a hot plate to keep the coffee warm. If you'd rather get one with double-walled thermal carafe instead of using the hot plate, you can do that. If you want one that you can fill with coffee grounds the night before and program, you can do that. Or you can go very basic. Up to you!
posted by impishoptimist at 5:39 AM on January 3, 2017 [9 favorites]

I'm not sure why you don't want a thermos. In case that's negotiable: we use a drip coffee machine that makes the coffee directly into a thermos. Put paper filter in, put coffee in, put water in, push button. Coffee stays hot for a long time and does not go bitter because there is no hot plate.
I would recommend that system because it's very simple. Once you know how many scoops of coffee for how much water, you're all set.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:44 AM on January 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Philips makes a Grind and Brew

edit: that's in the UK....er...Amazon has loads of other brands.... for example: Cuisinart
posted by Spumante at 5:44 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is what I use. The Technivorm Moccamaster Drip with Carafe. It will brew at the right water temperature consistently and keeps your coffee warm in a carafe. It's easy and delivers an excellent brew.
posted by vivzan at 5:54 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'll second Too-Ticky. That's the setup we have at home and the coffee can stay hot for an hour or two and stay fairly warm for a lot longer than that.
posted by mmascolino at 5:58 AM on January 3, 2017

Response by poster: I should add I have two expensive drip machines that get "hot enough" and brew directly into a thermos. My experience with these kind of machines in the past is that eventually they become "not hot enough".

The Technivorm costs too much. Also too tall for my counter.
posted by justcorbly at 6:00 AM on January 3, 2017

Technical note: I gave my wife a Cuisinart Grind'n'Brew for Christmas. It's a 10-cup model with thermal carafe. So far it works fine but....

* When fresh brewed, the coffee is not as hot as with our former Cuisinart with a glass carafe sitting on a hot plate. The thermal carfe sits on a "resting plate" that does not get hot. The thermal carafe does a pretty good job of keeping the coffee from cooling.

* The instructions call for the grinding mechanism to be cleaned after every use (which can be when washing the dinner dishes), so there is an increase of daily effort over the previous device. There is a filter to be dealt with too.

* I think that one important step to you goal is to abandon all the hocus pocus that may make a slightly better cup of coffee, and get used to the slightly less elite beverage that 98% of everybody enjoys.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:03 AM on January 3, 2017 [12 favorites]

Electric kettle + French press + thermal carafe.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:05 AM on January 3, 2017 [14 favorites]

CoffeeI love this Cuisinart because it has a burr grinder, a decent bean hopper (not so large that the beans go stale), a thermal carafe, no need for a separate coffee filter, allows interruption, and is dead simple. I have a container the right size, which I fill with water and dump in the reservoir. Push the button, wait about 6-7 minutes and delicious goodness ensues.
posted by carmicha at 6:06 AM on January 3, 2017

The only issues with the Cuisinart burr grinder-blessed automatic machine I linked above: it requires water filters, which need to be changed periodically, and it doesn't quite fit under my cabinets without a lot of wrangling, so it lives in a suboptimal location.
posted by carmicha at 6:11 AM on January 3, 2017

I have this Melitta. I prefer it to the CuisinArt thermal carafe model I had before. I don't know if it gets "hot enough" for you but I use this and my french press about equally and while the french press coffee is a little stronger. You will need a separate grinder, obviously.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:11 AM on January 3, 2017

Response by poster: A large-enough French press that *is* a thermos comes closer than anything, soren_lorensen.
posted by justcorbly at 6:13 AM on January 3, 2017

One thing you can do is start buying pre-ground coffee. It's the grinding step that creates the most mess and hassle. I did this a few years ago and honestly, it's changed my life for the better. The difference in flavor is negligible. If you're opposed to this you can also grind whole beans in almost any grocery store before you buy the coffee - if you're brewing a pot a day it'll be gone within a week, which is not enough time to notice much difference in freshness. Especially if you keep it in the freezer.
posted by something something at 6:16 AM on January 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

I have the Cuisinart Grind and Brew that carmicha linked to and I LOVE it. Pour in water, press the button, and coffee gets ground and brewed. Clean up is just a matter of dumping out the old grounds and giving it a rinse. Unlike the old model, the grinder doesn't need to be cleaned every time, just occasionally brushed out.
posted by bondcliff at 6:17 AM on January 3, 2017

Buy a $20 Mr. Coffee machine (they are quite reliable and keep coffee hot for about an hour). As something something said, switch to pre-ground coffee -- if you get a decent kind then it really is just as good. Bonus points: get into the habit of getting everything ready the evening before (which takes like 45 seconds) so you can press the go button when you wake up.

Give this system a try for a few weeks and I bet you will like it. And if not, you are only out $20.
posted by ethorson at 6:51 AM on January 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

A large-enough French press that *is* a thermos comes closer than anything, soren_lorensen

Like thus?
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:54 AM on January 3, 2017

Seconding something something about getting your beans ground elsewhere. I buy a half pound or a pound at a time of coffee that I love, at a good coffee shop that roasts its own beans, and they grind it for me when I buy it. Less mess, less kitchen counter real estate, no discernible difference in taste, and--the big difference from the Cuisinart system--less whiny/grindy noise in the morning before I've had my coffee. I used to have a Cuisinart, and the grinding sound that woke me or other sleepers in the house, even with the promise of coffee soon after, was a dealbreaker for me.

My coffee brewing needs are just about the same as yours and I have been *very* happy with the Bonavita 8-cup drip machine (with the beans already ground, as above). One button to push, excellent coffee that stays hot for an hour, dead easy to fill & clean up. The glass carafe model keeps it hot longer, but it's easier to break & I've had no trouble with the plain steel one. It's pricey for a drip machine but it's the best one I've ever had, & less fussy/wobbly/clog-prone than Mr. Coffees. (Two years with it & so far so good.)
posted by miles per flower at 7:03 AM on January 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

Seconding the recommendation for pre-ground coffee and a boring ol' "Mr. Coffee" machine. I chuck a filter, grounds, and water into it, push "On", and by the time I've made my breakfast and the dog's breakfast, I have coffee. 20 minutes after that, I have the still-hot second cup of coffee that's been waiting for me in the carafe.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:13 AM on January 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

A large-enough French press that *is* a thermos comes closer than anything

Here's a highly-rated one: SterlingPro Double Wall Stainless Steel French Coffee Press, 1 Liter. You could also buy a programmable electric tea kettle so the water will be ready when you wake up.

Overwhelmingly, IMO, the bean and the grind are the controlling factors.

I understand being wary of buying pre-ground coffee from the supermarket, but could you go to your favorite roaster and have them grind a pound of beans for you? That should stay fresh enough, but you could buy less.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:14 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

You could get a regular French press and use a tea cosy on the carafe. Turns out I'm not ahead of the curve, coffee cosies for French press carafes exist.
posted by fraula at 7:29 AM on January 3, 2017

Either a Mr Coffee style coffee pot or a Cruisinart Grind & Brew.
posted by wwax at 7:34 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another Bonavita lover here. Pre-ground coffee and a filter means minimal mess, carafe instead of hot plate means coffee doesn't turn to sludge. Need it already made when you have to get up for a 4AM airport run? Plug it into a timer.
posted by pernoctalian at 8:24 AM on January 3, 2017

High quality instant coffee, electric kettle, and a thermos.
posted by theraflu at 8:30 AM on January 3, 2017

The best french press-like device I've ever owned (and I've owned a few) is the Espro stainless. Their magic is they have a better filter system that lets far less grit back into your coffee. I think the filter is also easier to clean, but perhaps that's just me. It's still a french press.

We've had the thing on the table for hours and the coffee is still pleasantly warm enough to drink. If that's too much, they do make glass version too though. They're functionally the same as a french press, but work better. It's great for dinner parties.

But day to day, our Technivorn is the thing that gets all the use. Perfect coffee in five minutes and the carafe keeps it warm for about 3 hours.
posted by bonehead at 8:37 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I make drip coffee using preground beans in a maker that has a 1-hour automatic shut-off on the hot plate.

*wilhelm scream*

My SiL gave me a kettle and a pour-over dripper thing for Christmas. I already had a LOT of ways to make coffee, and had deliberately resisted going down this rabbit hole -- so I feel you, friend.

Perhaps shifting the labor to when you have more capacity would help. Have you considered making cold-press coffee in your French press pot each night, and cutting it 1:1 the next day before heating it? I do that when I know I will be Mister Slow Brain on a given day, and it is a big help.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:59 AM on January 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a double-walled stainless steel carafe french press much like the ones linked to above, sitting next to a burr grinder and a bag of beans, sitting next to a giant bin of Folger's ground coffee. I also have a tea kettle - but we have a filtered hot water tap that gets the water more than hot enough for coffee, so generally I just use that.

Depending on my interest in fuss and whether anybody in the house is asleep, I'll use either the grinder or the Folger's. My love for the grinder and the beans is mainly a love for the rituals of coffee; in practice, the Folger's totally gets the job done, and is cheaper and easier.

The french press keeps coffee hot for at least an hour, and is dead simple to use. I let the coffee steep while I feed the cats.
posted by invincible summer at 9:02 AM on January 3, 2017

Response by poster: I've discovered an unopened new Thermos of the right size in the back of the cupboard. So, I think, for now, I'll buy an ordinary 34-oz Bodum and pour the second mug into the Thermos.(Downside, of course, is the disassembly and cleaning of the press after every use.) I'll continue to grind the beans, alternating with buying pre-ground Starbucks or such at the grocery. Buying beans at a local roaster is an option, but it's much less convenient

I'll second the Bonvita recommendations. I found the thermos jug kept coffee hot for about 30 minutes. It did heat the water to 200F during the brewing process. I'm using past tense, here, though, because after more than a year's use, that temperature began to drop.

No one's recommended an AeroPress?
posted by justcorbly at 9:21 AM on January 3, 2017

Another vote for the double-walled stainless french press. What you say is your goal, is exactly my coffee parameters, in terms of volume and time.

I just replaced my grinder since my previous one broke. I ended up with a Capresso Infinity burr grinder and it is awesome, both in the quality of the product (turns out the uniform size of grounds does make a big difference) and the ease of use. Here is how I make coffee in the morning.

1. Water in kettle, kettle on heat
2. Turn dial on grinder to 10 and walk away. (It then runs by itself and produces the right amount of grounds.)
3. When water is boiling, put grounds and water into press.
4. Stir, plunge, serve.

Coffee stays hot for at least a couple of hours. Clean up is: dump grounds down sink, run disposal as I rinse coffeemaker parts.
posted by Sublimity at 9:22 AM on January 3, 2017

No one's recommended an AeroPress?

It can make good coffee, but, in my experience, it's going the opposite way from what you want in terms of not being fiddly and demanding your attention.
posted by bonehead at 9:26 AM on January 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

I find Aeropresses to be the least fiddly, because if you brew properly, all the grounds come out in one puck, with no fiddling. Other than that, I'd recommend Nespresso capsules for quality and efficiency. Obviously it means using a machine, but they're very low in waste, there's lots of choice of capsules and the machines can be cheap.
posted by ambrosen at 9:53 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a Keurig that my sister gave me for Christmas several years ago. I have a reusable filter into which I put coffee that I've ground every couple of days in small batches and keep stored in an airtight Friis canister. It takes about 1 minute total to make one cup of coffee (including rinsing out the filter from the last cup I made).

I like good coffee, but I am not a coffee snob. This has gotten absolutely ridiculous.
posted by tully_monster at 10:55 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, but to make the OP's requested 28-32 ounces at a go would either require multiple batches through the Aeropress, or drinking Americanos, right?

(When I use my Aeropress, I brew a full batch into a giant stoneware mug and cut it with a little extra hot water. It's enough for most of the morning ablutions and drive to work.)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:13 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

We use french press + a carafe and just buy the beans pre-ground or go to a place that will grind them for us. Grinding is what seems like too much hassle to me for little change in flavor.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:59 AM on January 3, 2017

I have the Cuisinart grind and brew with the burr grinder that carmicha recommended, and I love it. I buy espresso roast beans, and have for years. This thing makes great coffee, I throw the brewing gear in the dishwasher every day. I don't change the water filters. I clean the grinder every third day, it takes only a few minutes. I also wipe down the hopper since espresso beans are oily, but overall this coffee pot is the best. Mine is about five years old and going strong.
posted by chocolatetiara at 12:52 PM on January 3, 2017

French Press is dead simple and should give you a welcome break from your coffee stresses.

If you ever get the urge to get that Bonavita running up to temp again, it probably just needs to be descaled -- nothing complicated, just the same care and attention you'd give to a regular kettle. A packet of this stuff should do you just fine.

Would it also help if I gave you permission to use any equipment you like, fancy or not, and skip all the weighing and timing and temping? Just eyeball it, it'll still taste fine. Sometimes it all gets to be too precious and you just gotta drink your box wine out of an empty peanut butter jar for a while, you know?
posted by ourobouros at 1:00 PM on January 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

I was a budding coffee nerd, Aeropressing like a villain, and kinda had the same epiphany.

I got the Ninja Coffee Bar, with a thermal carafe, and it's really a good device. You fill the reservoir with water and can brew either a single cup, a half, or a whole pot. You can choose regular strength or a 'rich' brew which uses a little less water OR you can brew a condensed stronger 'shot' for a fake espresso, and they give you this little glass pumper thingy that looks like a french press but actually makes the best foam we have ever made at home, far easier than using steam.

plus it's got a clock so will have it ready when I wake up.
posted by exparrot at 1:20 PM on January 3, 2017

I love the aeropress because it's fast to use, makes great-tasting coffee, and takes like 5 seconds to clean, BUT it only makes 8 oz of coffee at a time. Even though each use is very easy, I have to use it four times a day to get enough coffee, which is really annoying and time consuming. It sounds like you would have the same problem so I would recommend a french press instead.

(I really wish Aeropress would make a mega-model that can make a larger volume of coffee. I want the volume of a french press with the easy cleanup and grit-free coffee of an aeropress).
posted by insoluble uncertainty at 1:29 PM on January 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm going to be a bit frustrating and suggest something you specifically didn't ask for.

Get a chemex.

Seriously, get a chemex. You don't need to go full pourover insane. Throw away your scale. Don't worry about prewetting. Don't worry about preheating or timing. Some people enjoy coffee nerdery but it's not that important. You put a filter and some beans in there. You pour water in, you wait a few seconds and do it again. Then throw the the filter out and you have pretty damn good coffee. Cleanup involves swishing some water in the thing and letting it dry. It's all you need, unless it gets too cold for you in which case you can get a cozy for it.

It's a tiny bit more work than a mr coffee like machine, but it's a lot less gadgetry and when it stops working you will know why (you dropped it and it shattered all over the floor).
posted by aspo at 1:38 PM on January 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

I want the volume of a french press with the easy cleanup and grit-free coffee of an aeropress

This is what the Espro does, the thing I linked to earlier. It makes grit-free press coffee.
posted by bonehead at 1:41 PM on January 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had a Cuisinart Grind and Brew with the insulated carafe and keeping the grinding part clean was a major hassle. The carage eventually stopped keeping the coffee hot also. I eventually ditched it.

I do prefer to still grind whole bean right before I brew.

My current setup is:
Cuisinart drip machine WITHOUT the insulated carafe (not brand loyal).
Handheld Krups grinder (yes, I know. Not a burr grinder but I've never been willing to pony up for that level of grinder)
Plain paper filters

I fill the water reservoir the night before. The Krups grinder has zero cleanup so the only post-coffee cleanup is tossing the filter with spent beans and rinse out the glass carafe.
posted by LoveHam at 1:49 PM on January 3, 2017

An insulating layer jacket inside an artisan knitted french press cozy.
posted by hortense at 3:56 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another vote for the Bonavita, I love mine. I've had it for over 2 years, it still gets very hot (although I haven't measured it).
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:43 PM on January 3, 2017

Don't know if this will help you, but at the weekend I make a few big moka pots using pre-ground illy espresso coffee, and instantly freeze it in silicone ice cube (or cupcake) trays. Then during the week pop one of the blocks in a cup in the microwave (with some milk or extra water if espresso is too strong), set for two minutes on high and I have great coffee with no hassle.
posted by guy72277 at 8:17 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

« Older What do I need to know before buying a first home?   |   Where to rent a NYC-area studio/1BR for $1500 or... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.