Author Topic: Minimal coffee making  (Read 13793 times)

igthebold

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Minimal coffee making
« on: September 13, 2012, 06:54:59 AM »
Disclaimer: this is not important. I just like coffee, so I think about how I make it.

I recently worked at an excellent coffee shop in Raleigh. They make the best coffee I've had in the area. I was talking to the owner about my setup at home, and he was very much in the buy-the-right-tools camp. I'm in more of a minimalist camp.. I already feel I own too much.

So, I'm going through an optimization pass, trying to alter what I use without spending a lot or owning a lot. I'm curious what you guys think. Here's what I have:
  • Electric water kettle, which we use to pre-boil water for lots of things, not just hot beverages
  • Moka pot, which is clearly coffee-only
  • French press
  • Chop grinder
  • Basic kitchen equipment, like a pot, where I could steep coffee, a tea strainer, etc

I mostly make coffee for my family for breakfast. Right now I use the Moka pot, which seems to use less coffee compared to French Press for similar quality. 20-ish grams vs 40-ish grams for two adults and three kids (drinking "coffee milk").

Things I'm considering: get a hand-crank burr grinder, $35-ish. Other methods of making coffee, like: aeropress, Clever drip, maybe even pour-over.

I don't mind cleanup, so some of these new methods don't really have that advantage over French press or Moka pot.

And yes, I know I'm over-thinking this. But I know there are people out there who also over-think coffee. :)

igthebold

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2012, 06:59:21 AM »
Quick follow-up. I know what the minimal setup is: 1 qt pot, tea strainer, mortar and pestle. However, I know that'll use more coffee, and the grind won't be even. So I guess the constraints for my particular definition of minimal in this case are: minimize coffee use, maximize flavor.

PS - Tea is so much easier.. ;)

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2012, 07:01:45 AM »
Our setup: stovetop kettle, large french press (so we can make a good amount of coffee on demand when people come over), burr grinder

Great coffee every time, minimal tools. Admittedly, both the press & the grinder are dedicated coffee tools.

mustachecat

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2012, 07:05:41 AM »
We have an AeroPress, a kettle, and a electric grinder. We used to have a French press and a Moka pot, but I dropped the French press, and the body shattered. We also managed to break the Moka somehow... So the lesson here may be that if you are extremely clumsy, an AeroPress (which is a thick plastic) is the way to go. ;)

In the summer, we make cold brew by dumping a bunch of grounds into a small muslin bag and letting it sit overnight in a pitcher of cold water. That's pretty minimal. 

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2012, 07:07:56 AM »
In the summer, we make cold brew by dumping a bunch of grounds into a small muslin bag and letting it sit overnight in a pitcher of cold water. That's pretty minimal.

*slaps forehead* Yes, of course, we cold-brew using basically the same method. We pour the grinds into a bowl and water over the grinds, let it sit overnight, and strain through a cloth the next morning.

gecko10x

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2012, 07:33:20 AM »
We recently switched to an AeroPress, and we have a burr grinder. We use more coffee than before, but we downgraded the coffee we buy, so it's about the same cost as before.

Never tried the cold-brew! I will have to try that out sometime.

igthebold

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2012, 07:44:32 AM »
My coffee costs may actually break even, since I just started roasting my own beans in a skillet.. maybe I can go back to steeping coffee even though it uses more beans. I also want to minimize caffeine, but I can always make it half-caf.

elindbe2

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2012, 07:58:24 AM »
I use a stovetop kettle, french press and a kyocera hand-operated burr grinder.  Takes a bit of time to operate it but I really like how it functions.

gestalt162

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2012, 09:37:50 AM »
My setup is a 1 qt french press (unbreakable plexiglass, very important as I have broken 2 glass press pots thus far), a standard 1 qt saucepan when boiling > 1 cup water (for individual cups i use the microwave to boil), and an electric Black and Decker Burr grinder (which isn't consistent, poorly designedm and has been breaking recently, so I'm getting a hand-powered). I also have a travel press mug from planetary design that allows me to grind my own coffee at home, take it to work, and make coffee at work.

I mostly buy my beans from a local roaster. 1/2 lb runs about $4.50, which lasts me 2 week at 1 cup/day (2 on Sundays). I store it in gladware containers, and keep all but a week's worth in the freezer. Maybe not the world's greatest coffee, but certainly good enough for my taste, and everyone else I know.

Mr. Everyday Dollar

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2012, 11:36:04 AM »
1 Moka pot. That's it!

High quality locally roasted beans that run $9.50/lb. I use the grocery stores grinder set to Coarse so I don't have to deal with grinding beans at home.

I used to roast my own green coffee beans at home in an air popper and also grind beans right before brewing but I have discarded those habits and kitchen appliances.

In the summertime I do soak 1 cup of ground coffee in 4 cups of water overnight in order to make cold brewed iced coffee. So delicious!

tooqk4u22

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2012, 02:16:32 PM »
In the summertime I do soak 1 cup of ground coffee in 4 cups of water overnight in order to make cold brewed iced coffee. So delicious!

That sounds high octane - is that because you need to compensate for ice or are drinking that straight out of the fridge. 


My grandfather uses only distilled water for coffee so you get no other contaminants and such to impact the flavor - he only does this for coffee though and drinks water from that tap.

igthebold

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2012, 02:31:25 PM »
My grandfather uses only distilled water for coffee so you get no other contaminants and such to impact the flavor - he only does this for coffee though and drinks water from that tap.

We use filtered water for the same reason, especially for tea. Just went back to straight tap water for drinking, since I found out my filter was filtering out the fluoridation. Guess how I found that out? :P

CG

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2012, 04:35:45 AM »
Fairly finely ground coffee put into a warmed earthenware jug, boiling water poured in to fill the jug to near capacity, and then stirred once or twice (vertically) with a wooden spoon in a firm clockwise direction. Then let it stand just a little longer before pouring. 

Physics

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 07:00:42 AM »
I go with a Burr Grinder, Electric Water Boiler, French Press (all metal) and Handmade Mug made by my brother in law in a wood-fired kiln.

I had all of the same equipment for the past 5+ years, carefully cared for, and it has served me well, I love my coffee.

jbhernandez

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2012, 10:56:39 AM »
My grandfather uses only distilled water for coffee so you get no other contaminants and such to impact the flavor - he only does this for coffee though and drinks water from that tap.

We use filtered water for the same reason, especially for tea. Just went back to straight tap water for drinking, since I found out my filter was filtering out the fluoridation. Guess how I found that out? :P

Don't get my started on fluoride.  There is some controversy whether or not  fluoride helps us more than hinder us.

igthebold

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2012, 11:51:36 AM »
Don't get my started on fluoride.  There is some controversy whether or not  fluoride helps us more than hinder us.

OK, I won't.

jbhernandez

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2012, 12:05:53 PM »
Don't get my started on fluoride.  There is some controversy whether or not  fluoride helps us more than hinder us.

OK, I won't.

lol. My wife's a dental hygienist, and while in college I helped her do a paper on it . :-)

Here's some info on the debate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_fluoridation_controversy

kisserofsinners

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2012, 01:40:03 PM »
To me the "cheapest" is cold brew. No hot water, no real gear, just a pitcher and a strainer.. Your grinder would be useful.

Put grinds in water in pitcher in the fridge overnight and strain in the morning, makes a super smooth brew with low acid. The water steeping really uses a lot of electricity to get water hot enough.

This also tends to mean i spend less time preparing the coffee as one brew last several days.

velocistar237

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2012, 01:46:39 PM »
We used to have a French press and a Moka pot, but I dropped the French press, and the body shattered.

We went through two Bodum glass French presses and one Lexan before we finally got a steel one. I don't see this one breaking any time soon.

Atlas

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2012, 10:06:41 AM »
+1 on the AeroPress. I just recently found out about this and had one delivered yesterday. I made my first cup this morning and it was great!

The main thing I love about it is the size and simplicity. Hopefully I can convince the wife to get ride of the giant coffee maker we have to clear up some kitchen counter space.

mustachecat

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2012, 06:38:01 AM »
For the cold brew, yes, you can make a concentrate and then dilute it down to your personal taste preference. That's another big plus since, for instance, my fiance likes his coffee STRONG, and while I like mine gentler.

Another thought: I guess the coffee in my office is the most minimal for me personally because I don't have to make it! However, it's truly terrible. I'm not sure if it's cheap beans, cheap beans stored poorly, a bad coffee maker, or the fact that it only gets fully cleaned every few months, but the stuff that drips out is toxic.

igthebold

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2012, 06:44:28 AM »
Another thought: I guess the coffee in my office is the most minimal for me personally because I don't have to make it! However, it's truly terrible. I'm not sure if it's cheap beans, cheap beans stored poorly, a bad coffee maker, or the fact that it only gets fully cleaned every few months,

All of the above, except replace "beans" with "grounds." :)

but the stuff that drips out is toxic.

and caffeinated. However, I'm more interested in the flavor and the process of making, so "go get an office job," won't work for me. ;)

In any event, I've found that calling it, "caffeinated brown terrible drink," helps me forget that it's trying to be coffee and enjoy it along with the powdered creamer and pink sugar it usually comes with.

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2012, 02:38:19 PM »
Does anybody buy organic fair trade coffee? 

mustachecat

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2012, 08:01:42 PM »
In any event, I've found that calling it, "caffeinated brown terrible drink," helps me forget that it's trying to be coffee and enjoy it along with the powdered creamer and pink sugar it usually comes with.

HA, that's great!

I'm thinking about just taking the calorie hit and bringing in a can of sweetened condensed milk to work. That stuff would make mud tasty.

happy

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2012, 02:05:19 AM »
Why drink poison? Just stop.

velocistar237

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2012, 03:46:00 AM »
Why drink poison? Just stop.

Why so unhappy? The benefits of moderate coffee consumption appear to outweigh the risks. Besides that, it's an enjoyable part of my morning.

happy

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2012, 06:06:22 AM »
I'm not against drinking coffee at all: I've spent a large part of my life enjoying good quality coffee,  and although I've now voluntarily ceased I am not trying to convert anyone.  My comment was  referring to those trying to endure the poor quality free coffee at work.  Tarry toxic sludge type coffee should not be consumed by humans!

mustachecat

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2012, 08:47:38 AM »
We were doing this thing called "exaggerating for comic effect." I suspect you were, too. ;)

happy

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2012, 05:28:02 PM »
Exaggerating? Who me? I was deadly serious ...(regresses into teenage sarcasm)

igthebold

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2012, 06:35:38 PM »
I'm thinking about just taking the calorie hit and bringing in a can of sweetened condensed milk to work. That stuff would make mud tasty.

Plus, it comes in a can, so it's mustachian, right? Hm... yes.

jbhernandez

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #30 on: October 01, 2012, 05:20:17 AM »
Why drink poison? Just stop.

Why so unhappy? The benefits of moderate coffee consumption appear to outweigh the risks. Besides that, it's an enjoyable part of my morning.

I believe I found this guy through a link on this site somewhere on the benefits of coffee.
http://www.bulletproofexec.com/coffee-5-reasons-you-can-perform-better-10-ways-to-live-longer/

ShanghaiStashing

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #31 on: October 01, 2012, 10:13:12 PM »
Turkish ground coffee and a small, reusable one-cup filter. Boil water, pour in, repeat until cup is full.

Get the store to grind them.

JJ

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #32 on: October 01, 2012, 10:32:17 PM »
I take the maximalist approach on coffee making I'm afraid.  It's my one major vice.

Vibiemme Domobar Junior HX (Heat exchanger, E61 group head).
Anfim grinder.

I think we managed to justify it if we took a 20 year timeframe and compared with buying one coffee a day at a cafe :).  Got a good price as it was a returned, unwanted item.  Looked for second hand, but the price difference was so small it wasn't worth it.

Oh man, it makes seriously great espresso coffee.  I get way more enjoyment out of it than my car, which is just as well as they are worth about the same. 

Hey, I was FI a year or so before we bought it so back off...

igthebold

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2012, 07:17:39 AM »
I take the maximalist approach on coffee making I'm afraid.  It's my one major vice.

I agree that it's not what I was asking for, but that's not a problem at all! Besides, if you were truly maximalist, you'd also have 3 different ways of doing pourover, an Aeropress, a French press, a percolator (ha ha), a Clever drip setup, a drip coffee machine, a Dutch iced coffee setup, a Moka Pot, etc. If all you make is espresso drinks, it sounds like a high-quality, fairly minimal setup.

Hey, I was FI a year or so before we bought it so back off...

I think around here that means you can do anything with impunity.

(edited: minor redundant word)
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 07:48:07 AM by igthebold »

JJ

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Re: Minimal coffee making
« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2012, 07:30:58 AM »
Quote
I agree that it's not what I was asking for, but that's not a problem at all! Besides, if you were truly maximalist, you'd also have 3 different ways of doing pourover, an Aeropress, a French press, a percolator (ha ha), a Clever drip setup, a drip coffee machine, a Dutch iced coffee setup, a Moka Pot, etc.

Ha! Good point.  Now that I think about it we do have a couple of french presses and a stove top espresso maker.  I have also been hankering after an Aeropress for when I'm on the road.  The Japanese thermo-siphons look kinda fun too, but don't get me excited enough to buy one.

My mum has a minimalist set up - pour hot water on preground coffee in the cup, give it a good stir, let it settle.  Most of the grounds go to the bottom.  Any which are floating you can filter out with your teeth!  Same deal in Indonesia, except they grind it super fine there so you get a sludge at the bottom of the cup.