Author Topic: "Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?  (Read 2614 times)

Syonyk

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"Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?
« on: December 25, 2016, 07:33:11 PM »
I have some spare Christmas cash/gift cards, and I'm thinking that a good New Year's Resolution is to eliminate my energy drink habit (which, uh, could use eliminating).

I don't have a coffee setup so far, and I'm the only one who drinks coffee.  Further, I'll be mostly preparing coffee in my office, which is a standalone structure with no hot water but what I bring.

So: I know the following.  I need a way to make hot water, a way to grind coffee, and a way to turn ground coffee beans into coffee with hot water.

I'm tending towards the Aeropress, because I know people who really like it, and I don't need a drip coffee maker.

As far as heating water goes, I'd like to stay under 1500W, because my power system won't handle much beyond that (and I can't go with a 240V kettle as I have no 240V power out there).

Suggestions?  I need pretty much everything.  I don't mind spending a bit of money, but I don't want to spend money I don't need to spend.

Thanks!

csprof

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Re: "Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2016, 09:16:32 PM »
I have some spare Christmas cash/gift cards, and I'm thinking that a good New Year's Resolution is to eliminate my energy drink habit (which, uh, could use eliminating).

I don't have a coffee setup so far, and I'm the only one who drinks coffee.  Further, I'll be mostly preparing coffee in my office, which is a standalone structure with no hot water but what I bring.

So: I know the following.  I need a way to make hot water, a way to grind coffee, and a way to turn ground coffee beans into coffee with hot water.

I'm tending towards the Aeropress, because I know people who really like it, and I don't need a drip coffee maker.

As far as heating water goes, I'd like to stay under 1500W, because my power system won't handle much beyond that (and I can't go with a 240V kettle as I have no 240V power out there).

Suggestions?  I need pretty much everything.  I don't mind spending a bit of money, but I don't want to spend money I don't need to spend.

Thanks!

I use and love the Aeropress, and would recommend it to anyone.  I have one at home and an old one at work for when the work espresso machine goes out. :)  Super easy to use, easy to clean, and produces good coffee, consistently.  If you have good beans, of course, and do use a timer to get the timing in the right range.

For hot water:  I just heat water in my mug in a microwave.  About 90 seconds is all it takes to boil the very small amount needed for an aeropress.  We have some basic blah blah hot water kettle at home.  (Ok, specifically, we have a Hamilton Beach hot water kettle, and I'd advise staying as far away from it as possible.  It's a horrible design with the way it vents steam).  But our old hot water kettle was great.  Works well with aeropress.  At work, I just use the h/w tap on an existing coffee machine.

But if you also drink tea or other hot beverages and your office doesn't have a kettle of some sort, I'd absolutely go that route.  Hot water is very nice to have around, and the kettles are cheap and last a long time.  Since my current one stinks, I'll leave it to someone else to recommend.

For grinding - I've been using a Cozyna manual grinder for the last year and a half  (affiliate link, sorry, easiest to grab:  http://amzn.to/2hYaTms ).  It's worked pretty well, but I finally broke the rivet in the handle after very sustained use.  I'm still using it without the little twisty plastic bit, but need to find the right sized bolt for it soon.  It takes about 90 seconds to grind one "dose", which matches up pretty well with the microwave time.  But I do own and prefer a nice electric grinder that's not at all mustachian, once I'm back in my real house.  Grinder was a Baratza Preciso, but the lower-end Baratzas are great.  Also very overkill, but they'll last a long time.  (This was a "neat, I made a big chunk of unexpected cash" pat-on-the-back gift to myself.)

A note with the aeropress:  It comes with little circular coffee filters that custom-fit the end of the press.  I reuse mine ~5+ times and haven't noticed any bad taste effects from doing so.  The ones it comes with should last you approximately forever that way.

Rubic

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Re: "Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2016, 02:52:37 PM »
The Aeropress has received great reviews.  My preferred setup for the ease
of use and cleanup:


I've used this setup with good results for the past few years.  My preference is to
grind/brew one cup of coffee at a time.


Syonyk

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Re: "Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2016, 02:59:10 PM »
Thanks, that's all quite useful!

I think I want a kettle that can hold a few cups of water, partly for helping humidify my office, partly because I do like having a cup of something or other to drink at any given point in time.

It's interesting that both of you use manual grinders - any particular reasons?  I'm likely to go that way as well, but just curious as to if there were any specific reasons for it, or if they were just cheaper/more reliable.

csprof

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Re: "Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2016, 05:28:03 PM »
Thanks, that's all quite useful!

I think I want a kettle that can hold a few cups of water, partly for helping humidify my office, partly because I do like having a cup of something or other to drink at any given point in time.

It's interesting that both of you use manual grinders - any particular reasons?  I'm likely to go that way as well, but just curious as to if there were any specific reasons for it, or if they were just cheaper/more reliable.

I used the Hario before the Cozyna and prefer the Cozyna.  Might be personal preference, but it seems to grind faster and hold its settings a bit better.  But I've also seen the Hario highly recommended, and I'm not dissatisfied with it.

Why manual:  I found that a manual burr grinder produced better results than a cheap whirly-grinder.  (More consistent grind, and actually somewhat less hassle from a cleaning and getting the grounds into the aeropress perspective).  Both the hario and cozyna's grounds-catching tube can fit directly into the aeropress, so there's no mess.  I repurposed my whirly into a dedicated spice grinder and haven't looked back. :)

I initially went manual+aeropress because I wasn't sure I wanted to have a home coffee habit.  I was eliminating a weekend starbucks habit, and an aeropress+manual was the cheapest way to test the waters.  The Aeropress was fairly new at the time.

But I've stuck with the manual for cost and size reasons:  I relocated to California for a year and didn't want to ship a lot of stuff -- and we had a very small kitchen there.  When we moved back, we lived in a small apartment for the last 4 months, and didn't really have counter space for a big grinder, either.  I sometimes take the aeropress+grinder on trips as a travel coffee solution -- in fact, I have it with me right now in Utah.

But the manual grinders are slow.  As I said - I do prefer a *good* electric burr grinder, but they're expensive and large.  I'm looking forward to being back home and having mine, with counter space for it.  I used the Hario for a year or two before I bought the electric, though, and didn't mind it much.   I did sometimes try hooking it up to a cordless drill to make it go faster, though. :)  (Which worked, but it can't have been good for the grinder.)

Rubic

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Re: "Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2016, 06:29:33 PM »
I've never tried the Cozyna grinder, but I'd trust csprof's judgement on the matter.

My reasons for preferring a manual grinder:
  • Cheaper.
  • Easier to travel with.
  • I can brew coffee with a non-electric stove even when the power is out. 
    (See MMM's post when he unsuccessfully tried to grind beans with a hammer during a power outage.)
In truth, I also like the tactile feel of a manual grinder.  I get a physical connection with
my beans based on the feedback from manually grinding them -- I don't mean in a
"New Age" crystals & magnets sense, but in assessing the freshness of the beans. Older
beans feel different than freshly roasted beans.  Or I may simply be attracted to the
modest manual labor involved.

Brewing: For home/office use I prefer the Clever Coffee Dripper for reasons stated
above.  When I switch to a more nomadic lifestyle, I may consider the Aeropress.

Coffee. Can we ever exhaust this subject?


aneel

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Re: "Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2016, 10:14:14 PM »
Do you have access to a fridge? I strongly suggest cold brewing coffee which will not require hot water And nets you a coffee concentrate which lasts ~2 weeks in the fridge.

Syonyk

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Re: "Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2016, 11:19:21 PM »
Not in my office


SnackDog

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Re: "Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2016, 05:22:31 AM »
Nespresso works well, especially if you have access to free capsules to feed. 

Another option is to get off the coffee altogether. I've done it a couple times and it works great until you have a sleepless night and are dead at work. Tea helps with the transition.

protostache

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Re: "Standalone Coffee Setup" - What would you use?
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2016, 11:01:50 AM »
Another option is to get off the coffee altogether. I've done it a couple times and it works great until you have a sleepless night and are dead at work. Tea helps with the transition.

I started cutting back when my wife was about six months pregnant such that when the little one arrived caffeine would be maximally effective again. This worked pretty well, except that my sleep schedule was so messed up I found that when I did drink coffee I couldn't sleep when I had the opportunity.

Now that the baby is about six months old I find I don't really miss coffee. It always gave me heartburn anyway. Now when I need a fix I drink a cup of tea. Most mornings I have decaf tea which, honestly, is sort of an crutch at this point.