I know there are about 10000 articles about how to make the perfect cup of coffee. Justin is not as intense as many internet coffee opinion-havers, but don’t worry he has still thought a lot about how to make good coffee at home, with tradeoffs for effort, ease of cleaning, and cost.

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(our old coffee setup)

Probably the one thing that makes the most impact on the quality of your home coffee is grinding the beans right before you brew the coffee. We made perfectly great coffee for years with a cheap blade grinder and then upgraded to a nicer burr grinder when it died. Justin got some kind of a deal on that, I’m pretty sure. But the difference between the blade and the burr grinder is incremental. The difference between grinding your own and buying pre-ground coffee is significant.

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(our current coffee setup. the plastic carafe is to transfer filtered water from the sink)

I’m about to get controversial here: I don’t like french press coffee. I find it too oily. We actually had a regular, classic drip coffee maker that worked great for a long time, but recently got this bodum “automatic pour over” machine which is, let’s be honest, a fancy drip coffee maker. It does a good job though and it’s easy to clean and looks nice on the counter. If you really wanted to go low-investment, a simple pour-over funnel would work too, but we want to make a whole pot and pouring over by hand requires a bit more time and attention.

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(print pictures of your baby on a mug and make your own recursive photos!)

Where to get the best beans? We’re still experimenting on that. Trader Joes has been pretty good for this, we’ve also been satisfied with Meijer brand and Papa Nicholas. Aldi carries some single source beans that have been hit and miss with us.

One more tip: we use the creamer from the fiesta sugar/cream set for sugar, because the spout makes a nice place to leave your spoon handle outside the lid. Plus we aren’t fancy enough to put our cream in an intermediary container between the carton and the cup.

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4 thoughts on “Justin’s opinions about brewing coffee

  1. +1 Do not care for French press. I mean, I’ll drink it if there’s not other option, but it’s not my first choice. I’ve been ordering Kicking Horse coffee via amazon subscribe and save for a little over a year now, and I like it a lot. Previously, I had been on the TJ’s Bay Blend bandwagon, and the Kicking Horse Kick Ass dark roast is similar in flavor, and slightly better.

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  2. Justin! I have been down this same path myself: you have to try roasting your own beans. Your wife is right: grinding right before being is a substantial difference, and roasting your own is the next big step. It’s easy, no special equipment required (cast iron skillet), DELICIOUS, and super cheap! ($3.00 – $6.00 per pound, depending) I order from Burman Coffee Traders in Wisconsin. Good guys.

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  3. For what it’s worth, if you drink 3 – 4 cups a day, the most important parts of home brewed coffee are 1. the beans, 2. the coffeemaker (and its cleaning), and 3. the countertop footprint your machines inhabit.

    Two points I find fascinating are the claims for grinding beans just before making coffee, and claims for and against French press makers. If you drink a LOT of coffee, it’s a colossal waste of time to grind beans every day, and then clean the grinder. Sure, there’s a nice smell in the kitchen, but if you start with good beans, you can grind them at your point of purchase and reseal the container you use afterwards. Maybe there’s a difference in quality, but I don’t see it and I don’t like to waste time.

    As for oil in coffee and whether French press units result in more oily coffee, again, it depends upon the beans you use, no? I don’t like French press units because they require effort I can better spend cleaning countertops or other kitchen things. My wife swears by Keurig machines, while I find the taste of Kerig-produced coffee … ahem … without soul. Or taste. I use a a simple Cuisinart 10-cup drip that deposits coffee into a thermos-like container, which keeps coffee drinkable and unburned for two to three hours.

    And yes, our two machines take up a sizable footprint that could be better used otherwise. But my wife drinks lots of coffee, too. And we’re of the age that our kids are long gone (away, that is), and we’ve got the space.

    I do have a coffee nut friend who does know the differences between beans, how they’re roasted, how they’re ground, the perfect temperature for brewing coffee, and countertop space a-plenty to exhibit his hardware. And yes, his coffee is better than mine, but to me, the effort and time and cost simply ain’t worth it. And while I can listen to coffee stories for up to … oh, maybe three minutes or so … afterwards I say to myself, “there went five minutes or so I’ll never get back.”

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