Thursday, April 02, 2009

making a good cup of coffee without expensive equipment!

Everyone has one-- an acquaintance or friend who's REALLY REALLY into something, and into the latest greatest gear to fuel their passion.

If you've got a friend who's REALLY REALLY into coffee, they might have some super duper expensive toys to make it. Who knew you could spend so much dough on joe? (I swear, that just came to me.)

When D and I married, we registered for a Cuisinart coffee maker. Not an espresso machine, just a coffee maker. It was pretty, stainless steel, with retro toggle buttons. Cute. And I'm not a coffee aficionado; I just like a cup of it every now and then. Without emptying my wallet for it.

But I never figured out exactly how to get a good cup of coffee out of it. I tried a relatively fine grind (as fine as I could get out of the Cuisinart grinder, which isn't too fine). I tried a coarse grind. I tried using more water, less water, more and less milk. Nothing really helped. It was either too bitter, too weak, or kind of cardboard-y tasting (?). I cleaned the gold(tone) filter religiously, used a water filter, everything.

Then I pulled out the old one cup French press. And behold!! A fabulous cup.

So here's my French press method. Hopefully this helps someone else out there. I'm just trying to make the world a better place.

1. Heat up 5-6 oz of water. Whether microwave or stovetop, make sure the water is really really hot. Boiling almost.

2. Put 2-2.5 tablespoons of coffee in the French press. I've actually had good luck with a fine grind (Major Dickinson's Anniversary Blend, Decaf, Peet's) and with a coarse grind (Illy coffee, Trader Joe's Dark Roast Organic).

3. Add the hot water.

4. Put the top on and wait a good 4-5 minutes.

5. Push down and pour! I add cream (cream for coffee, milk for tea) but no sugar.

Amazingly, I've been getting delicious coffee this way-- not bitter, not weak. So simple, inexpensive, fab.

You can also make loose tea easily this way, which I also love.