In the old days, before the world shut down and anxiety was the default mood, I often bought my coffee by the cup from places like Starbucks and Dunkin'. Rarely did I ever make coffee at home--it took too long and required far too much effort.
Well, here we are, over a year into a pandemic and I haven't bought a cup of coffee from a chain store in about eight months. Instead, I've been making my coffee at home each morning (sometimes twice a morning) and I gotta say--I can't imagine going back to the old ways.
For those interested in getting finicky with their own java routines, here's what I'm currently using and how I'm using it:
Bottomless: I get my beans from Bottomless. Why? Because it's exactly the kind of system I like. They send me a WiFi-enabled scale that measures the weight of each bag. As I use the beans, the weight is re-measured and once it reaches a certain threshold, a new bag is automatically ordered for me.
The best part? Bottomless has partnered with dozens of independent roasters to provide all kinds of blends based on user-defined flavor profiles, so I get to try coffee I never would have had access to otherwise.
This Friis 16oz Stainless Steel canister holds a bag of coffee and keeps it fresh with the help of the airtight seal and included valves to vent off CO2.
Tip: You can use it with the Bottomless scale by setting your zero level to include the weight of the empty canister.
I had been using a Cuisinart electric grinder gifted to me for Christmas several years ago. It's a great machine, but someone in my house enjoys flavored coffee and I don't like their minty beans corrupting the rich, full-bodied flavors of my blends.
So, I went old school and got a Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder. It grinds a single cup's worth of beans (for me) and disassembles for easy cleaning. The adjustable nut inside allows me to change the coarseness of the grind, giving me anywhere from a fine powder to more French Press-friendly grounds.
You might be asking yourself, "Why would I choose a manual grinder over an electric one?" A few reasons -- manual grinders:
- Are smaller and more portable.
- Are sturdier.
- Grind more evenly than electric grinders.
You can get a relatively inexpensive hand-grinder for $30-$50 that will last you far longer than any electric grinder, simply because there are fewer moving pieces.
Plus, I enjoy the little bit of cardio I get in the morning while making my cuppa.
I use a Bean Envy gooseneck kettle to pour over my grounds. The killer feature? A built-in thermometer on the lid with a green indicator for the perfect brewing temperature. My one complaint is that there's no whistle on it, so you need to keep your eye on the kettle to make sure you don't boil past the green zone.
However, since I've started using it, I've been able to hear how the water changes when it reaches a certain temperature and I can stop the flame at the perfect point.
Bean Envy makes a solid, sturdy kettle for a reasonable price. Highly recommend.
Like many picky coffee enthusiasts, I use an AeroPress for brewing. It's dead simple to use, easy to clean, and the filters are cheap.
What really makes it a superior method to me, however, is how easy it is to control brew strength simply by adjusting the water-to-grounds ratio. For example, you can get an espresso-level cup simply by reducing the amount of water in the press.
For some killer AeroPress methods and recipes, check out this article on Handground.com. I prefer the Inverted method myself.
I only drink my coffee out of a Yeti Rambler mug. It keeps drinks warm for hours with its double-walled, vacuum-insulated design, perfect for the person who gets lost in their morning email and forgets about the delicious coffee sitting on their desk.
If you're interested in exactly how I make my coffee each morning, here you go:
- Fill the kettle and set it on the stove.
- Grind one scoop of beans in the hand grinder. I go for a medium-fine coarseness. Not a dusty powder, but not large chunks either. Tip: if you buy the AeroPress kit, the 2 TBSP scoop it comes with doles out the perfect amount of beans to grind. If you don't have a dedicated coffee scoop, I suggest picking one up. Regular spoons won't give you the right measurement without trial-and-error.
- Set up AeroPress inverted (with the plunger facing up and the secondary cylinder placed snugly on top).
- Pour the grounds into the AeroPress.
- Once water reaches the "green zone," (200-204F) pour over the grounds and stir to mix. I tend to fill to the top, giving me a nicely balanced taste, but if you want a stronger cup, you can either double your beans or halve your water.
- Steep for 2 minutes.
- Cover AeroPress with filter and lid. Twist to tighten.
- Carefully flip AeroPress over onto Yeti Rambler mug, press down until complete.
- Untwist lid, push grounds and used filter from AeroPress into trash, rinse components, pop lid onto mug.
- Enjoy coffee!
I know my routine is more involved than most, but I also know there are people who are way more fickle about their coffee than I am. Some even roast their own beans (no thanks). This is what works for me and it might work for you, too.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you with some new ways to up your morning coffee game, giving you the rich, flavorful cup you need to carry on with the rest of your day.
PS: All Amazon links above are affiliate links. If you buy any items through those links, I get a small referral fee in return.