Growing up I thought coffee was bitter and disgusting, and who in their right mind would drink the stuff? I even hated the smell of the beans when my Mom brewed her morning cup. Between now and then I have worked in a coffee shop (where said coffee was free), and had 2 children. Now I drink my ritual cup every morning, and occasionally an afternoon cup when I’m out in town.
Those of you who buy your coffee in coffee shops can save a ton of money by making it at home. I know: nag, nag, nag. I’m sure you’ve seen this suggestion made before. Give it a try and save those coffee shop outings for special occasions. You might be surprised at how much you save. You can get about 32 medium sized cups of coffee out of one pound of grounds. That’s about $0.31 per cup (plus the cost of add-ins) for a medium to high priced coffee. If you’re getting the cheapest ground coffee you can find it will be about half that! I don’t know what a coffee shop cup in your area costs, but in my area it’s more than quadruple that.
My favorite way of making coffee is in my oh-so-simple, yet very effective French Press. Even if you prefer an electronic coffee maker, you should always keep a press as backup. No fancy electronics to worry about, and you can even buy plastic to avoid breakage. Your coffee press should last for many years, and uses very little energy.
Making Your Coffee
It’s not complicated, but it may seem at first like there are a lot of steps. I find it to be a nice ritual where I get a bit of peace at the start of my day. Here’s how it works for the uninitiated.
- Start to heat your water to boil.
- Put 1 scoop of grounds into your press for each 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of water you will use. Your press should come with a scoop, but it’s just a 1 tablespoon measure if it didn’t.
- Once the water has reached a boil, pour 4 ounces of water into your press for each scoop of coffee (or see below about pre-marking water levels). Gently stir using using something non-metal if your press is glass.
- Set a timer for 4 minutes.
- After 4 minutes, put the top on and press down on the plunger. Making sure the pour spout is turned to the correct direction, pour out your coffee and enjoy!
Here’s where it gets a little more complicated. Technically you want a certain size of grind for your coffee when using a French press. If you buy from a local coffee roaster, they should know what you mean when you ask them to grind it for a coffee press. However, in a budget pinch I’ve used pre-ground store-bought coffee made for a percolater just fine. Ideally it should be a touch coarser than regular ground coffee, but sometimes we don’t live in an ideal world. If you have a good coffee press you shouldn’t get any grounds in your cup. There will be a touch of silt at the bottom, but that is because you’re not using paper filters. Those filters don’t just keep out the silt, but they absorb the oils which is what gives coffee it’s wonderful flavor.
Measuring? First thing in the morning?!
I’m not totally crazy. I know that most of us who need that morning cup aren’t quite ready for anything so complicated as measuring out hot water. You can prep your press to have the measurements ready to go so all you have to do is pour to the line. Use the instructions below – when you’re awake and not in need of coffee!
- Pour in 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of water into your press, and one scoop of coffee. We’re not really making coffee right now so it doesn’t have to be hot.
- Take a permanent marker and draw a short horizontal line at the liquid line on the press. If you don’t like the idea of marking up your press, you can put a piece of clear tape down first so it can be removed in the future.
- Repeat this step in 4 ounce and 1 scoop increments until you’ve reached the maximum capacity of your press.
- Since we value the concept of Wast-Not Want-Not, leave the water and coffee grounds in your press for an excellent batch of cold-brew coffee [Check out America’s Test Kitchen for details].
Just make sure on the morning of, when pouring your hot water for coffee, that you have already added your scoops of coffee grounds first. Otherwise the measurements will be off.
Coffee does not have to be a luxury, and it does not have to be a huge burden on your monthly expenses. If you’re single and don’t need to make a lot of coffee at one time, they even make single serving coffee presses. Sometimes adding more electronics to your kitchen adds hidden costs, even if you manage to score a great deal on an inexpensive percolator. Those machines when plugged in are often steadily consuming power even when not in use. You never know when the electronics will die and you will have to replace it, and they use disposable filters that you need to purchase regularly.
If I haven’t convinced you, at least consider it as a life-saving back up! I have seen numerous friends suffer the horrible results of an unexpectedly broken coffee maker. No morning coffee!
Written on November 11, 2013 by Kristin (Yankee Girl).
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