Going to Starbucks or the local coffee shop every day can add up when it comes to your monthly expenses. Here are some of the best ways to make coffee at home, in a way that doesn’t have to break the bank, or your taste buds.
What beans one ought to use when brewing coffee at home that isn’t instant or a Keurig pod is a subject of much debate. Many coffee aficionados go to great length to procure the most recently roasted beans as possible, as in within the last week, at local coffee shops and roasters. Other vendors, such as Trader Joe’s or Costco, offer coffee beans that were roasted much longer ago, in either whole mean or pre-ground form. Most coffee snobs would argue against buying ground beans, instead recommending a hand grinder or electronic burr grinder for use at home (similar to a pepper mill, but for coffee beans. Some coffee snobs might be willing to use whole beans bought in bulk, while others would snub their nose at it. Ultimately, it is up to your taste buds whether or not you find fresher local vs. cheaper bulk beans to be worth it.
A deceptively simple way to make better coffee at home is to use better water; coffee is mostly water, so if you start with better water, you will get better coffee. A popular and easy to procure option is Crystal Geyser Spring Water, available in gallon jugs, and available at most any grocery store or bulk warehouse where bulk waters are sold. If you don’t see Crystal Geyser, try another spring water, if one is available. Spring waters are good for making coffee due to their pH balance, which lends itself to good tasting coffee for science-y reasons that defy easy explanation for non-science-y drinkers of coffee. You can also opt for filtered water, as in from a reverse osmosis system or an in-fridge filtered bottle. Sometimes tap water can be just fine, too, depending on the quality of water in your local municipality.
A pourover might be considered trendy these days, but the technology is anything but new. Innovated all the way back it the 1910s by a woman in Germany, Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz, the pourover is deceptively simple, with a brewing cone, a filter, ground coffee beans, into which you pour water from a kettle, usually a “goose neck.” A goose neck kettle is — you guessed it — a kettle with a long pouring spout shaped like a goose’s neck (as opposed to a more traditional tea pot which has a very short and stout pouring spout). The goose neck enables you to control where you pour the water. Today’s pourover cones can be either cone shaped or flat bottomed (generally), and some of the most popular filters come from none other than the Melitta brand, now based in Florida. Whether you choose to use pre-ground beans or grind your own, the pourover is an excellent way to get a single cup of fresh coffee
Compared to a coffee pot or a pour over, a French press is a bit more work, especially when it comes to cleanup. A cup-like glass with a plunger and filter screen presses hot water through ground coffee as opposed to letting gravity do the work (as with a coffee pot or pourover). Many people swear by the French Press, and say it gives a more full-bodied brew.
Traditional Coffee Pot
The traditional coffee pot can be found anywhere from the office to your local McDonald’s. But, don’t write off this seemingly traditional coffee brewing method; with the right beans and filters, you can brew up a great cup of coffee, and have warm cups all morning long if you keep the pot warm on the brewing apparatus. You can pick one up at Wal-Mart or Target, or order it from Amazon easily, and you just need the right large filter size for the coffee pot. Grind your beans (or purchase ground beans), insert them in the filter, pour water in the coffee machine, turn it on, and let it drop away.
Keurig or Nespresso Machine
If you want something a little easier than fussing with beans, water, and brewing techniques, you can purchase a machine to make coffee for you at home. One of the most popular options if the Keurig, which has small plastic pods filled with coffee that you just pop into the machine, add water, and voila, coffee. They do produce quite a bit of waste, if you are environmentally conscious, but they are very simple, and depending on which pods you buy, they can tasted decent.
Generally regarded as the lowest of the low for coffee, instant coffee is what you’d think — dry crystals which come in a jar that can be added to a hot water to quickly produce a cup of “coffee.” While it does not taste like a traditionally brewed cup of coffee, usually, many people still like instant coffee, which has declined in popularity from its heyday of the 1950’s. The most popular instant coffee brand is Folger’s, which you can find at any local grocery store.