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Lee
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« on: April 10, 2014, 11:53:34 PM »

I have used a Keurig for years (around a decade?). I like the ease and the lack of clean up, but I like really strong coffee, which the Keurig doesn't do. After reading a few recent articles pointing out the negatives (chemicals, price, excess garbage), I am playing with the idea of moving to something else. I have never owned any other type of coffee maker other than a Keurig, so this is a new world to me. I made the mistake of reading some articles on coffee, and it put my beer snobbery to shame. Coffee making is serious business.

Everything says that you have to grind your own beans right before brewing. Gold cone filters seem to be the favorite for drip coffee. The Aeropress has a big following from the snobs. It looks like I have to spend $100 for a grinder, and at least $40 on a coffee maker, if I don't go with a press.

How do you brew coffee at home? Positives? Negatives?

Where do you get your coffee from? (I have 4 Starbucks within a 2 block range, so that is probably where I would go, plus I like Starbucks).
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rittchard
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 12:23:29 AM »

Both my ex and current partner only liked Peet's Coffee, so that eventually became what I liked the most.  We usually buy the whole bean version at the supermarket, generally either Italian or French roast.  I bought an expensive grinder/maker combo machine a while back which my partner liked a lot but eventually he broke the carafe (and crap I just noticed I could have ordered a replacement online lol):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002EVOVPI/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

We bought another one which wasn't quite as nice but seems to get the job done well. 

I pretty much prefer the home brewed coffee to anything I get elsewhere, including the Peet's stores.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2014, 12:40:37 AM »

A press pot (also called French press) will get you strong coffee at home, but the cleanup is a little bit of a pain.


For almost as good a taste with a quick & easy cleanup, there's the Clever Coffee Dripper:



It brews the same way a French press does, but it drains the coffee through a standard paper filter.  I use this myself almost every morning.  Cleanup is as easy as tossing out the filter and giving the Dripper a rinse.  Quick, easy, tasty.

The Aeropress is also quite popular these days, so if you've been leaning that way it is indeed a find & dandy route.

As for grinding, if you're fine with the cost then a conical burr grinder is super nifty.  The big advantage is that it ensures all your coffee gets ground down to the same size bits, with no risk of overgrinding.  You can also usually adjust the coarseness to suit different brewing methods.

That said, a cheapo spinning blade grinder really does work just fine.  Source: my coffee fanatic brother-in-law who owns at least $5000 worth of coffee brewing equipment.  If you don't want to spend a ton on a fancy grinder, just get a cheap one.  You do get the best taste the closer to brewing you grind your beans, and a cheapo grinder will get you that.

And finally as for beans, just go ahead and start out with your local Starbucks since you already like them.  If you decide to get more fancy, find a local coffee place that roasts their own beans so you can get really freshly roasted beans.

I've used Keurig a bunch and still do if I'm in a hurry or particularly lazy, but the taste of french press or clever coffee dripper coffee I make is just head and tails better tasting than even my most favorite Keurig flavors.  You'll be very pleased with the switch.
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Ironrod
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2014, 01:45:40 AM »

I only ever drink home-brewed. I'm satisfied with whatever's on sale so it's only pennies per cup. Gevalia and Melita are decent quality cheap coffee brands. I have a cheap grinder and sometimes I buy whole-bean coffee for when I'm feeling fancy, but generally I just go with ground coffee.

For decades I just bought bottom-of-the-line Mr Coffee machines. You're dripping hot water through a basket, how high tech does that need to be? I'm happy as long as it has a timer so that my coffee's waiting for me when I wake up. But when my last Mr Coffee died I got tired of having to replace them every few years and spent a little more for a Cuisinart.

Every now and then I miss the muddy perked coffee that I grew up on, and I often miss the vacuum-packed metal cans that whooshed when you opened them.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2014, 04:01:23 AM »

The main problem with Mr Coffee and other similar drip coffee makers is that they just don't get the water hot enough.
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Soulchilde
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2014, 11:11:43 AM »

I've been toying with giving these guys a try Craft Coffee  a few of the coffee snobs I know swear by them
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Lee
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2014, 04:11:31 PM »

Thanks for the input. The clever coffee dripper looks cool, and it's similar to my loose-leaf tea maker which is very cool. While I think I am going to get something like that or the Aeropress eventually, I keep thinking of my Saturday morning coffee. Saturday morning is my "finances" morning (I go through all my finances/budget) and I typically drink about 3 cups of coffee. I don't want to take a break and have to make another cup, I just want to go pour it and get back to what I was doing. This goes for my weekday cup of coffee as well, I want simple in the morning. For that reason I keep thinking I need a regular drip maker. I have been looking at them on Amazon, and I guess I am just going to go for one of the more expensive Cuisinarts, because if it's more expensive, it must be better. The problem is they are all huge things, I do not need to make 12 cups of coffee, ever.

Ironrod, I have always been similar to you, thats why the Keurig was good enough. And I don't mind it still, but I enjoy a Starbucks Americano much more, they don't even compare. While I will never get espresso quality coffee at home easily, I figure the least I can do is get something that approaches that richer flavor.
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Caine
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2014, 04:13:51 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on April 11, 2014, 12:40:37 AM

A press pot (also called French press) will get you strong coffee at home, but the cleanup is a little bit of a pain.


<snip>
we've been using a french press since December and it's definitely an improvement over drip coffee.  it's also gotten good reviews from family who are big Keurig drinkers.  We get buy with a basic blade chopper but the fancy one might be worth a shot if I can find one at a decent price.  

clean up is more than the one-shot makers or drip coffee, but it's not that bad.  strain the rest of the water out, scoop out the grounds and rinse whatever's left into the garbage disposal.  not too bad, plus the coffee is ready to go in about 6 minutes.  and Lee, you can get about 2.5 cups out of one batch, or more if you reuse the grounds for the third.
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Lee
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2014, 04:18:48 PM »

For the grinder I have pretty much decided on the Baratza Encore. Marco Arment (Apple developer who created Instapaper), recommended it if you can't afford it's big brother that is twice the price. He's a big coffee snob and seems to know his stuff.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2014, 05:05:47 PM »

They make really big french presses that can make enough coffee for your Saturday morning routine.  That one is 34 ounces. 

If you go that route, though, you can't brew the coffee and then use the press as a pitcher for the next hour or two.  Since the beans remain in the french press after brewing, if you don't pour it all out into a cup or other container it will brew well past the stopping point and overextract (taste bad).
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wonderpug
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2014, 06:00:51 PM »

Ok, I asked my coffee fanatic brother-in-law for his recommendation for your situation.

His first thought was a large Chemex, but he said you'd have to pour it into a preheated thermal carafe to keep it warm for your later pours.  Basically the same thing you'd have to do to keep a large french press brew warm.

But then he said if you can spend the money, Technivorm makes the best drip coffee makers.  More affordable but still great: Bonavita.  These drip makers get the temperature right.

He said anything you see for sale at Clive Coffee is going to be great.  Here's a link straight to their drip makers.
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faide
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2014, 06:07:06 PM »

We recently went the french press route after having a coffee maker and then a Keurig.  The press makes the best coffee I've made at home hands down.  Even if I use pre-ground coffee it turns out better than anything I made in a regular pot and the keurig stuff. 

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raydude
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 06:09:50 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on April 11, 2014, 12:40:37 AM


As for grinding, if you're fine with the cost then a conical burr grinder is super nifty.  The big advantage is that it ensures all your coffee gets ground down to the same size bits, with no risk of overgrinding.  You can also usually adjust the coarseness to suit different brewing methods.

That said, a cheapo spinning blade grinder really does work just fine.  Source: my coffee fanatic brother-in-law who owns at least $5000 worth of coffee brewing equipment.  If you don't want to spend a ton on a fancy grinder, just get a cheap one.  You do get the best taste the closer to brewing you grind your beans, and a cheapo grinder will get you that.

This. In fact I highly recommend getting the spinning blade grinder regardless because you can also use that to grind your own spices. If you truly want to see if you are missing out by not buying a burr grinder then do the following experiment: Go to your grocery store's coffee section and grab 2 bags of whole coffee beans. Use the store's burr grinder to grind one. Take the other bag home and grind one cup using the blade grinder. Make coffee from both. See if you can taste the difference. If you can't then you're not missing out.

Quote
And finally as for beans, just go ahead and start out with your local Starbucks since you already like them.  If you decide to get more fancy, find a local coffee place that roasts their own beans so you can get really freshly roasted beans.

I feel that choosing beans that you like is the same as choosing wine that you like. You just have to try different ones because one person's bean of choice is another one's "cup of roasted dirt". That said, if you like strong coffee, then give Peets Major Dickason's blend a try. I thought Kona was my favorite then I had the Major and never looked back.
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Lee
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2014, 06:49:21 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on April 11, 2014, 06:00:51 PM

Ok, I asked my coffee fanatic brother-in-law for his recommendation for your situation.

His first thought was a large Chemex, but he said you'd have to pour it into a preheated thermal carafe to keep it warm for your later pours.  Basically the same thing you'd have to do to keep a large french press brew warm.

But then he said if you can spend the money, Technivorm makes the best drip coffee makers.  More affordable but still great: Bonavita.  These drip makers get the temperature right.

He said anything you see for sale at Clive Coffee is going to be great.  Here's a link straight to their drip makers.

Thanks for just costing me $300. slywink Got the Bonavita, plus $12 off the grinder I mentioned above. And to think that I thought the $200 I spent on the Keurig at the time was a lot, but that thing lasted me years, hopefully this does too.

Still interested in going with a press, but this will take care of my morning coffee when I don't want to mess with it, nicely.
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Lee
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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2014, 06:56:21 PM »

A couple of you have mentioned Peets. People seem to either love it or hate it, there isn't much in-between. I think they have a store in the local mall, so I may give it a try.

Also, ordered paper filters. Should I have just got the gold filter?
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« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2014, 07:56:47 PM »

Quote from: Lee on April 11, 2014, 06:56:21 PM

A couple of you have mentioned Peets. People seem to either love it or hate it, there isn't much in-between. I think they have a store in the local mall, so I may give it a try.

Peet's is a pretty strong, aggressive brew. If people like milder coffee, they are going to hate Peet's.

I love the stuff though.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2014, 08:00:10 PM »

I had a friend that managed a Peet's for a while and she names a number of reasons why beans from Peet's are objectively better than Starbucks beans.  Better quality control, higher standards for when to toss out product for not being fresh enough, etc.  She admittedly likely had some amount of bias, of course.  I like both.

Unlike your Bonavita, buying a bag of beans isn't really that big a commitment.  smile  Buy some Starbucks for one week, some Peet's the next, then some designer snob beans the next.  

Buying a french press is also not that big a commitment. slywink  One big advantage that brewing method has is that it doesn't filter out any delicious coffee oils like brewing methods with a paper filter do.  You can actually see the extra deliciousness floating around on top after you brew a french press cup.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2014, 08:04:22 PM »

Quote from: Lee on April 11, 2014, 06:49:21 PM

plus $12 off the grinder I mentioned above.

Brother-in-law says "everyone loves the Baratza."  I think you'll be happy with your purchases. smile
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Blackjack
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« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2014, 09:20:22 PM »

My brother likes the French press stuff, and I got him one of those for his birthday last year.

Coffee generally does weird things to my intestines so I generally get my caffeine in other ways.  icon_razz
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Ironrod
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« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2014, 02:46:01 AM »

Quote from: Lee on April 11, 2014, 06:56:21 PM

Also, ordered paper filters. Should I have just got the gold filter?

I just use the metal filter to avoid turning a disposable product into waste. With the metal filter you'll get some fine grounds in the bottom of the pot; with paper filters you won't.
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Lee
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« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2014, 06:02:39 PM »

Damn, will be here Monday. I still have a ton of Kuerig pods to drink as well.
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Lee
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« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2014, 05:39:43 PM »

I have only been drinking Peet's Major Dickason's out of my new set up this week. Very happy with it, great coffee, with little effort. It's just as good, if not better than the Americano I get from Starbucks. This morning, I didn't make enough though, so I figured it's a good opportunity to get rid of some of my Keurig cups. Ugh! I know it's a bit unfair to go from drinking a really strong flavored coffee to a weaker one, but the Keurig stuff I have is all dark roasted, "bold" coffees and I am brewing 5oz cups. It's like drinking hot water with a little bit of coffee taste to it. There is also a faint, odd flavor to it as well that I have never noticed before. What a difference.

Thanks everyone for the help/suggestions.
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« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2014, 06:49:26 PM »

Quite a difference isn't it?  Once we went to the French press, we donated the old drip maker.  There's no going back.   You should give the Keurig cups to someone at work or keep them just for visitors.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2014, 11:52:21 PM »

You can also pop 'em open and just use the beans like regular beans.
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leo8877
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« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2014, 01:50:56 AM »

We've been making drip coffee with Peet's House Blend for years, unless it's holiday time and we buy the Peet's Holiday Blend.  I love the stuff!
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