Welcome to the new issue of Purely Coffee Beans Perks, Issue #5 and the first issue for 2012.
If you're finding that your current instant coffee isn't up to scratch, perhaps it's time to try a simple coffee maker. These coffee makers are much under-rated as coffee makers, and yet you will find these coffee makers get the job done quickly, quietly & affordably.
In fact, in the current dour economic climate, choosing simple coffee makers over complex coffee machines may be the smartest coffee making decision you've ever made!
So this issue we'll look at:
In a sense, it's also a journey of my own coffee making! But first...
This year is a time of transition: our site server is undergoing work, slowing updates to the site; but I've made PurelyCoffeeBeans' first podcast, which is already available for online listening.
It's been submitted to iTunes & Blackberry Directories, and I'm hoping it will be approved shortly in many directories, so stay 'ituned'! If this is one is even half successful, I will be doing more. So let me know what you think...
The Purely Coffee Beans Perks Ezine also got a new look & a new name! Hope you like it! And finally I've changed the way I do the ezine, because I was finding that some readers were getting a garbled text version of my newsletter, creating a very bad experience for you! Not something I'm keen to repeat! Let me tell you! So now I will do a full page on my website and a quick note on the ezine to tell you!
Don't worry, the newsletter is still that, and some of the news is very timely, and will be out of date soon! So don't give up the newsletter subscription, will you?
One of my first simple coffee makers was actually the simplest of all, a plastic drip filter or drip cone, rather like the Melitta Filter Cone which you see here. There are other models of coffee filter cones available, too.
The coffee cones are very affordable. For little more than $10, you could purchase a cone, some papers and then make some great coffee by buying a quarter pound of coffee from your local coffee roasters.
The coffee is quick to make and you can make a variety of coffee types from light to espresso, just by making sure that the grind is appropriate.
Overall, this device is a great coffee making entry point for beginners, those on the go, and travelers who like to make their own coffee rather than drink the instant coffee available in the hotel rooms. It's also extremely light! Better yet, you can buy small single cup cones for travel.
The only real problems are that, balanced on top of a cup or small jug, they are prone to being knocked over and spilling messy coffee, hot water & coffee grounds everywhere. They also drip, so having a sink nearby is a solution, or at least an extra cup to put it on when it's done; that they are (obviously!) limited in their capacity; and you have to dispose of the paper filter & grounds, causing unnecessary garbage.
Just remember two things: use a tablespoon or coffee spoon to measure your coffee, and DON'T use boiling water! Try to keep the water about 85C or 90C, otherwise you risk cooking the grounds, and having a tasteless cup of coffee! And buy the bigger size for use at home or office, not the single cup model or the size 2, so you can treat your friends to some great coffee, too!
For more tips on how to get the best out of your cone coffee filter, visit the page here.
Really the most elegant of all the simple coffee makers I ever owned, nice gleaming glass wrapped in gold plated metal, sitting on the work surface and begging me just to use it one more time!
I have always loved French presses, even though the more modern ones no longer look like that. Perhaps not as convenient to use as a Drip Coffee Maker, they make a great coffee in small amounts; just add hot water, stir, wait, then plunge!
Like the other simple coffee makers listed here, the french press can really handle any roast of coffee, any blend, too; just make sure that the grind isn't too fine, otherwise you'll end up with brown sludge at the bottom of your cup! The metal mesh is more effective if the grounds are slightly larger. Obviously this means you need to spend a little more time waiting for the infusion to work! They can be a little pricey to buy or replace. But buying a good one is highly recommended.
If you live in a cold climate or make your coffee outdoors, you may find the resulting drink gets just a bit too cold before you add the milk. Also, the jugs (esp. if they are glass) are easy to break or crack rendering them useless.
Use a larger ground than fine ground. And let the water steep for a little while, too. When pressing the plunger, a gentle even pressure is needed. Don't use too much force! And serve the coffee immediately to prevent the remainder becoming too strong.
I love the French press, it really is a simple coffee maker to use, quick to make coffee (as quick as a hot water jug or kettle), and very easy to clean. It's long been my simple coffee maker of the year. To find out more about using your French press, click on this article here.
Pretty quickly, I got tired boiling the water, waiting and then manually filling the cone. It could be messy, time consuming and I was always looking for filter papers for the cone (and when you run out, and some substitutes - say, ahem, kitchen roll - just don't work). Then I broke one or two too many French press jugs, and it was time for a new coffee maker. Enter the drip coffee maker.
Admittedly more expensive than the cone or French press, it heated the right amount of water to the optimum temperature, then dripped the water through the coffee grounds into the jug. No waiting around, the coffee could be ready just before you left for work, within a few minutes, and you could make extra for the friend, the second cup or for the fridge!
I went through several models of those, and found that the cheapest just didn't last. Most prone to problems, the glass jug. I broke quite a few; so finding a replacement meant that I had to replace the entire unit. But I eventually bought two Braun coffee makers that lasted years, without a jug breakage! I still use one at home.
You can set up the machine and leave it while you get dressed in the morning or make breakfast for the kids, as it doesn't need much watching over. You can even buy models that have their own internal clock to get the coffee ready for you first thing! You just have to add the milk & sugar! They are affordable, and you can go forgo the paper filters for a gold drip filter cone (it's not really gold!) which will last ages, fit many models, and save you money, too!
There is always room for improvement with these machines: they do need cleaning regularly; they may not get the water temperature right; and the hot plate may get the coffee too hot, spoiling the delicate flavors of the coffee, if it is left too long. Also, the jugs are unique, so finding a replacement glass carafe can be a challenge, if it is broken or cracked.
Most tips are similar for the coffee cones about grinding & preparation. Be careful of the glass jug or carafe, they should not be knocked or dropped (even slightly); and if you wash them by hand, don't let them jostle against metal cutlery or other heavy crockery. If your hot plate overheats the coffee after a few minutes, then when the machine stops, just turn it off! I'm fussy, and I find that stewed coffee tastes much worse than warm coffee. Overall, the drip coffee maker is the most convenient of these simple coffee makers, decidedly low tech and reliable. Find out more about the drip coffee maker here.
As you see, I have had a long affair with simple coffee makers, and even now I haven't persuaded myself that buying an expensive one makes much practical sense.
We're also running our first coffee competition this month that last through the end of April, in which you could win an Amazon Gift Certificate so you could buy your favorite coffee beans, courtesy of PurelyCoffeeBeans! Check out the competition, and decide if you would like to win!
A Recent Question from Our Ask A Question Page, a common problem on older coffee makers.
And my answer: "I don't think you will be able to remove those 'white stains' with anything. I think this means that the non-stick coating has already come off, and the underlying metal surface has been exposed. Vigorous scrubbing will only remove the remaining coating FASTER! Be careful you don't burn your coffee pot by leaving it standing on the pot. Without a non-stick surface, you may find that the coffee pot burns easily, and may seem to 'stick' to the electric plate a little. Don't ever force the jug off... otherwise you may find that you end up pouring a jug of hot coffee and broken glass all over yourself. Hope that helps. It may be time to look at a new machine."
If you are looking for more tips on cleaning your coffee maker, or have a question, feel free to drop by, ANYTIME!
For those of you who are already subscribed to the mailing list, you can download the first edition of my Guide to Simple Coffee Makers PDF. You will also soon be able to get your free and updated PurelyCoffeeBeans' 2012 Guide to Buying Your Coffee Maker - just sign up here and it will be available soon. But it's only getting sent to those members who are ON the list!
Then sign up right here! You're always welcome in this coffee shop!
If you're in the market for one of these simple coffee makers, you'll be sure to find some Amazon Coffee Maker Deals of the Day on Amazon. And if you're really shrewd, you'll get Free Shipping, too!"
"If your favorite coffee shop makes a bad cup of coffee, send it right back! You're doing no one a favor by drinking it!" Kenneth J. Dickson
Other articles we've done recently, include asking readers what coffee apps they have on their phones; top tips on making espresso; and I've added articles from my other coffee site, too, so it's easier for readers to find the best coffee and espresso makers.
Don't forget to find (and like!) PurelyCoffeeBeans on Facebook! You'll be asked to login first before you can see the page, so just go to my Facebook page to find out what other people have been saying/doing.
So that's it for the fifth issue of the PurelyCoffeeBeans Newsletter, I wish you all have fun making great cups of hot coffee this Spring!