I like good food and good wine!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The BEST Coffee Maker in the World

I don't know about you, but for years I've made my coffee in an automatic drip coffee maker, but a few months ago I noticed I was getting a very inconsistent product. The part that heats the water was worn out, and I was not looking forward to spending $100 for something that takes up counter space in almost every kitchen in the country.

About this same time I saw a piece on "America's Test Kitchen" about coffee makers that found most coffee makers only heat the water to about 165º, not nearly hot enough to allow ground coffee to properly bloom (195º-200º). Even though ATK typically has a good low cost option, the only automatic maker they recommended was significantly more expensive than I wanted to pay.

A light went off in my head. Bay Area cafes have been offering "coffee by the cup," where coffee is brewed one cup at a time for the last few years. Coffee sold this way tends to be priced a little higher than the regular brew, and I'm cheap, so I only splurged a few times, but I recalled that friends, Rob and Joe, used this technique at home all the time. So I investigated.

The best news is these filter holders are less that $5.00, and there are glass and ceramic models for a few dollars more.

A great cup of coffee takes 2 things, good quality roasted coffee beans and HOT water.

Here's my recipe for steaming hot coffee in less than 2 minutes.

  • Heat the water. If you've got a teakettle and a good gas stove, like I do, I can heat water to boiling in about a minute. If your stovetop is not that efficient, invest a couple bucks in an electric kettle. The microwave is not a good place to boil water.
  • I like Café au lait, so while the water is heating I put a quarter cup of 1% milk in my coffee cup and warm it for 40 seconds in the microwave.
  • Put an unbleached (not white) paper coffee filter into holder, and add one scoop (1 TBS) ground coffee. I grind my coffee to a #4 setting rather than #5 for a bit more robust flavor. Pull heated milk out of the microwave, and place filter over cup.
  • Add just enough hot water to dampen grounds and allow that to drain into cup. Add more water to fill cup. I usually need to refill the filter with hot water twice to get a full cup, breath deeply and enjoy!

Note: I can get two cups of coffee from each paper filter by adding one more scoop of coffee to the filter after the first cup is brewed, and repeating the rest of the process.

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