14 votes

5 cheap(ish) things to make the perfect cup of coffee

Tags: drinks, coffee

22 comments

  1. asoftbird
    Link
    Note: Do not use vinegar to clean coffee machines. It'll stick around inside rubber gaskets and plastic parts and may leave an aftertaste. Commercial descaler is usually something like lactic or...

    Note: Do not use vinegar to clean coffee machines. It'll stick around inside rubber gaskets and plastic parts and may leave an aftertaste. Commercial descaler is usually something like lactic or citric acid.

    If you have a Sodastream or similar device, you can also put (preferably cold), distilled water in there and get very acidic carbonated water which can be used to clean limescale as well! Don't drink it though.

    10 votes
  2. arp242
    Link
    I love my Aeropress; I got it for €25, and it's one of my better investments in the last few years. It's cheap, easy to use and clean, and makes great coffee.

    I love my Aeropress; I got it for €25, and it's one of my better investments in the last few years. It's cheap, easy to use and clean, and makes great coffee.

    8 votes
  3. [19]
    ffmike
    Link
    So what's your process for the perfect cup of coffee? And do you actually bother with it?

    So what's your process for the perfect cup of coffee? And do you actually bother with it?

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      grahamiam
      Link Parent
      I've gone full cold brew in the past three years. I also like chicory, so my default everyday brew is just Cafe Du Monde. 1c coffee, 4c water, a tablespoon of vanilla extract, 24-30 hours. Makes...

      I've gone full cold brew in the past three years. I also like chicory, so my default everyday brew is just Cafe Du Monde.

      1c coffee, 4c water, a tablespoon of vanilla extract, 24-30 hours. Makes about six servings for me. Served half coffee, half soy milk, and a shot of caramel syrup. I've tried an aero press and drip. Have tried grinding the beans for every single cup individually. Sometimes I could tell a difference, sometimes I couldn't, ended up feeling like it wasn't worth my time and I'm happy with current choice. Wife uses a percolator and prefers Pilon brand preground. I use the percolator too on the rare occasion I want it hot.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        ali
        Link Parent
        Do you put your coffee in the fridge or leave it outside? I used to put it in the fridge, but my new apartment doesn’t really have space for it; so I considered leaving it out

        Do you put your coffee in the fridge or leave it outside? I used to put it in the fridge, but my new apartment doesn’t really have space for it; so I considered leaving it out

        1 vote
        1. grahamiam
          Link Parent
          I keep it in the refrigerator. Coffee is acidic enough I'm guessing you could leave it out, but research it!

          I keep it in the refrigerator. Coffee is acidic enough I'm guessing you could leave it out, but research it!

          1 vote
    2. Grawlix
      Link Parent
      My ideal iced coffee: Find a coffee you like, and grind it fresh. A blade grinder works just fine; burr grinders are better, but it's not nearly the same leap as freshly ground vs. pre-ground....

      My ideal iced coffee:

      1. Find a coffee you like, and grind it fresh. A blade grinder works just fine; burr grinders are better, but it's not nearly the same leap as freshly ground vs. pre-ground.

      2. Find a strong Aeropress recipe you like, something in the realm of an espresso. (And I know, I know, the Aeropress can't make real espresso because it doesn't use steam; whatever, just something about that concentrated.)

      3. Brew it directly over ice in a cocktail shaker.

      4. Sweeten with sugar syrup. Simple syrup is the default option, but demerara syrup is really nice.

      5. Add milk to your desired volume, i.e. enough for whatever glass you plan to pour this in. I like oat milk especially.

      6. SHAKE

      7. Pour.

      Some of the steps are a bit vague, because it'll depend on your set up and your taste, and you can tweak it as you go. I think the general takeaways you might like are:

      1. Brewing hot, strong coffee over ice is a great way to make fresh iced coffee. (I took the idea from this video.)

      2. Sugar syrup is easier to dissolve in a cold liquid, so it's great for iced coffee. Nowhere near a new idea; cocktails have done that forever.

      3. A shaker is a great way to incorporate all the ingredients and aerate them a bit. Otherwise, if you just brew it in the glass, add sugar, and top with milk, you might find that the sugar sinks to the bottom, and the top of your drink is mostly just milk, even after a bit of stirring. (If you want your iced coffee black, or just sweetened, it may not be worth shaking vs. brewing in the glass, but I haven't done the lab work. :p)

      3 votes
    3. NaraVara
      Link Parent
      So if I'm making coffee for more than one person I'm a pretty orthodox Chemex man and I use this method from Stumptown. If it's just for myself in the morning I tend to go with the Aeropress...

      So if I'm making coffee for more than one person I'm a pretty orthodox Chemex man and I use this method from Stumptown.

      If it's just for myself in the morning I tend to go with the Aeropress inversion method, just because the Chemex is a bit more work to clean. That and brewing just one cup of coffee in my six-cup Chemex feels kind of sad in a Microwave Cooking for One sort of way.

      Sometimes, if I feel like I have time to sit and relax in the morning, I will grind up a cardamom pod and add it to the brew.

      2 votes
    4. [4]
      pallas
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Preferring espressos, I've grown very fond of a Flair Pro machine (first-generation with the second-generation upgrade kit). It's a modern manual lever machine; it's portable (I've taken it on...

      Preferring espressos, I've grown very fond of a Flair Pro machine (first-generation with the second-generation upgrade kit). It's a modern manual lever machine; it's portable (I've taken it on transatlantic flights) and doesn't need electricity (I usually use an electric kettle for water). I originally bought it because it was portable, but it has ended up being the machine I use most often. The espressos are excellent and somewhat distinct from most others I have: they seem rounder, with a more persistent crema, and seem more consistent than normal espressos. It also is quite inexpensive compared to machines with similar results (eg, my Gaggia Classic, had I bought it new, would have been significantly more expensive even before the changes that made it work well).

      I generally use a fairly high (probably around 18g if I measured, though it is forgiving and I don't measure often anymore when I'm using a dosing grinder) amount of coffee, 7 bar pressure, and around a 2 bar preinfusion until coffee starts flowing.

      I do bother with it, most days, as it is better than most espressos I could have in a cafe, and doesn't take too much time: perhaps 3-5 minutes at most, now that I have the process somewhat optimized.

      My major difficulty is that I don't have correspondingly good and portable grinders. Here, I have a Delonghi Dedica which I bought with some urgency and I've been very unhappy with: the grind is not at all even. I've been hoping I can find some way of selling or otherwise conscientiously disposing of it and buying another grinder, but I'm a bit uncertain of what to buy. We have a Capresso Infinity which I have been happy with, but still seems to fall short of the ideal. Many machines touted as good are exorbitantly expensive.

      We also have a Gaggia Classic, which wasn't that great until I took it apart and readjusted the pressure; it is also using a larger, commercial, non-pressurized basket. It now makes a very nice, more standard espresso. The machine is somewhat finicky, though: slightly too much or too little coffee, too much or too little tamping, and so on, will significantly degrade the results; I use it along with a lab scale. It also needs more care and maintenance. I haven't tried adding a PID controller, which could improve it.

      I have an Aeropress that I sometimes used in offices, where the alternative was a Keurig machine, but I ended up mostly drinking tea instead, as I would frequently forget to bring ground coffee with me, and don't like the results with preground coffee. I've considered portable grinders, but they all seem rather sketchy.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        Cmurphycode
        Link Parent
        If you enjoy the flair this much you should definitely get a high end hand grinder. The cheap ones are crap, it's true, but the high end ones are certainly not. If you are ok with spending $200, I...

        If you enjoy the flair this much you should definitely get a high end hand grinder. The cheap ones are crap, it's true, but the high end ones are certainly not. If you are ok with spending $200, I highly recommend the kinu 47 Phoenix. I know that seems like a lot for something you have to crank yourself, but the equivalent grind in electrical would cost double. Same logic as the flair.

        You could also look into the various 1zpresso grinders which are highly regarded at the $100-$150 range. If I had known about their quality at the time I bought the kinu, I might have gone with them instead.

        Lots more to discuss about grinders of course, but check it out at least.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          pallas
          Link Parent
          Thank you for this recommendation: if I get nothing else out of being on Tildes, your comment will have made my commenting here worthwhile. I ended up buying an M47 Classic, and after a bit of...

          Thank you for this recommendation: if I get nothing else out of being on Tildes, your comment will have made my commenting here worthwhile. I ended up buying an M47 Classic, and after a bit of fiddling with settings, am very happy with it. It has completely solved my problems with the other grinders we have, and in addition to simply making much better coffee, has made it so that the bottomless filters for the Flair are actually usable without a spout. It grinds quickly enough that I can grind enough coffee for an espresso while the water is heating, and has the additional benefit that it is small and portable enough I can easily take it places. I'm going to try taking it to an office that has a Nespresso machine with a refillable capsule next week: I'm sure it won't be a great coffee, but at least it might be a bit better, and won't result in my needing to discard disposable cartridges.

          2 votes
          1. Cmurphycode
            Link Parent
            Hey, thanks for circling back on this! I'm psyched you gave it a shot. The classic is even more of a beast than the Phoenix so I'm not at all surprised you like it! With a flair pro, kinu, and...

            Hey, thanks for circling back on this! I'm psyched you gave it a shot. The classic is even more of a beast than the Phoenix so I'm not at all surprised you like it!

            With a flair pro, kinu, and that aeropress of yours, you have pretty much the ultimate portable coffee setup. Enjoy!

    5. [2]
      everydayanchovies
      Link Parent
      I love good coffee, however I found that just buying good beans and using a percolator works for me :) Easy and consistent.

      I love good coffee, however I found that just buying good beans and using a percolator works for me :) Easy and consistent.

      1 vote
      1. envy
        Link Parent
        For those unfamiliar with a percolator, this video should help.

        percolator

        For those unfamiliar with a percolator, this video should help.

    6. nicke
      Link Parent
      I use my Chemex or Hario V60, but usually I don't bother brewing coffee since manual brew is quite a bit of work. The coffee is great though, just make sure the water temperature is perfect. I'm...

      I use my Chemex or Hario V60, but usually I don't bother brewing coffee since manual brew is quite a bit of work. The coffee is great though, just make sure the water temperature is perfect.

      I'm on the hunt for a Bonavita BV1900TS though (Can't find it anywhere in Europe).
      If anyone have any recommendations for a good coffee maker (100-200EUR) it would be highly appreciated!

      1 vote
    7. [2]
      vegai
      Link Parent
      Espresso-roasted coffee (usually from an Italian brand). Moka pot to get a decent espresso base without needing a silly industrial device at home. Warm or frothed milk on top. Cacao or maca and...

      Espresso-roasted coffee (usually from an Italian brand). Moka pot to get a decent espresso base without needing a silly industrial device at home. Warm or frothed milk on top. Cacao or maca and other spices if I feel like it. No sugar or sugary things.

      1 vote
      1. ali
        Link Parent
        I use a Mika pot too. How do you foam your milk? I use a French press from ikea to foam it.

        I use a Mika pot too. How do you foam your milk? I use a French press from ikea to foam it.

        1 vote
    8. [3]
      krg
      Link Parent
      I just use the Bunn coffee machine at work. Ultimately, isn't that the same as pour-over coffee?

      I just use the Bunn coffee machine at work. Ultimately, isn't that the same as pour-over coffee?

      1. [2]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        In theory, yes, but in practice no. Most coffee makers (extremely likely to be yours since Bunn invented it) use a design that uses a specially designed heater to pull the water over the grinds....

        In theory, yes, but in practice no. Most coffee makers (extremely likely to be yours since Bunn invented it) use a design that uses a specially designed heater to pull the water over the grinds. That makes the water much hotter than is ideal for brewing coffee.

        Which is not to say that everything using this design is going to be like this; the Technivorm Moccamaster uses a longer unheated tube which allows the water to cool down to a more ideal level before it comes into contact with the coffee.

        3 votes
    9. cwagner
      Link Parent
      I wake up, get dressed stumble into the kitchen. Fill 0.75L of water into the kettle from my water filter and start it. When it’s done, I set my grinder to 4 (whatever that means, it goes from...

      I wake up, get dressed stumble into the kitchen. Fill 0.75L of water into the kettle from my water filter and start it. When it’s done, I set my grinder to 4 (whatever that means, it goes from 1-10), maximum coarseness. When that is done, I put it into my french press, pour the water over it and tell Alexa to set the timer to 4 minutes.

      That’s it. For some reason I don’t like pour over coffee as much though it’s still better than fancy coffee machine coffee. I think I like some rawness. The machines taste like music from a band that has super expensive production sounds. Nice sometimes, but usually I prefer a band that just started out and everything sounds more raw.

  4. tomf
    Link
    Hoffmann's French Press technique is one of the best and laziest methods for making a really great cup of coffee. For my day-to-day I use an aeropress (inverted with a mesh filter), but I also...

    Hoffmann's French Press technique is one of the best and laziest methods for making a really great cup of coffee.

    For my day-to-day I use an aeropress (inverted with a mesh filter), but I also like a moka pot (also with Hoffmann.)

    For those in the market, the 1L Bonavita Gooseneck variable temp is still down towards it's lowest price point. It's a great kettle if you're doing pourovers.

    2 votes