Coffee: it makes the world go ‘round but so does the money you spend to buy it. Studies have shown that buying your everyday cuppa can run you more than two thousand dollars a year, where making it at home can cost a surprisingly small fraction of that. But is it possible for the average Joe to brew a truly perfect cup of coffee? Though the world beyond your trusty drip coffee machine may seem confusing, rest assured that making excellent coffee at home isn’t just the domain of the hipster. Here are four ways to sweeten your coffee game.
The name evokes a sense of Parisian snobbery, but here’s the dirt: the French press coffee maker hails from Italy! Origins aside, the French press is a tried-and-true method of making a great cup of coffee. It works by allowing the coffee grounds to mix freely with boiling water and then straining them out by pressing down a fine screen. And that’s it! It can seem a little fancy because the French press is a darling among coffee connoisseurs, but there’s really no trick to it. Just press slowly!
French press is a darling among coffee connoisseurs, but there’s really no trick to it. Just press slowly!
Sometimes the simplest methods are simply the best! The French press produces a bright, robust cup of coffee — perfect for those who need a little kick in the pants to get going every morning. It’s also pretty easy on the wallet: you can pick up a top-rated French press for about twenty dollars. Still, this old-school method does come with a couple of drawbacks. For one, it can’t make a whole lot of coffee at one time. Additionally, French press coffee requires a coarser grind, so it might be necessary to grind your coffee beans yourself. But as any coffee connoisseur will tell you, fresh ground is the best!
Pour-over coffee is about as simple as it gets — even more so than the French press. All you need to do is pour hot water over your coffee grounds through a filter and let it trickle down into a cup or carafe.
Technically, the coffee that you get out of your trusty drip-coffee machine is pour-over coffee, but many people still swear by doing it by hand. It’s said that because the filter keeps the water in contact with the grounds for longer, it creates a more flavorful brew. The pour-over method is cheap: all you need is a little device to hold the filter and the filters themselves, and it can be made even cheaper (and more environmentally friendly) with the use of cloth filters. Some people swear they make better coffee, too!
Pour-over coffee, even more so than the French press method, is a slow-down-and-enjoy-the-journey approach to brewing. You can’t really ‘set it and forget it,’ and it’s hard to make lots of coffee this way. Additionally, there’s a bit of a learning curve for figuring out the best way to pour the hot water. Still, if you’re willing to put in a little extra effort, and you’re not serving a crowd, pour-over coffee will reward you with a bold, aromatic cup of coffee to get you going!
What if you prefer your coffee on ice? As trendy as cold brew coffee is, it’s super simple to make at home — you’ll be enjoying cafè-quality iced coffee overnight! The most significant advantage of making cold brew coffee is that it uses materials you probably already have at home. There’s no need for a shopping trip when all you need is a carafe and a bit of cheesecloth, so the investment is minimal. Talk about budget-friendly! Cold-brew coffee makes coffee that is very strong without unwanted bitterness. If hot drip coffee has you reaching for extra sugar to make it palatable — or even feeling ill after you drink it — cold brew is a great alternative. The lower temperature here keeps the tummy-troubling acidic oils from seeping into the finished coffee and into the flavor. The only drawback of cold brew coffee is that it must chill for several hours. Cold-brew converts usually throw together the ingredients together at night, toss them in the fridge, and wake up to a full carafe of delicious, smooth-tasting joe.
Instant coffee is fast, but it doesn’t always result in the best tasting cup. Fortunately, there’s another way that’s nearly as quick, and it could even be easier! Coffee bags work the same as teabags — they’re little paper sachets full of coffee grounds that you drop into your cup of hot water. It steeps in under five minutes and doesn’t require all the stirring that instant coffee does. It’s an ideal replacement for freeze-dried crystals, perfect for busy people who need a quick pick-me-up, but it can also be used to up your coffee game while traveling or camping since all you need is a cup and boiling water. Coffee bags are also an excellent alternative to those ubiquitous plastic coffee pods that create literal tons of environmental waste each year. And many coffee drinkers agree that it edges out instant coffee on taste, too!
So there you have them: four simple, cost-cutting measures to make cafè-quality java into at home – or on the go! Give them a try, and work out the one that’s right for you and your favorite coffee drinkers — and maybe, just maybe, become a little bit of a coffee snob yourself! After all, great coffee is what you deserve.