The Dollars & Sense of Brewing Coffee at Home: Drink Day with Elizabetta Tekeste

I'm a fan (some may even say a fanatic) of neighborhood coffee shops. To me coffee shops service communities by creating new friendships, alliances, and a sense of camaraderie amongst fellow residents. And if you happen to live near one of the best coffee shops in New York[1] then in addition to the above mentioned you also get an awesome cuppa Joe!

Having said that, when we have to watch our dollars and cents- brewing at home doesn't have to mean compromising on taste.

There are several methods to brewing at home, I've taken my 3 favorite and prescribed their correct technique:

French Press

The way to your best and most dynamic cup of coffee at home is with the French Press. This is due to its ability to extract essential oils that are often trapped in paper filters.

Proper Brewing with a French Press:

1) As a rule of thumb I recommend using 2 heaping tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee (so that sediments don't steep into brew) for every cup of coffee. Also, grind the beans as you go along this preserves freshness. 2) Heat water to 195-205F (just before boiling). Spring water is ideal as tap water can impart flavors. 3) Remove the plunger and add coffee grinds. Pour hot water evenly over coffee, stir then let sit for exactly 4 minutes (use a timer!). 4) Press plunger to separate the grounds from the coffee pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

Pros to the French Press: -delivers perfect extraction -most affordable brewer

Cons to the French Press: -coffee quickly looses heat -press takes time to clean

Moka Press

The Moka can be found on range tops in households all over the globe. It produces caffe[2], otherwise known as espresso.

Proper Brewing with a Moka Press: 1) Begin by twisting off the top of the Moka counterclockwise while holding the base. Set filter and top to the side. 2) Fill the bottom of the Moka base with warm water (spring water is ideal). Don't go above the valve. 3) Add filter to the base and fill with fresh coffee (coarsely ground). Level with your finger or tap so that grounds settle. Thoroughly remove any excess grinds in and around the area before screwing top on. 4) Screw the top part of the Moka on and place on stovetop at medium temperature (if using a gas stove). 5) Leave for approximately 5 minutes. You will hear water begin to bubble inside. As water is being pushed up the valve open the lid and you'll begin to see crema form on the top. Avoid boiling, as it will burn the coffee. 6) Once the water has risen to the top remove and enjoy!

Pros to the Moka Press: -delivers espresso at home -a stainless Moka won't need to be replaced

Cons to the Moka Press: -it takes several trials and errors to iron out the kinks with the grind and temperature of the water -press takes time to clean

A Single Cup Cone Filter. This is the OTHER one-cup filter:

It's so simple to use it makes you wonder why anyone would choose the "other" drip coffee mechanism (wink, wink).

Proper brewing with A Single Cup Cone Filter: 1) Grind beans finely, if beans are too course there will be uneven distribution and bitterness. 2) Place funnel with filter over your favorite mug and add freshly ground beans. 3) With hot water (just before boiling) begin to evenly pour water over funnel. Make sure you're constantly moving the stream so that you evenly distribute the extraction of the oils. 4) Once you've poured a cups worth (approximately 8 oz) remove funnel and enjoy!

Pros to the Single Cup Cone Filter: -doesn't over brew -easy to make and just as easy to clean up

Cons to the Single Cup Cone Filter: -coffee quickly looses heat -plastic may leave after taste

Whatever you decide- do it for the love of coffee and treat yourself to great quality beans! After all, you're worth it! I wonder what Mr. Samuelsson's coffee of choice is?

Until next week, breathe well and be well!


[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/dining/10coffee.html

[2] In Italy, a "coffee" or "caffe" is an espresso.