Since this is the Coffee House, how many of you enjoy coffee and if so what kind?
In the past I was really into coffee, getting single source varietal green beans and roasting my own, fancy line up of brewers and several burr grinders. Now, living alone, my priorities have shifted towards small volume and fast creation. I still go the full route a couple times a year when a particular crop strikes my fancy, but for day to day it is the Single Serve coffee route.
There are several types of single serve machines available, the pod machines, the Keurig Kcup machines and the proprietary machines like the Tassimo and Nespresso.
The pods are small round prepackaged units that are usually individually sealed in a nitrogen purged package (except for the very high volume companies like Senseo and Folgers that package loose pods in a big bag and not individual wrappings). Because the coffee is roasted, ground and immediately packaged away in a sealed environment it reatains the "just roasted" characteristics for extended periods.
The advantage to the pods route is that it is not a proprietary format and so they are available from many sources and you can find a far wider selection of coffees that in any other format. There are also quite a few companies making the pod brewers so you have a wide range of manufacturers and styles available.
The Keurig Kcups have a pretty good selection from a dozen or so suppliers. They are a small sealed cup about twice the volume of a commercial creamer. The Kcups themselves are available from several suppliers but all the machines are made by Keurig.
So is anyone else using a Single Serve machine? If not, what is your favored way to make coffee and why?
I have just about all of them, but the best pod machines right now are either the Bunn MyCafe or the GrindMaster OPOD. Right now I have an OPOD and a Keurig sitting on the counter and can't really choose between them. The Keurig is much quieter (not that either are what I would call loud), both make great coffee, but the variety is greater with the pod system. You can read more about them at SingleServe Coffee.
If you want to try single serve without investing much, Senseo is running a Share Senseo promotion where you can get them to send you a Senseo machine for just shipping. The Senseo machine is okay, it makes a nice cup of coffee, not quite as distinctive as the Bunn MyCafe or GrindMaster OPOD, but a great way to start.
Right now I am enjoying and Aloha Island Estates 100% Kona decafe coffee, dark roasted.
I often go to the restaurant a few blocks away for a cup, its horrid tasting but its the only social thing I do. Gets my face out of a book or off the computer. :)
At home I make fresh gound Ethiopian. My wife and I discovered a coffee shop in the next city (Regina) that has a variety from around the world. After trying almost all the types we agreed on Ethiopian. Given its a 45 minute drive to get more coffee we bought a grinder and now buy a larger quantity.
Black or a little bit of sugar. Simply the best coffee I have had.
I generally haven't been drinking that much coffee lately.
Being on a tight budget, I've just been buying the cheapest canned pre-ground coffee at the store (which isn't as bad as it might be). I dump the coffee into a pot, fill with water, and bring to a boil. Pour from the pot through a strainer into the cup, usually with a healthy dose of sugar. Put a lid on the remaining stuff and reheat as needed. But hey, it's just starter fluid.
When I'm willing to spend +/-$34 for a 5 pound of beans, I have a friend who functions as the local distributer for Cafe Mam. Or I can go over to his house and drinks his brew. The usual variety is the Italian roast.
At home I generally brew using a Mr. Coffee espresso machine. Not at full espresso strength, just at good and strong standard. Except right now, I've living without electricity and my grinder quit working anyway.
My espresso machine is currently at work, along with a supply of the same cheap coffee that I use at home. Don't drink much coffee at work, but now and then I'll do a couple of cups.
Things could change as the weather gets colder.
Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.
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I dump the coffee into a pot, fill with water, and bring to a boil. Pour from the pot through a strainer into the cup, usually with a healthy dose of sugar.
The first time I had that method of brewing was while camping - so now I call it "campfire coffee". I was actually quite supprised at how good it was. I think the boiling of the grounds brings out the flavour better than the standard drip brewing.
It looks dangerous, but it keeps you up for a week/cup and it tastes quite good!
I tend to agree on Ethiopian coffees, also the very similar Yemen Mochas. Right now I have four different Ethiopian coffees on the shelf, a Yirgacheffe, a Limu, a Kimssa and a Sidamo. The Yirgacheffe in particular has an almost overwhelming blueberry note. Amazing.
The single serve route is more expensive per cup than other methods, but there is also no waste. Like the French Press, you make one cup at a time, but unlike the French Press, the time required is about 60 seconds from urge to surge and there is no mess to clean up.
My experience has been that buying the more expensive low volume pods or Kcups works out to between 40 to 60 cents a cup. As I said though, there is no waste since you make just one cup at a time.
To date we don't have a lot of experience with more exotic/expensive coffees, not nearly on a par with the adventurous side of our beer consumption. :) Generally I am more into flavored coffees and creamers, which is probably like a sacrilege to a real coffee buff.We tend to buy any of the beans you can get at the supermarket and grind in-store, but I am curious; I have known people who use a pinch of salt in the brewer, which seems to make the coffee a bit smoother in the right quantity, and I recall hearing other tips for reducing acidity? or enhancing the taste/texture of the pot.
Right now I have four different Ethiopian coffees on the shelf, a Yirgacheffe, a Limu, a Kimssa and a Sidamo.
Until you mentioned it I had not realized there was distictions within the country of origin. I looked up the names you listed and to hazard a quess I would say our beans are Sidamo. Next trip I intend to find out!
Our second favourite was the Kenyan, it had a similar taste but slightly more bitter. The closest we have had to Kona is a blend, its impossible to get in Saskatchewan.
works out to between 40 to 60 cents a cup.
I generally buy a 1/2 kg bag so its a tough guess per cup. At the restaurant its 1.50 so when at home a great cup of coffee is still cheaper.
Generally I am more into flavored coffees and creamers, which is probably like a sacrilege to a real coffee buff
I am not sure if I would be called a "buff", but yes its sacrilege. My wife however would agree with you, so in the end - what do I know. :P
The best coffee I ever had was this cappuccino in a big bowl-mug that came out of this machine in a youth hostel in Venice. The guy wasn't even a barrista, I don't think; just the guy who would push the lever on the machine and fill the mug. I don't even think it was a real espresso machine.
I don't know how it worked or what the beans were, and I can't imagine that the cafeteria at a youth hostel was springing for gourmet beans, but that was, hands-down, by far, the best mug of coffee I've ever, ever had.
I'm guessing that it was instant coffee? I don't know about here in the US, but in some countries you can get pretty good instant coffee. The process of making instant coffee results in different proportions of the flavor compounds, so it is rather different than coffee made from ground beans.
And, to preempt those who claim that a true purist would never drink instant coffee, there are instant coffee drinkers who insist that they are the true purists.
Our second favourite was the Kenyan, it had a similar taste but slightly more bitter.
There are lots of different African Coffees and even in just Kenya many different styles. There is the general coffees graded just Kenya then Kenya AA and finally those from specific regions like Kenya Mt. Kilimanjaro. You can also find beans from specific estates or farms in most areas and there can be an enormous difference in beans from different farms only a few miles apart.
Right now I have several Kenyans here, two just Kenya AA and two different Mt. Kilimanjaro Estate coffees, one roasted medium and the other a Dark Roast.