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Ok, coffee drinkers: I'm ready to learn!


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I have never liked regular coffee but I do enjoy a mocha latte (hot or iced), pumpkin spice latte, and hazelnut latte??... I think it's hazelnut...

 

Those have always just been fun treats to power through a big shopping day or spring cleaning. Until now. I've packed up all the kids and gone out every morning this week to Starbucks. :ohmy: This habit has been ramping up over the last year. Once a week. Then twice a week. Then whenever I went out to do errands.

 

Anyway, how do I get a morning caffeine boost at home without the things I don't like about regular coffee? It's too bitter and I can taste the paper from the filter (I can taste tea bag paper too).

 

What machine(s) do I want? What coffee products do I need?

 

FYI: We had a Keurig and replaced it twice. They kept frying on us so we gave up. I thought the latte ones were watery. Not a fan. My dh just used it to make coffee with the reusable k cup. Not worth the money for us.

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If you want to start super cheap and easy, you could get an aero press to make a good, strong coffee (but it's not espresso). Make sure you start with a good coffee. Then get a basic milk frother to get some good frothy milk. Use a good cream or half and half to make it really rich. Or if you want it sweet you can even froth flavored creamers. IKEA sells a frother

for under $3 if you want super simple :)

 

There are way better things to do with espresso makers and high end machines but this would be a no frill way to start to experiment. I started out this way with way more milk and sugar than coffee but now really appreciate a good coffee with a little splash of creamer and no sugar.

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For your iced coffee drinks, you might try making cold brew coffee at home to see if you find it less bitter. (And, I always put leftover coffee in ice cube trays to make coffee cubes for iced coffee. When they're frozen, I pop them out & store them in a ziplock in the freezer. That way, your drink doesn't get watery as the ice melts.)

 

For hot coffee, buy a gold reusable filter for your coffee brewer. Or get a french press. That will eliminate the paper filter/taste issue.

Edited by Stacia
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Given your preferences, you'd probably do best with a French press and the flavored creamer you get in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. The French press is more work- and you'll definitely want to grind your own beans for the best flavor- but it makes good, strong coffee that holds up to flavored creamer.

 

Don't buy the nasty non-dairy creamer, though. Yuck.

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Good coffee press that has the advantages of a French press but doesn't lose heat. It also works great for loose leaf tea:

https://www.wholesalehomeimp.com/products/babble?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=googlepla&variant=31741591235&gclid=CKHgxOGGpdMCFYeTfgodvzMCJw

 

My favorite hand burr grinder, worth every penny for the solid and consistent grinding which is crucial to coffee quality:

http://www.oehandgrinders.com/LIDO-2_c_23.html

 

The best source for truly scrumptious beans, and a great way to expose yourself to a ton of coffee varietals and figure out what you like. The coffee subscription was inexpensive compared to going to a coffee shop and the beans were top shelf delicious, I think I had maybe two bags out of dozens that I didn't absolutely love:

https://bluebottlecoffee.com/at-home

 

There are also great brewing guides on blue bottle if you need some more help. But I brew gourmet coffee cheaply with these three things. I like dressing it up with heavy cream and flavored coffee syrups too, but I find with the right beans I really don't need half as much 'stuff' in my cup :)

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Ikea sells a stovetop esspresso maker for under $20. It's wonderful. You can make your esspresso, heat up some milk in the microwave for a latte, and just add in whatever real flavouring you like (with or without the sugar). Super simple. You can decide how much to dilute the esspresso, how much sweetness, etc.

 

http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/30149839/

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Go low tech.

 

Get a Melitta 4 cup cone.  Then get those muslin coffee filters that you reuse--they are great for those who can taste paper.  Put the cone on top of a heavy ceramic 'coffee pot'.  Put the filter in it, and put in about twice as much grounds as called for in 'the recipe'.  Use Kona coffee--it's less bitter than most.  Or Antigua (which is from Guatemala), ditto.  I prefer to grind my own, fresh, but if you don't want to make that big of an investment, you can buy ground to try.    

 

Then when you make the coffee, let the water boil (in a tea kettle), turn off the heat, pour just a tiny bit into the grounds to moisten them, wait long enough to take a deep breath and let it out, and then pour in the water, enough to slowly fill the cone.  Let it drip through, and taste it.  If it's too strong, you can add a little more water, but bring it back to a boil first.

 

Dishwater coffee is usually just too dilute.  Bitter coffee is a combo of roasted too darkly, and made at too close to boiling temperature.  The little pause in making yours is enough to drop the temperature down just a bit so that the bitter extraction won't happen much.

 

Try different milks in yours.  DH loves cream in his.  His parents like condensed milk, which I think is disgusting.  I like 2% milk best, but 1% or even nonfat are also OK.  I put in a little bit of sugar, about 1/4 of the coffee volume of milk, and a sprinkle of Ceylon Cinnamon on top.   

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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I generally find regular coffee too *acidic* -- related to your 'bitter' perhaps. Choosing the right coffee and roast made a difference for me. The typical American coffee -- Colombian, I think -- cannot stand it. But an Ethiopian Harar or Sumatra Mandheling? Delicious. And I like a darker roast, not espresso, but dark and less acid.

 

I like pp suggestion of trying a range of coffees.

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Good coffee press that has the advantages of a French press but doesn't lose heat. It also works great for loose leaf tea:

https://www.wholesalehomeimp.com/products/babble?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=googlepla&variant=31741591235&gclid=CKHgxOGGpdMCFYeTfgodvzMCJw

 

Can you taste the silicone/rubber in the lid? Some of the Amazon reviewers say they can, and it's pretty bad? Also, how easy is it to clean, especially to get the grounds out?

 

Thanks!!

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Ikea sells a stovetop esspresso maker for under $20. It's wonderful. You can make your esspresso, heat up some milk in the microwave for a latte, and just add in whatever real flavouring you like (with or without the sugar). Super simple. You can decide how much to dilute the esspresso, how much sweetness, etc.

 

http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/30149839/

 

 

Except that those devices are not really espresso.  It is strong coffee and often decent tasting, but if you want real espresso you have to have the bar pressure.

 

http://gatheringgroundscafe.com/why-stovetop-espresso-is-not-the-same-as-true-espresso/

 

Many don't care at all, and that is fine, but I just wanted to point it out.

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Except that those devices are not really espresso.  It is strong coffee and often decent tasting, but if you want real espresso you have to have the bar pressure.

 

http://gatheringgroundscafe.com/why-stovetop-espresso-is-not-the-same-as-true-espresso/

 

Many don't care at all, and that is fine, but I just wanted to point it out.

 

Don't care at all. It takes up no room in my kitchen, and I'm the only one using it. I did have a ridiculously big "proper" machine for a while and never touched it. 

 

Besides, I really don't need my esspresso that strong. I'm making latte so I'd be diluting any esspresso I made.

Edited by wintermom
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:lurk5: Following.

 

I only recently discovered that mocha = coffee + chocolate!

 

Yes, I lived under a rock before then. I just thought mocha was coffee and I never drank coffee. A whole new world, mocha!

I stir in a large spoonful of hot chocolate into my coffee every morning. Not a real mocha, but I like it.

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Don't care at all. It takes up no room in my kitchen, and I'm the only one using it. I did have a ridiculously big "proper" machine for a while and never touched it. 

 

Besides, I really don't need my esspresso that strong. I'm making latte so I'd be diluting any esspresso I made.

 

 

Yeah, many don't care, but I wanted the OP to know it is more of a strong coffee.

 

I don't like flavors at all.  I like a real espresso and real milk frothed and no flavors other than actual coffee.

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I don't like flavors at all. I like a real espresso and real milk frothed and no flavors other than actual coffee.

This is me. Good, real espresso and frothed milk. No flavors, just good beans.

 

I started out like OP, with occasional trips to the espresso shop. Then weekly, then more often. When we hit daily, with the desire for an afternoon trip, DH talked me into a real machine. (Cue angels singing as sun comes out.)

 

Get fresh roasted beans. Always check the roasting date before buying. If you're in a coffee club or have a subscription, they should roast the day before shipping. Even if you love your coffee, you'll love it more just roasted.

 

For inexpensive - try a French press. You could get a milk frother, if you like that. I prefer nothing silicon near my espresso. I can taste it. But nothing beats espresso here, so the French press really only comes out if our machine is not working for some reason.

Edited by Spryte
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Oh, BTW?  That old, low tech Melitta method has gotten a trendy new name.  It is now 'Pour Over' coffee, and it's all the rage.  So we went from luddite to techie in one jump!  One great thing about it is that the coffee maker cannot break down, because there are no electronics.  You can even do this camping.  

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Oh, BTW?  That old, low tech Melitta method has gotten a trendy new name.  It is now 'Pour Over' coffee, and it's all the rage.  So we went from luddite to techie in one jump!  One great thing about it is that the coffee maker cannot break down, because there are no electronics.  You can even do this camping.  

 

I use a one serving Melitta cone in the RV. It's lightweight, non-breakable, easy to clean/dispose of grounds and doesn't take up much room. Those are all big pluses in an RV! I have a French press and like it okay, but mine is glass and very messy to clean, so definitely not something you'd want to take camping or RV'ing. Plus I don't think the coffee it makes is any better than with the Melitta cone.

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Yeah, french press and flavored creamers will work well for you.  And buy the coffee at starbucks if you like it so much.  Why not?  My mom buys Dunkin Donuts coffee because she realized that is what she really likes. The Starbucks coffee is a bit expensive (I think?) but think how much you are saving by not buying a latte etc!  It really is a better buy.

 

DH and I make cold brewed coffee in our french press.  It's really easy. We just pour the water over the coffee, stir, etc after dinner and then press it in the morning. Easy peasy. We make it hot in the machine in the colder weather though. I don't know why because we like the cold brewed so much better and we could just warm it up, lol.  Hey, I don't make the coffee, I just drink it, so I don't ask questions.

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Yeah, french press and flavored creamers will work well for you.  And buy the coffee at starbucks if you like it so much.  Why not?  My mom buys Dunkin Donuts coffee because she realized that is what she really likes. The Starbucks coffee is a bit expensive (I think?) but think how much you are saving by not buying a latte etc!  It really is a better buy.

 

DH and I make cold brewed coffee in our french press.  It's really easy. We just pour the water over the coffee, stir, etc after dinner and then press it in the morning. Easy peasy. We make it hot in the machine in the colder weather though. I don't know why because we like the cold brewed so much better and we could just warm it up, lol.  Hey, I don't make the coffee, I just drink it, so I don't ask questions.

 

If super fresh isn't an issue for you (general you, not you specifically) Costco has a House blend that says Kirkland brand, roasted by Starbucks, that is much cheaper than going to Starbucks and buying.

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Have you tried the Via Instant Starbucks Mocha Latte? You can buy them at Target or a grocery store. They have both Kerig ones and "add hot water" ones.

 

To me, they taste very similar to what you get at Starbucks and they are easier and much cheaper. I switched when my Starbucks Mocha Latte habit got out of control.

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You might want to look into cold brewing. That way you keep the concentrate in your fridge and just add it to hot or cold milk or water as you see fit. DH has a thing he uses for this, but my sister just McGyvers it with no special equipment other than regular kitchen things. DH likes to use French Market Coffee with Chicory to do this. The chicory blend is smooth and the cold brewing also makes a much less bitter coffee than a hot brew. Lemme find some links . . .

 

How-to video with no special equipment:

 

 

Here is the carafe thing DH uses. https://www.amazon.com/Toddy-Coffee-Maker-Extra-Filters/dp/B0040ZR0VS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492358498&sr=8-1&keywords=Cold+brew+toddy+maker

 

It's all trendy now, but we've had this thing for over 20 years. Every 5 years or so I order fresh filters, but they're reusable, not paper, and last a really long time. We know the couple who is literally French Market's oldest customers and they would order the coffee by the case from Louisiana when they moved away from there. Back then, they sold the toddy maker too so that's how we got ours before Internet shopping was a thing.

 

Cold brew and some coffee syrups might be just what you really want.

Edited by KungFuPanda
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Get fresh roasted beans. Always check the roasting date before buying. If you're in a coffee club or have a subscription, they should roast the day before shipping. Even if you love your coffee, you'll love it more just roasted.

 

Or roast them yourself.    I bought my husband a Behmore1600 Gourmet coffee roaster and get a variety of green coffee beans from Sweet Maria's.  They have beans from all over the world with a variety of flavors.  We get the 8 count espresso sampler for $40 which usually lasts the whole year. 

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I confess I didn't read all the posts, but I love coffee...so I'll chime in with my favorites...

 

First off, do you like cold brew coffee??  I do.  I like iced coffee anyway, and I prefer the taste of cold brew.  IMHO it is smoother. 

I have this carafe: 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Hario-Mizudashi-Coffee-Maker-1000ml/dp/B00I7JKAQ0/ref=pd_lpo_229_bs_t_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QH4JNKNRJZDK2HT88TD0 

 

Just add ground coffee, water (preferably filtered), and put it in the fridge overnight.  Next day, poor out the grounds (or keep them for your garden).  Add whatever milk or syrup or sweetener you want.

 

If you prefer hot coffee, then I prefer a french press.  It is easy, economical, and fairly inexpensive.

 

Always start with good quality coffee.  If you want to grind it yourself, then get a good whole bean and a grinder.  If not, then get good quality ground coffee.  Starbucks will grind for you if you buy whole beans from them.  Our local artesan coffee shops will also do that for you.  I like Cafe Britt Tarrazu

 

Sweetners? 

you can make a simple syrup by disolving 1 cup sugar with 1 cup boiling water.  If you want peppermint, you can add peppermint extract or chop up a candy cane and melt it.  For vanilla, add some vanilla extract. 

Chocolate syrup is good too :)  Good ole Hershey's is my go to syrup.  But, I have made my own.  Alton Brown has a good recipe. 

I have not had much luck making caramel or white chocolate syrup so I buy those.

 

Milk?

My new favorite is almond milk/coconut milk combo by Silk.  It is smooth and blends well

Barista Blend by Califia is one of my favorites too.

Of course, you use regular milk, but I'm avoiding dairy and the 2 I mentioned have become favorites.

creamers...both milk, almond, and coconut are available both plain and flavored.

ice cream works too :)

sweetened condensed milk makes a really rich, lush coffee

 

whipped cream?  drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce on top.  And my personal favorite for holidays:  sprinkles!

 

Pioneer Woman has some interesting recipes for coffee.  She also has one about cold brew coffee with out a carafe

 

 

Edited by HollyDay
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Can you taste the silicone/rubber in the lid? Some of the Amazon reviewers say they can, and it's pretty bad? Also, how easy is it to clean, especially to get the grounds out?

 

Thanks!!

No, I can't taste it at all. It's just like a portafilter on an espresso machine. And silicone I've never been able to taste, unless it has residue on it. I rinse mine after use and hand wash it a little more thoroughly every few days and the taste is as neutral as a pourover cone or glass french press. I've had my Impress brewer for four years or so and it's had zero problems or replacements. The only minor criticism I have is the paint and dots have worn off mine just slightly over the last thousand uses or so ;)

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If super fresh isn't an issue for you (general you, not you specifically) Costco has a House blend that says Kirkland brand, roasted by Starbucks, that is much cheaper than going to Starbucks and buying.

I'm a coffee bean snob but the teal bags of Kirkland brand decaf are really quite good if you need less caffeine too. That's a good economy option if Starbucks is to your liking more than the gourmet options. I'm drinking that decaf right now actually.

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Except that those devices are not really espresso. It is strong coffee and often decent tasting, but if you want real espresso you have to have the bar pressure.

 

http://gatheringgroundscafe.com/why-stovetop-espresso-is-not-the-same-as-true-espresso/

 

Many don't care at all, and that is fine, but I just wanted to point it out.

Yeah, moka pots are their own kind of delicious :). Same way the aeropress isn't espresso either, but is also really fantastic. They're just different ways of bringing out various characteristics through brewing and percolating methods. I do not buy into one method being superior to another as they each have strengths and weaknesses.

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Oh, BTW?  That old, low tech Melitta method has gotten a trendy new name.  It is now 'Pour Over' coffee, and it's all the rage.  So we went from luddite to techie in one jump!  One great thing about it is that the coffee maker cannot break down, because there are no electronics.  You can even do this camping.  

 

My mother will be happy to know how hip she is. She has been brewing coffee like this since time immemorial - or at least since I can remember.

 

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I'm a coffee bean snob but the teal bags of Kirkland brand decaf are really quite good if you need less caffeine too. That's a good economy option if Starbucks is to your liking more than the gourmet options. I'm drinking that decaf right now actually.

 

Have you tried these?

 

https://www.boulderorganiccoffee.com/

 

I have not. Just trying to gather opinions. Also, some years ago, someone raved over Toomer's Coffee. https://www.toomerscoffee.com/

 

Anyone have an opinion on that? Now and then I am looking for something different.

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Or roast them yourself. I bought my husband a Behmore1600 Gourmet coffee roaster and get a variety of green coffee beans from Sweet Maria's. They have beans from all over the world with a variety of flavors. We get the 8 count espresso sampler for $40 which usually lasts the whole year.

Oooh, I have been looking at those! How do you like it? Where do you roast yours?

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Ok, here's what I decided to start with. I went to Starbucks yesterday and got a bag of coffee (light roast) and I did the cold brew no special equipment method. I tried it with cream but had to add a dash of hot chocolate mix, lol!

 

I am interested in a french press and milk frother being my next purchases. Maybe I'll be roasting my own beans in a few years. ;)

 

Thanks for all the help everyone. I never would have thought I'd have a "coffee stuff" folder in my favorites but here I am after three kids, homeschooling, and all y'alls great links! :laugh:

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Oooh, I have been looking at those! How do you like it? Where do you roast yours?

Hubby does the roasting out on the patio since the roaster gets really smoky.  We tried it once in the house and my house smelled like burned coffee for days.  It has to be done in a well ventilated area which means outside.  He loves the roaster and ends up giving away roasted beans to friends.  

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Hubby does the roasting out on the patio since the roaster gets really smoky. We tried it once in the house and my house smelled like burned coffee for days. It has to be done in a well ventilated area which means outside. He loves the roaster and ends up giving away roasted beans to friends.

Thanks! I thought it might get smoky, so considered putting it in the garage. That might not work either. Still, DH is up for trying.

 

I'd forgotten about the popcorn popper method, Dawn! :)

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With the cold press method, does it taste good if you decide to heat it up in the microwave for hot coffee? I'm thinking this might be great for RV trips! I like that mellita thing idea, but then I'd have to boil water. That seems like more work than getting a tiny coffee pot! Also, how long does ground coffee last? I wouldn't use it at home bc I have a Keurig. Thanks!

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With the cold press method, does it taste good if you decide to heat it up in the microwave for hot coffee? I'm thinking this might be great for RV trips! I like that mellita thing idea, but then I'd have to boil water. That seems like more work than getting a tiny coffee pot! Also, how long does ground coffee last? I wouldn't use it at home bc I have a Keurig. Thanks!

I'm not a coffee drinker, but DH and dd add the cold brew to hot water to make a hot drink. It's so concentrated that they don't need that much, but I don't know if they heat the water with or without the coffee. It would be easy enough to try both ways.

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