‘Never get out of bed before coffee. If you have to get out of bed before coffee, have coffee first.’
Our Mr. Coffee machine died yesterday. I ordered a new one. Now, I’m not one to be without the means to make a cuppa joe. I have a French press, a couple of moka (‘espresso’) pots – including a single-demitasse camp one (which is entirely insufficient), a couple of Vietnamese coffee makers, a Turkish coffee maker, a manual-drip pot (somewhere) I got from Gemco, and a filter that I can put over a cup (but no filters). Plus, there’s the Keurig machine I bought Mrs. L.A. a couple of years ago. If all else fails, I have a saucepan. But this morning I got out dad’s percolator that hasn’t been used in decades. (Come to think of it, I have a stovetop percolator in the ‘camping’ box in the storage unit too.)
So we’re set for coffee. But the automatic drip machine made ‘12 cups’ (three of my cups) so I’ll be glad when the new one arrives.
I’ve only encountered Keurig in hotel rooms. I can see the appeal; it’s quick, easy, and doesn’t make a mess. But I’d never buy a machine because then you are dependent on those little plastic packets they sell. If Keurig turns out to be a fad and the inserts aren’t available any more, the machine is useless, right?
Besides, grinding and measuring out coffee is part of the experience; coffee smells good.
I’m a bit of a wimp in regard to what I truly like, though. None of those super-dark roasts for me; I think they are too harsh. Just a medium-roasted mocha java will do. And I prefer a Kona blend rather than straight-up Kona coffee, which is too bright and acidic for me.
Our old coffeemaker died recently (I can’t remember the make), so I broke out the Mr Coffee we had in storage. Didn’t like it. The carafe dribbled if you didn’t pour just so. Bought a new one, also a Mr Coffee. Pours fine, thank you, AND has a strength setting so you can have stronger brew!
Right on man, Mr. Coffee all the way. People can talk about all kinds of other coffee devices, but I’ve seriously never had a better cup of coffee ANYWHERE than the ones I make myself in my own kitchen with a machine that cost, like, $30. But I do buy good beans, and grind them with a burr grinder.
I also bought Mrs. L.A. a reusable filter. She prefers the K-cups because she has only to pop them into the machine instead of having to put coffee into the filter (and clean it for the next cup), but I like the filter because I can put the coffee I want into it.
After I ordered the machine, but before it arrived, Mrs. L.A. said, ‘Don’t get me a Keurig machine for Christmas.’ I looked her in the eye and told her, ‘I did not get you a Keurig machine for Christmas.’ I bought it for her birthday (which usually falls on Thanksgiving). Once she had it, she liked it.
I generally buy Community Coffee French Roast. For a change, I like their Dark Roast and their Café Special. Just for kicks, I have a bag of Breakfast Blend on the way. The Café Special is a medium roast, and it’s probably the blend that turned me on to Community Coffee in the first place, on my trips to New Orleans. The Breakfast Blend is a lighter roast than that.
I love Community Coffee. I take advantage of their frequent 20%-off sales (25% this last time and the time before that) and free shipping with minimum purchase. And I get the 32 ounce bags. So it comes out to less than $6/pound. And I don’t have to go out to get it. The nice man in the brown truck, or the nice man in the white truck, brings it to my door. Of course they have flavoured coffees, half-caf, decaf, special blends, coffee-and-chickory, ground coffee, whole bean coffee, K-cups…
Dad taught me a trick with the percolator. The pot has a long spout. Put the sugar (which I don’t use) in first, then aim the spout at the perimeter of the inside of the cup. It stirs your additives for you and you don’t have to use a spoon.
Thanks for the tip. I have some vague recollection that I’ve tried Community Coffee and liked it. Now that I’m back living in the US I can have some shipped. Their Breakfast Blend looks like it would suit me just fine.
We used to use a Bodum Santos 12 cup vacuum coffee maker. The unit had to be tilted off level by about 3 degrees to get it to brew for long enough, but damn, vacuum is the best way to make coffee. After five or six years of daily use, the carafe finally overstressed and cracked beyond repair. Sadly, that unit was not replaceable when it died, so I had to go down to the hardware store for a percolator.
I know there are lots of fancy ways to make coffee, but Mr. Coffee has delivered my morning half-a-pot reliably and with quality my entire adult life. They do what they’re supposed to and for the price are insanely durable.
I find that coffee from a Mr. Coffee tastes like plastic. I’ve owned a couple of Mr. Coffee machines, and have used one at work and one at church. That’s at least 4 machines that deliver me a sub-par brew. I’ve also owned a Mr. Coffee Keurig machine, and after trying several different roasts I donated the thing to a church rummage sale—the plastic taste in that brew was worse than from the drip machines. I’ve also owned a Black & Decker drip pot and tasted the plastic as well. Judging by the positive approval for Mr. Coffee in this thread I suspect I just have unique taste buds.
So for me, I would switch these:
Based on a recommendation from right here on the Dope I picked up a few months ago this wonderful percolator. There’s not a molecule of plastic anywhere that touches the coffee and the whole thing is stainless steel, not aluminum. The coffee gets hotter than most standard drip pots (which makes for better extraction) yet doesn’t boil, which is one of the downsides of most stove-top percolators. Used with a filter the coffee is strong, hot, and oh so delicious. It takes a couple of extra steps to prepare the coffee than a Mr. Coffee does, but it’s so worth it.
In addition to the countertop percolator I have two French Presses (including one of the original Bodum ones from the 70’s with the cork base), at least two of those basket thingies that you set over a mug, two stove-top percolators, and one moka pot. The countertop percolator remains my favorite by far.
That is the one I have. Utter simplicity. It takes twelve long minutes to make a pot, none of those annoying sprung valve gizmos the let you grab a cup off the top while it is still running. And most importantly, no cut-off timer that turns off the heater after an hour or two. Because, coffee needs to be able to age in the pot for an hour or two to get that nice round flavor.
I’m personally fine with any coffee that isn’t offensively terrible. It’s interesting to see people experiment with different machines and methods. One thing that I’ve noticed is there are people who know their particular ideal cup of coffee, but who (through lack of the relevant information) end up buying a machine that is 100% focused on making something quite different. This wrong machine they buy is probably quite nice and has good reviews and recommendations - it just isn’t for their style of coffee.
If you are fighting any coffee appliance to get it to make something decent, consider that you may just have the ideal setup - for someone else’s style.