I’ve been flooded with emails asking about the different kinds of coffeemakers I have at my house since I wrote about my AeroPress over at Money Saving Mom, so today I’m going to answer the two most frequent questions: what kind of coffeemaker I use, and how I grind my coffee.
Uh, actually, I have 4 coffeemakers, and it has taken some serious restraint to limit my coffeemaker collection to just these 4. (And I’m just realizing that every single one of these coffeemakers was a Christmas gift, so if you have a coffee lover in your life, take notice!)
These are the coffee makers I have in my house, in order of acquisition:
The coffeemaker we’ve had the longest is a Cuisinart programmable drip coffeemaker with a thermal carafe. It makes decent coffee (although here’s a tip: if you heat up your water a bit before you pour it into the chamber of your automatic drip coffeemaker, you’ll brew better coffee. Try it–it works.) This machine no longer lives on my kitchen counter because I don’t use it often, but it’s still my go-to choice when we host hoards of guests, because I can prep the coffee hours in advance and brew it by pushing a button. Or programming it to start automatically.
This is also a fabulous coffeemaker for when we’re in a busy season and I want to be able to stagger downstairs to ready-and-waiting freshly brewed coffee.
We’ve had the Bodum Chambord French Press for years: this coffee press was our first venture into non-autodrip coffee many years ago. It’s fun to use and really pretty, takes up very little space, and makes a strong, full-bodied brew that contains enormous quantities of caffeine. (I can’t drink french press after noon if I want to sleep that night!) I pull this out when we have coffee-loving guests, because it’s easy, fun to serve, and the coffee is excellent.
I’ve told you all about my beloved AeroPress. Seriously, I love this thing. You can read my post for Money Saving Mom here about how we use our AeroPress to make lattes at home. I bought my husband one of these for Christmas a few years ago after reading a rave review in Cooks Illustrated, thinking that it was worth taking a chance on a $25 contraption that could make espresso. We’ve lovingly referred to it as The Kitchen Gadget That Changed Our Lives ever since.
The Chemex is the newest addition to our repertoire. It’s a pourover method: you insert a cone-shaped paper filter into the top of the hourglass carafe and pour hot water over the ground coffee. This is weekend coffee at my house: it takes forever to heat up the water, and poring it s-l-o-w-l-y over the grounds for the best flavor isn’t something I care to do on weekdays. But the coffee is rich and clean, and it’s a pleasure to use such a beautiful tool. This is my favorite coffeemaker when we’re having devoted coffee fans over for dinner or dessert.
Many readers asked about coffee grinders: you definitely don’t have to have a grinder to make good coffee at home, but it helps a lot. Freshly ground coffee tastes much, much better than even 3-day-old ground coffee, and the older it gets, the more flavor you lose. That’s the key problem with pre-ground coffee. Inexpensive blade grinders can be had for $20 or less, and then you can always have freshly ground coffee at home, ground exactly as you need it (because I need finely ground for my Aeropress, medium for the Chemex and Cuisinart, and coarse for the French press).
Many readers asked me what kind of grinder I use. I use this $40 Cuisinart burr grinder, which is just about the cheapest burr grinder you can find. I’m sure my inexpensive burr grinder can’t hold a candle to the top-of-the-line grinders, but I love it anyway. The Amazon reviews were mixed, so I bought mine at Bed Bath & Beyond so I could take advantage of their excellent warranty if I had any trouble. Sure enough, my first one broke within the one-year warranty period, so I swapped it out at my local store for a new one. (Yes, it was really that easy.) My replacement grinder been going strong for 2 1/2 years. When it breaks, we may upgrade to a slightly nicer burr grinder, but for now, this one is great.
Before we got our burr grinder, we used a basic Krups blade grinder. I bought this when I was in college and it worked great for 10 years(!) before it finally died. Blade grinders aren’t the greatest grinders, but for $20 you can have fresh-ground coffee at home, and that is totally worth it to me. (For better results, gently shake the grinder up and down while you’re grinding.)
And for those of you who’ve asked, here’s the recipe for the homemade gingerbread syrup I’ve mentioned that you can use to make your own gingerbread latté at home.
What kinds of coffee gadgetry do you have at your house? What’s your favorite? (And if you have any other coffee questions, hit me in comments and I’ll do my best!)