Friday, April 3, 2015

Going Solo

Once, back in the day, my friend Jake worked at a coffee shop. Not just any coffee shop, a very FANCY coffee shop. He hosted a coffee tasting for us so we could sample the "fruity overtones" and "chocolate low notes" of a few different brews. He apologized for grinding the beans a half hour ago. He told us about water temperatures. I learned two things:

1. That coffee people can be a lot like wine people.

2. That 4 cups of coffee is the most I should legally be allowed to have for the safety of others.

These are two lessons I forgot swiftly when we first got our Keurig.

I loved my Keurig, Sharon, when we first got her. I loved her enough to name her after my favorite Cylon. I was so excited to have a fancy coffee maker!

But the k-cups were a bummer. They CAN NOT be recycled. Something even the creator of k-cups finds disappointing.   I was determined to find a way to reuse mine so I started seeds in them last year. They were perfect! You can start some seeds right in the grounds. I collect and scrap my grounds into the compost..and stack the cups together so they'll take up less space in the trash...but all of these things were not enough to make me feel less guilty about all the waste.

Right around Christmas our Keurig broke. B started making me french press coffee and I came to a startling realization- K-cup coffee is pretty terrible. OK. It's not terrible. It's fine. But it's really only just fine.

We got out Keurig to work again using this kooky video:

But there was no going back to the uninspiring taste of k-cup coffee.

French press coffee is lovely and creamy and a pain in the patoot to make ever day. Also, I'm really bad at it. I retired my Keurig to the pantry to think about what I would do with it. In the meantime I drank french press coffee when I planned ahead and Via when I didn't. If you've never had Via, don't try it, because it's completely phenomenal and also expensive. It's the only coffee I could drink without any sugar before my new discovery.

At some point I decided that I wanted to try out a reusable k-cup and started doing some research. To some people it's a pain to load this thing every time but since I drink one cup of coffee a day it wasn't that big of a deal for me. I also typically grind my own beans so I don't mind some extra fuss.  I ordered a Solofill reusable cup and eagerly anticipated its arrival. My first cup of coffee was terrible but then I did some reading and now I know the tricks to make excellent coffee with this thing.

1. Grind, grind and gind some more.  If your grounds are too chunky this thing won't work. You want sand sized grounds are the best.

2. Fill it. Knock it on the counter. Fill it. Knock it on the counter. You only want to fill it to the fill line, to avoid spraying hot water everywhere, but it's important to settle the grains before you brew. I noticed when I did this I could get about 4 more teaspoons in, and that made a big difference.

That's it. It's pretty easy. Now that I have the routine down it goes really fast and it's worth the extra effort. I've heard that pre-ground coffee works as well but I really love the coffee at our local food co-op so I don't mind grinding it at home.

Clearly I am a coffee snob now. My friend Gretel once told me that she was surprised I didn't like beer because she could see me being one of those "Craft beer types." Little did she know that I have fruity overtones about something else. 

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