Best Coffee Maker

This is the very best drip coffee maker I’ve ever had, and I bought it for 49¢.
That’s it, the red thing you see sitting atop my coffee cup. I found it at a thrift store, and purchased it on a whim. I thought it would be perfect for making my own coffee at the office.
It’s nothing but a piece of plastic that holds a filter cone. It takes a size two filter but I use a size four, which works just fine. Swear to God, it makes the best tasting coffee.
I think I figured out why. It’s in the way I make and drink the coffee.
I grind the beans. I put them directly in the filter. I put the hot (but not boiling) purified water in. Three minutes or so later the cup of coffee is ready.
And… I drink it immediately.
It doesn’t sit in the pot, simmering. There’s no delay between when the coffee is brewed and when I drink it. I don’t set the coffee maker to go then walk away, forgetting about it. When I want a second cup, I’m forced to brew it up fresh — just like I did the last.
The secret is that coffee tastes the best within the first 20 minutes of brewing. After that, the coffee begins to break down, as does the flavor. This is why this little 49¢ wonder makes the best coffee.
Recently my old 12 cup maker went to the great coffee grinder in the sky, and I decided not to replace it. If I have friends over and want to make more than one cup at a time, I have a four-cup coffee press which, just like this, forces you to drink the coffee immediately. The only electric maker I have left is an espresso machine, and … well, I’ll not be giving that up anytime soon.
Funny, I now see these little coffee makers in stores for $10 and up. Outrageous! If you’re interested in getting one, check your local dollar store first.
UPDATE: I actually went out looking for more of these, but alas, the thrift store where I got mine has either moved or gone out of business. However, I did find that Melitta makes a whole line of little one cup coffee makers. I found these at various local grocery stores, all for under $10:

And I found them here online: Melitta USA

Can Coffee Ever Be Too Strong?

I’ve been experimenting a lot with how much coffee to use per cup of water, and have come to a startling conclusion: there is no such thing as coffee that is too strong.

Most of my old fellow co-workers drink their coffee so weak you can see through it. They don’t like strong coffee because to them, they equate stronger coffee to increased bitterness. To make up for lack of flavor, they add powdered creamer and lots of sugar.

That’s very sad. They have no idea what the real taste of coffee is like.

Case in point: an ex in-law of mine used to complain about how strong a coffee I used to make, and that’s after I would make it weaker than I’d like it because I knew she didn’t like it that strong. It turned into a quandary. We both didn’t like it, because to her it was still too strong, and for me it was not strong enough.

Then one day she had a cup of the brew I made for myself and said, “Wow, that’s really strong. The weird thing is I like it.” She went on about how surprised she was, that she never likes strong coffee. She wanted to know what I did to it.

That was years ago, and only now am I learning what is going on. Coffee cannot be too strong. If you think it’s too strong, it’s not strong enough.

What I’ve found through my experiments is that coffee’s flavor changes radically with strength. Make it weak, you get a feeble coffee flavor and little bitterness. Make it somewhat strong, and you get more flavor but much more bitterness. Keep adding coffee, and then the flavor starts catching up to the bitterness until at some point it actually passes it, and the bitterness is just a little note mixed in with all that wonderful coffee flavor.

So if you think it’s too strong because it’s too bitter, you have to add MORE coffee. You can’t make it too strong because at some point the water becomes saturated and can’t hold any more. And that, my friends, is when the coffee tastes the best.

Adding more coffee beyond that will not change the flavor, but it will waste coffee. Heaven forbid you waste precious coffee!

When the coffee manufacturers say use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per cup, they mean 6 ounce cups, not 8 ounce cups. It really is a good rule of thumb, but I’ve found about 2½ tablespoons works best for me. Any more than that and you’ve started wasting the coffee.

A lot of this depends, of course, on how you’re making the coffee. I’m basing this on a manual cone filter system sitting on top of a coffee cup. I put in very hot pure water and it passes quickly through the grounds, and I drink it immediately. I might add a bit of sweetener depending on the type of coffee.

But I’ll tell you this, I taste the coffee. And I love it.