Brewing Coffee Manually

Better coffee. One cup at a time.

Category: Coffee Hacks (page 1 of 4)

Don’t Stress About the Coffee this Christmas

With all the Christmas festivities and holiday gatherings at hand, the traffic to my post about the best grocery store coffee has skyrocketed. I can almost feel the angst behind this relatively marginal, yet ever-present issue. “Will the coffee I have be good enough for {insert “coffee snob” name here}?”

The funny thing about this question is that there is a lot of angst on both sides of the coin. The host wants their guests to enjoy the fare that is provided. The guest wants to be gracious and not put up a fuss about a simple cup of coffee.

Thinking about that forlorn host searching google for the perfect coffee inspired this post, but I also couldn’t help thinking about the coffee lover, bemoaning a silly cup of coffee.

Here are a few thoughts on how the coffee question can go from an awkward situation to a non-issue or even something that brings community and enhances the festivities.

For the Host- Don’t Stress about It, It’s Just Coffee

If you are hosting a gathering, realize that there is really no reason to stress about the “coffee snob” (I prefer coffee enthusiast) that is coming to your party.

Most coffee lovers wouldn’t want someone to go out of their way or make excuses all day for “bad coffee”. Trust me, if coffee is that important to them, they will probably just bring some.

Please do not be offended if someone brings coffee to your gathering. This is not a slam on you as a host but merely an assertion of preference. Most coffee enthusiasts have a hard time keeping their love of coffee to themselves and thus will probably want to share a coffee they have been enjoying.

Some Simple Action Steps for the Host

If you don’t know much about coffee but want to accommodate your coffee loving guest, ask them about it. Don’t waste your time guessing what coffee they would like and fretting about it. Get them on the phone and ask them if there is a particular coffee that they enjoy and where it can be found.

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How to Brew with the Kalita Kantan-Brew Guide and Informational

Last week, I championed the Kalita Kantan as a great coffee-on-the-go solution for those looking to keep it simple and disposable. This week I wanted to post my Kantan brew guide along with some tips for brewing with minimal equipment (away from your home coffee bar).

What is the Kalita Kantan

The Kalita Kantan is a 3.5 inch by 4 inch disposable pour-over brewer made of cardboard and an attached filter. They are sold in packs of thirty and are completely flat prior to folding for use. At about a quarter a piece (6.80 for thirty on Amazon right now), there is really no other brewer that is as portable, simple or disposable.

Last week Sharon from the Magic Coffee Truck pointed out that Coffee Blenders has a device that is similar to the Kantan but comes preloaded with coffee. While not necessarily a bad thing, it is best to have complete control of what coffee you use and when it is ground.

If you are looking for a great way to make about 200mL of pour-over coffee, the Kantan fits the bill pretty swimmingly.

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Coffee-on-the-go: Trader Joe’s Pour-over pouch and two viable alternatives

From airplanes to hotel rooms, there are contingencies for nearly every coffee-on-the-go situation. My tiny travel coffee kit (it all fits in the Aeropress bag) can make me a great cup of coffee anywhere there is electricity but it takes a little startup capital.

I am always on the lookout for easier, less hassle ways to brew a cup of coffee in a pinch. That is why my interest was piqued a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon the Trader Joe’s Pour-Over Coffee Brewer. There is a whole market segment dedicated to simple and disposable ways to source a good cup of coffee.

Here are my musings on the disposable Trader Joe’s coffee brewer (spoiler alert: I was not impressed) as well as two viable coffee-on-the-go alternatives.

The Trader Joe’s Pour-Over Coffee Brewer

The Trader Joe’s Pour-Over pouch can be purchased at the store for $1.49 or online for $18.49 for a six pack. It contains 20 grams of pre-ground Arabica coffee. The title is a bit of a misnomer as it is not a pour-over but an immersion brewer (like the French press).

The packaging had a best by date (5-20-17) and stated that the coffee was packed in Denmark. I was curious if this was pretty standard for Trader Joe’s coffees, but could not find anything about where their other coffees where packed or roasted.

It surprised me when I opened up the top of the pour-over pouch to check out the inner workings. I expected to see some sort of coffee tea bag on the interior perhaps like they have for single brewers (non K-cups) in hotel rooms. Instead, there is a rectangular filter in the top of the pouch that holds the coffee. Outside of this filter is room for more water and an outlet to a spout for decanting your coffee when it is finished brewing.

To use this Trader Joe’s Pour-Over pouch, simply add hot water up to one of the two fill lines (for a stronger or weaker cup) and let steep for four minutes. When it is ready, decant and enjoy a mess-free full immersion brew.

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