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Jul 30, 2008 12:29 PM

ISO great coffee experience - at the cottage

As excited as I am for our annual long trip to the cottage, I'm a bit bummed about a week of inferior coffee. In the city, I make daily treks to the best local coffee spots for my morning americanos. But up north, I usually make do with strong coffee from our 50 year-old stovetop aluminum drip coffee maker mixed with frothed milk.

Not wanting to invest in a pricey or complicated espresso maker for up there and thinking that 90 minute roadtrips back and forth to the city are just a wee bit impractical, I ask you, what's a girl to do? I had thought about getting a Bialetti which definitely fits in with the ambience of the place but does it not make espresso? Help (and thanks)!

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  1. Your cottage experience sounds a lot more luxurious than ours, but we bring a simple french press with us. We use it to make our morning hot coffee (extra strong), and also to strain our cold-brewed coffee. Someone else had a post on cold brewed coffee, and while hardly a substitute for americanos or espresso, it's got it's own special place for the camper or rustic cottager - especially if you serve it iced or cold on a hot summer's day. The caramel chocolate notes come out of the brew, and it's far less acidic - smooth and delicious. It's so good in fact that our family drinks cold-brewed coffee black (even though some of us are known to douse our regular coffee in cream).

    To give cold-brewed a chance, pour 1/3c good-quality grounds into a jar (or french press) and add 1 1/2c cold water. Let sit, covered, on countertop at room temp for about 18-24 hours. Strain grounds out, and serve over ice or gently reheat (some people add water to "reconstitute", but we never do).

    Enjoy your vacation!

    1. I picked up an AeroPress for $25 to get my coffee fix when I'm away from civilization. It consists of a single serve brewing chamber with a micro-filter at the bottom and a plunger unit. You mix/steep the coffee and water for about 10 seconds and push down with the plunger to force the slurry through the filter and give you a decent espresso, albeit one without any crema to speak of.

      5 Replies
      1. re: gastropup

        I will second the aeropress. We use it at home and I keep one at my office - never a bad cup of coffee. And if you roast your own beans . . .

        1. re: BeaN

          i will third the Aeropress..especially if you have a good stone grinder for beans...

          1. re: HLing

            Looks like there are a few retailers in TO/ON.

            If you like Americanos, then the Aeropress would be perfect. It produces a sort of "psuedo" espresso, puck and all, but not quite espresso strength/extraction. However, just by adjusting the amount of water, you can get a very good Americano-type drink. Easy to clean, small to pack, indestructable. Travels with us everywhere.

            1. re: Panini Guy

              Adding my vote for the Aeropress...I never travel without mine.

              1. re: FlyerFan

                Another very enthusiastic endorsement of the Aeropress. I use it at home and have taken it on the road.

      2. While you're at it, see of you can find some Santo Domingo coffee. I think it would make the perfect "cottage" coffee. Grown in the Dominican Republic. I love it.

        1. Thanks for the feedback so far. I'm intrigued by the Aero Press - I may give one a whirl - need to see who sells them locally. Alas, I'm all about the crema but I guess I have limited options. Love the idea of some ice coffee - I've been drinking some ice lattes on hot, sticky days in the city. I will also try and track down some Santo Domingo coffee - hopefully, it's not too hard to find. Cheers!

          1 Reply
          1. re: peppermint pate

            You can have great coffee almost anywhere using a moka, although you should try to get the hang of it first while you're in the city. Good coffee, roughly similar to espresso, but you're out of luck for the crema. They make a little, but just a tiny bit.

            Bialetti has a model called the brikka that they claim makes crema. I can't vouch for it myself though, as I'm happily using my little moka as always.

          2. Thank you all. I ended up buying the Brikka. Quite an interesting little coffee pot. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry so I only had time to pick up one of those vacpacs of ground espresso from the same store - next time, I'll grind some fresh beans. The instructions call for you to make 3 pots of espresso and pour them down the drain on first use - not sure why. Anyway, once I finished the dress rehearsals, I found that I could brew a quick cup of espresso with crema. The results were inconsistent, though, so I need to fiddle with it a bit - sometimes the crema would last for a few minutes and other times it would break up quite quickly. Also, I bought what is described as a 4-cup pot but their definition of a "cup" seems to be much smaller than a typical espresso cup (and for americanos, I would typically drink a double-shot at once). We were basically treating them as single servings (is that crazy?) which meant we needed to cool and clean the pot before attempting drink #2. Overall, though, for a $50 investment and a simple drink within about 5 minutes, I was quite impressed. I'm going to try the aeropress next. Cheers!

            1 Reply
            1. re: peppermint pate

              It's an interesting thread. I hope you will continue to write how you're making out.