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How do you make coffee?

We have a grind and brew for drip coffee and a moka pot for cappicino. We're thking about getting a new coffee pot, but am torn between a combination coffee maker and espresso maker and just a new coffee maker.

Any thoughts.

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  1. I use a Chemex pot, and wouldn't use anything else.

    1. How serious are you about the quality of your coffee? What kind of coffee do you drink? How often?

      First off, I'd advise against most of the espresso makers on the market, and all of them that are combined with a drip coffee maker in a single machine. If you want really good espresso at home, be prepared to spend a lot of money on equipment and a lot of time learning how to use it. Otherwise, your moka pot (or an Aeropress) will deliver results that are superior to most of the stuff that's out there.

      As far as drip coffee goes, there are very few drip coffee makers that can make a proper cup of coffee, and even fewer that can continue to do it after months or a year or two of use. You can spend a few hundred bucks on a Technivorm and have the state of the art automatic drip machine, or you can get the same results for a tiny fraction of the cost using a Chemex pot or a filter cone.

      Me, I've been using a Yama coffee siphon exclusively for the last several months. It's old school, but I think it makes better coffee than anything else out there.

      All that said, you can use whatever equipment you want, but you'll never get a really good cup of coffee unless you have quality beans that have been roasted within the last few days. Given that the beverage has only two ingredients - coffee and water - the quality of those ingredients is far more important than the gear you use to combine them.

      2 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        Oops. As other posters have noted, the French Press also makes an outstanding cup of coffee. Forgot about that one.

        If you want to minimize the sludge in your coffee, though, a quality grinder is more important than it is with methods that use filters (drip, Aeropress, vac-pot). 33limes has it right on that front; the Maestro and the Rocky are a good place to start. But if you're going to be doing espresso, you might as well buy a Mazzer Mini now because you're going to end up buying one eventually anyway.

        1. re: alanbarnes

          Yeah, I have 2 French presses. One is an individual, take along type. I have a Krups that is programmable. I made coffee on two consecutive days, one with the Krups and thre next with the press. Same coffee each time. Coffee made with the press was noticeably better coffee. The Krups will proabably end up at the Goodwill.

      2. Chemex.

        But really, buy yourself an excellent grinder. At minimum a Baratza meastro (rebranded at starbucks as well), or perhaps the Rancilio Rocky. And yes, the Technivorm is great too.

          1. Depends on the mood. My favorite methods are Aeropress, Espresso and French Press

              1. We use a French Press also. I don't miss having a drip coffee maker at all. I find the French press more convenient to use and the quality doesn't compare.

                We use a Nespresso machine at night for espresso. Prior to that we used a moka pot.

                1. For drip coffee, I use a coffee cone with paper filters and pour the water manually.

                  For espresso, I use a cheap machine that was a gift, and I don't have the heart to tell the giver that it's... #*@$. It doesn't have a pump, and that's a definite drawback. I tried a Mokka pot, but disliked it, and the coffee it made. Probably my fault, did something wrong.

                  I always use a grinder -- Solis Maestro -- and that makes a BIG difference. It does a nice espresso grind, which, I understand, many grinders can't do well.

                  1. coffee is coffee and espresso is espresso. How much you drink and the level of quality you demand will probably influence your decision. If you're a volume drinker, drip might be the best option. If you're going for quality, my preference with coffee would be a french press, though I'd be willing to experiment with the aeropress. Any of these techniques is pretty simple once you have quality beans no more than a couple weeks old and freshly ground. The pursuit of the perfect espresso shot is tantamount to a pilgramage and as alanbarnes says, the expense can add up quickly. You'll have to invest as much in a good grinder as in the espresso machine. Then you have to decide if a single boiler machine will be sufficient or you need a double boiler. I use a Rancilio Silvia and Rocky and I look forward to pulling a nice espresso shot whenever I want it. It's about a $1,000 investment though, and the learning curve, while not insurmountable, was not insignificant. If you want to rationalize your expense, you can amortize it over the life of your machine, but it's not cheap.

                    1. one more thought, some people advocate a pod machine, like a nespresso, for convenience and so-called espresso. It just doesnt taste like espresso to me, but some people swear by them. I'd definitely avoid the espresso toys from krups or delonghi and so forth; they're just not very good. some of the high end combo machines can produce a decent cup of coffee, but in my opinion, not espresso

                      1. Have you tried cutting the output of the moka pot with hot water to make Americano? That's how I make my morning coffee every day. If that would work for you, you wouldn't have to spend any more money.


                        1. My two perferred methods for drip are french press and cone/water poured over the beans method....
                          I grind my beans with Ranchilio and my espresso maker is an industrial machine/all stainless steel made in Italy. With the proper maintenance this machine will last a lifetime. It's very large, has been used for parties and has the capacity to do continuous shots throughout the night with a very powerful frothing nozzle and a separate hot water spout. I also have a water filtering system installed in
                          my kitchen that is used only for my coffee.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: latindancer

                            I also own, by the way, a Mazzer Mini grinder...I like this grinder alot but I have a very soft spot in my heart for my Ranchilio....I've owned this machine for close to 20 years and it is one of the most rugged, durable machines I've ever owned...I really don't see much of a difference between the two....the grind I need for drip or espresso is no different either way.

                          2. I use a Technivorm MoccaMaster. It makes GREAT drip coffee.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: meadandale

                              I'm using a Technivorm. Since I started roasting my own beans, I decided to "go for it".

                            2. French Press..
                              I pour my half and half first with my sugar in the raw and THEN I pour the coffee..
                              I think the coffee taste creamier when I do this.

                              1. I use a Bialetti 3-cup Moka Express to make a cappuccino every morning. If I need more than that, I usually use a Bodum french press.

                                For company, I use a Zojirushi drip coffee maker.

                                1. Stick with the moka pot for cappucino like drinks unless you want to invest some very very serious dollars in a high end machine.

                                  If you're happy with drip coffee, our $50 black and decker thermal pot from amazon.com does just fine for us for standard set-it-up-the-night-before-with-a-timer-coffee-is-ready-when-you-wake-up stuff. Nothing particularly special, though. If you want seriously good coffee, go with a Chemex pot.

                                  1. The one thing no one has mentioned is roasting your own coffee. I started doing this a few months ago and will never go back to bagged coffee, because as alanbarnes said, coffee that has been roasted more than a few days prior to drinking is simply far less palatable. The process is surprisingly easy with the right machine, and green coffee beans are extremely cheap and keep for months.
                                    Non-commericial roasters are practically impossible to find these days, but they sell a few great models on sweetmarias.com. I use the Fresh Roast, which is about $75. I buy my green coffee beans from a local shop, but sweet maria's is also a great resource for ordering them.
                                    Roasting can produce a lot of smoke, so if you go this route be sure to either get a product with a built-in mini-hood, or open a few windows before starting!!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: mad418

                                      Hear, hear. 8 minutes twice a week and you too can have perfectly roasted, perfectly fresh coffee.

                                      I use the Hearthware iRoast 2. When the weather's pleasant, it sits out on the patio; when it's cold, the stovetop (with the vent hood on high) makes a good roasting spot.

                                      1. re: mad418

                                        I never really drank coffee until my husband started roasting it at home. He uses a hot air popcorn popper and he roasts a batch a couple of times a week It's easiest to roast it outdoors. it's not hard and doesn't take long; he roasts coffee while he has his first smoke of the day.

                                        We grind it as needed and brew the coffee in an aeropress. Now I'm an addict.

                                        1. re: mad418

                                          I wholeheartedly agree! We have been roasting our coffee for a year now and I so enjoy my morning espressos! :-) We are big coffee drinkers, so we roast a batch every night (it only takes 4-5 minutes per batch) while finishing to clean up the kitchen. Then, in the morning, we grind our beans and make espressos. We use a KA grinder and a Breville espresso machine. Both are basic items, but we're pleased with them.

                                        2. For espresso and espresso drinks (lattes and cappuccinos) we use a Nespresso machine (and the Nespresso Aerocino to heat & froth milk). True, you are forced to use Nespresso coffee with these machines, and it isn't necessarily the best espresso coffee you can get, but it is very good, and the machines are unbelievably convenient. Overall we are very pleased with our $200 Nespresso Essenza machine.

                                          For regular coffee (full cup, American style coffee) we use a French press and think that we get a great cup of coffee with it. We do not grind our own beans, but buy a half pound weekly, so it's always at least reasonably fresh. Grinding your own is, of course, better.

                                          1. For more than a couple of cups, I prefer an automatic drip maker -- our Braun Aromaster was pretty reasonable (around $50) and continues to work well. We used to use a manual drip Mellita cone, but the quality was way inconsistent. Without a good load of caffeine in your system, getting water just the right temp and pouring it in just so seemed way fussy.

                                            For a cup or two, we use a French press -- we have a couple that double as travel mugs.

                                            When camping, we perc. Properly made, a percolator can turn very average quality coffee (Hills Bros, Folgers) into a surprisingly decent cup of joe. (Perc's will absolutely ruin the good stuff, so don't bother.) I won't kid you though, perc coffee is a totally different flavor -- the flavor is much deeper, but not as complex. Perc gets a bad rap because it too often is allowed to go too long at too high a heat, scorching the coffee over and over, resulting in something that tastes like the bottom of an ashtray.

                                            "Consumer-level" espresso makers are adequate at best -- hard to justify the cost. Your Moka pot can probably do as well or better.

                                            Save your money and get a decent burr grinder -- use the blade grinder for spices.

                                            1. 1. CHEMEX
                                              2. Cold brew
                                              3. Expresso,older prima donna of a restaurant machine,with a copper tube to the home water supply
                                              pretty much in that order

                                              1. For espresso, we use the traditional style moka pot.
                                                For everyday brew, we use Chemex.

                                                For over ten years, I used the French press which I think imparts nice flavours but I couldn't stand the fine sediment which passes into my cup if not filtered out. Based on the wisdom of several Hounds, I switched to a Chemex several months ago and love it.

                                                14 Replies
                                                1. re: DishyDiva

                                                  How does the Chemex differ from a standard Melitta type filter drip? It uses a paper filter also, doesn't it?

                                                  1. re: DishyDiva

                                                    My experience is that if you're getting sediment from your French press, it just means you're grinding your beans too long. Reading other threads about coffee grinders and French presses and the like leads me to suspect that people have widely varying concepts of what constitutes coarse-ground coffee, and that many people are grinding their beans far too fine for French presses.

                                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                      My experience with grinding "sediment free" coffee for a French press is that you can't get there from here! Well, actually, you can. But you have to grind the coffee, then put it in a sieve and shake out all the fine stuff before putting it in the French press. But even then, no guarantees, which is why my French press lives in somebody else's house now.

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        Getting sediment-free coffee from a French press is simple:

                                                        1. Don't grind your beans too long. My KitchenAid blade grinder takes exactly four seconds to grind a full hopper of beans to the required coarseness. (You can't "scorch" the beans in four seconds, either.) Many of the arguments I've seen about the superiority of the burr grinder over the blade grinder have to do with the evenness of the grind. That's splendid if you're grinding for drip or espresso, but it's absolutely meaningless for French press.

                                                        2. When you're pouring, when the brewed coffee gets level with the top of the plunger at the bottom of the pot, STOP. I've seen people think they gotta-gotta-gotta get that last two tablespoons' worth of brew that's underneath the plunger with the ground beans. But a moment's thought would make clear to them that that's where the sediment is. Stop pouring before you get to that point and there won't be a hint of sediment in the cup.

                                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                          It's undoubtedly a personal thing, but I just never got flavor to equal the "make coffee the way you make tea" flavor from a French press. But though I gave away my French press, I do still have my Cona coffee maker that is fun! AND pretty! And makes pretty good coffee. But nowadays it is just so much easier to let my super automatic's electronic brain measure the beans, turn on it's burr grinder, tamp the "coffee puck" with exactly the right pressure, moisten the grounds with a shot of steam, then shoot hot water through the grounds for a perfect cup of coffee with perfect crema, then dump its ground and rinse itself out... Maybe once a year I will drag out my porcelain coffee pot or the Cona coffee maker just for old times sake, but for the most part, my coffee machine is almost as great as having a butler! '-)

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            Which automatic coffee maker are you so enamored with. I am contemplating buying one, but don't know where to start.

                                                            1. re: josephnl

                                                              It's a Capresso, now called Jura Capresso. There was a time when the super high end machines (over two or three thousand) were called "Jura" and the mundane one to two thousand dollar machines were called "Capresso." Guess which they sold more of! so they combined the names. Or maybe it was a Euro-marketing ploy?

                                                              Mine's about five years old, if I remember right, and my model isn't available any more. It's made in Switzerland, and while I looked at other super-automatics on line (I lived in El Paso then, and no brick and mortar shops), I figured the Swiss do pretty well with things like watches, so why not espresso machines? Do a Google on "Jura Capresso" and you'll come up with lots of hits. There are other super-automatics out there. I've just never owned one and I'm happy with this, so if I ever ever ever have to replace it, my brand loyalty will undoubtedly kick in.

                                                              On the other hand, now that I live in the DFW area, if I ran across a store where they have all of them lined up side by side and you could taste from them all, who knows? But I'd have to take my own coffee beans! '-)

                                                              Good luck with your search! If I had the cash difference between every cup of great espresso I've had from this machine and a cup of bad espresso from Starbucks, I suspect I could buy a Ferari! '-)

                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                I've had coffee from most of the superautomatics out there, and when it comes right down to it, they all make decent - but not great - espresso. The quality of your beans and your water, and the degree to which you perform required maintenance, will have a much greater effect on cup quality than the brand you buy. The main thing is to get a machine with the features you want.

                                                                Like to switch to decaf after dinner? Make sure you get something with a bypass doser. Want to make lattes or cappuccinos? Get a machine with dual boilers. (Coffee needs 200F water, frothing milk requires superheated steam; if your machine only has one boiler you have to wait up to three minutes for it to heat up enough to froth milk or cool down enough to make coffee. By then whatever you made first is cold.)

                                                                Aabree coffee (http://www.aabreecoffee.com/superauto...) is a good source for information about (and bargains on) superautomatic machines. I bought a Saeco from them many years ago and it served me well. One of these days I may even dig it out of storage and start using it again.

                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                  all due respect, but I use a single boiler machine and it doesn't take that long to make espresso/steam milk. Once you have the technique down, it's quite quick. I like to steam the milk first and then make an espresso, which takes all of 29 seconds

                                                                  1. re: chuckl

                                                                    Guess I just haven't mastered the technique. According to my user's manual, to go from frothing milk to brewing coffee you just push the "steam" button and wait for the light to stop flashing. Which takes about 3 minutes. But mine's an old machine, so maybe they've made improvements.

                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                      Alan, I've learned to ignore the light altogether. Here's what I do, though I'm not sure it will work for you. I turn on the machine and let it heat up for about 15 minutes or so. Then I run some hot water (not steam) by pressing the middle button between the brew and steam buttons. That seems to get the boiler going. After that, I push the steam button and let it heat to the point where you can get a good blast of steam shooting out. Then I froth the milk. Once the milk is foamy, I turn off the steam button, grind my coffee and fill the portafilter, tap and tamp. I find at this point that the boiler is actually a bit too hot to produce optimum espresso, so i shoot a blank shot, which seems to bring the temperature down a bit. I then lock in the portafilter for a 27 second shot of espresso. I've been doing it this way for a few months now, with very good results.

                                                                      1. re: chuckl

                                                                        Sounds like you're using a semi-automatic machine rather than a superauto - is that correct? If so, you have a lot more control than I do; I can't "shoot a blank shot" to cool the boiler down; it's either brew a shot and pitch it, or wait around for things to cool off naturally. The beauty of the (or, more precisely, my) superautomatic is that it does everything for you; the drawback is that it won't let you do anything.

                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                          Alan, if you can draw hot water for tea (I can with mine), wouldn't doing that have the same end result?

                                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                                            I've become an ardent fan of French press, but I too have found that using the right grinder is important. I've had a Solis Maestro, and have since used the (nka) Baratza Maestro Plus: the wider range of grind on the Plus on the coarse end of the scale enabled me to get a coarser grind than I could coax out of my plain Maestro, which meant less sludge without sacrificing depth of flavor. Maybe other grinders can do even better, but just an illustration of the difference a grinder can make for great French press results.

                                                      2. For many years -- a longgg time -- I used this method:

                                                        1. Boil kettle of fresh water
                                                        2. Pour boiling water into porcelain coffee server
                                                        3. Put fresh kettle of water to heat
                                                        3. Grind coffee in an old fashioned hand turned mill because electric mills grind too fast and can scorch the beans
                                                        4. When water is about to boil, remove from heat
                                                        5. Empty porcelain coffee server
                                                        6. Add freshly ground coffee to empty coffee server
                                                        7. Add nearly boiling water, stir gently with spoon
                                                        8, Allow coffee grounds to settle to bottom of pot
                                                        9. Serve coffee

                                                        This makes truly great coffee. Friends used to fight to come to my house for coffee. ALWAYS got raves!

                                                        Today I make coffee this way:

                                                        1. Push button
                                                        2. Drink coffee

                                                        I now use a Capresso superautomatic espresso maker. "Espresso" is a brewing method, regardless of what they call some coffee beans. It's gotta be approaching it's fifth birthday by now, maybe more, and it makes fantastic coffee. Every morning it gets a fresh supply of spring water, the tray that catches the ground coffee gets emptied, and the level of coffee beans is checked and replenished as needed. For the rest of the day it only requires the push of a button for a cup of coffee. It will make any strength coffee I choose, as well as any size cup. I set it for two 4.5 ounce cupsful, then catch it all in one mug for a generous nine ounce serving. This makes truly great coffee. Friends fight to come to my house for coffee. ALWAYS gets raves! '-)

                                                        1. I use a single cone and #2 filter -- http://www.jr.com/melitta/pe/MEL_64007/ if I'm making just a few cups, refilling and using a new filter for each person's cup. For more, I use the Chemex. I would like to find the single cup filter in glass rather than plastic but have never seen one..

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. Gaggia Carezza, paired with a Zassenhaus hand grinder, and Intelligentsia Organic Black Cat.

                                                            If I want to drink volume, I usually make tea...although I sometimes make a cappucino in the afternoon if I didn't have time to make one that morning.

                                                            I'd just stick with getting a new coffee maker and your current mokapot instead of putting in $200 for an entry level espresso machine+ new coffee machine.

                                                            1. well if you're a coffee lover i suggest you go with the combo maker because it will give you a variety of things to make. I love my espresso machine!! But a combo machine would be great for those days when you are short on time and need coffee on the go!

                                                              1. We have 3 french presses (one thermal), a Bialetti stove top espresso maker (I used to have my parents' tiny one, but that was lost in a breakup), and a small drip coffee maker.

                                                                I'd avoid the combination makers--as with combo fax/printers and answering machine/phones, one part always breaks first and each part is generally not very good.

                                                                Good coffee is a must; I've been a fan of Porto Rico since 1989, and have had it shipped all over the country when I didn't live in NYC.

                                                                1. French press! I have a Nissan Thermos stainless steel press that I love. Does anyone know where I can get replacement screens for the press? I must be doing really lame Internet searches, but I can't find them...

                                                                  I also have a Bodum Vacu-Brew that makes great coffee and is fun to use - my cats jump on the counter and stare at the whooshing bubbles. My experiences with Chemex are limited to having coffee with my sister-in-law, who's afraid to let hot water come in contact with plastic of any sort; what I recall most is 1) cold coffee; 2) not much of it at that; and 3) broken glass. But hey, use what you like!

                                                                  1. Enough info for you? Really, no one can really tell you the best method. There have been various times over the last several years where I could say I agreed with most of the replies. I have just about every type of brewer -- Chemex and Melitta manual drip, electric drip, electric and manual vac pots, manual and electric moka pots, french press, aeropress, pod brewer, espresso machines, and Turkish cevze. I think the only one I'm missing is an Ethiopian clay pot. I have them all still, except for the moka pots. Those always seems like substandard espresso to me. Oh, I guess I'm missing a percolator, but that doesn't count, does it?

                                                                    Stay away from the combo coffee maker and espresso maker. It won't make decent espresso. You'd be better off with a good quality (about $500 or more) espresso machine and use it to make Americanos in place of the drip coffee, or even using an inexpensive Melitta drip filter for American-style drip coffee. If you really want an electric drip pot, I'd recommend digging deeply and buying a Technivorm with an insulated jug. You might not notice a night and day difference in the quality of the brewed coffee, but I don't think you'll ever need to replace it, and you won't find a drip brewer that make BETTER drip coffee. The quality of the construction is amazing. They don't make appliances like this anymore. Then start saving for an espresso machine. If you're lucky, you can occasionally find pretty good espresso machines at thrift shops. Leave the Krups and Braun models in the thrift shop, though.

                                                                    1. Sez you, Mr. Cornfield!! Here is the best method. Start off with some good coffee beans, freshly roasted and properly stored. Don't grind them too fine, or too coarse. A lifetime of study and attention to detail will teach what comprises good coffee, and how to get the proper grind, so play around with it and take notes. Use good water, heated to 208 degrees F. Brew one cup at a time, with paper filters set into a cone. Use a ceramic, glass or stainless mug-- never anything plastic. There you have it.

                                                                      1. For coffee I use a Chemex.
                                                                        For home espresso I use a Bialetti Moka Express.