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Baby Steps To Good Coffee

Q: I used to be a truck driver and could drink black coffee of just about any quality, as long as it would keep me awake! Now, in my mid to late 50's I am getting more discriminating. I came across a Keurig system at an office I was visiting about 7-8 years ago, and I thought it did a pretty good job. I started watching for a home unit to become available. They did but they were expensive in the beginning, costing about $200. They finally came up with an affordable model and about six months ago I purchased a B40. I like the concept of the K-cups for one reason above all others. I am somewhat of a purist when it comes to coffee. I can't stand flavored coffees, but my wife loves them. I almost puked when I poured a cup of coffee from a pot she made (she gets up to go to work before I do) and discovered it was flavored. I ended up throwing an almost full pot down the drain. Then I would make my own, but, even with a drip maker, there would still be a hint of the flavored crap she had made in my pot. When I got the Keurig that problem was solved! She can have any flavored brand she wants and I can have any regular brand I want without any lingering taste. She also likes to drink one cup of coffee at night ( I can't or I won't sleep), which makes the K-cup an excellent alternative. The problem is, I like the coffee so much I am drinking much more than I should be. It is a lot more expensive than drinking Maxwell House or Folgers brewed in a drip maker, but SOOOO much better. I found I am liking the stronger roasts more and more as well. Man, this can be addictive! Trying the different brands and roasts can be fun, though. I went from medium roast Columbian, to Timothy's Kona Blend to Green Mountain Lake and Lodge. I ran out of Lake and Lodge and had Kona Blend left over and now that seems too weak! So, being a long time devotee of newsgroups I find myself here for the first time, looking at my next level of fix! I see people are buying their beans roasted or unroasted and completing the process at home, before brewing it. Seems like a lot of effort to me. Is the end result worth it? Has anyone gone the same route as I have and wished they'd stopped where I currently am? From here I can see where it can get to be very expensive. I don't think I will ever get to the point where I want to go Espresso, so at this point if I want to get into grinding freshly roasted beans, what are my best options for grinder and brewer without costing a fortune? I guess the quuestion of which beans to buy are subject to taste, but the question of how much coffee to buy and how long it stays fresh are important. If I keep the Keurig for her at night and for her flavored coffee, I would guess that I would drink 10 cups/day when I don't have to go out. I am a field service engineer working out of the house. If I am never going to go for Espresso, what are my options for a good grinder? Then what is a good brewer for one or two pots per day? Right now we have a Cuisinart DCC2000 that does a pretty decent job. If that is a reasonably good brewer I would only need to get a grinder to start experiencing fresh coffee beans straight from the coffee farm! Of course while composing this, I decided I'd better get the model number from the unit, and had it tilted against the wall on my counter to get it from the bottom. I had to go get my glasses to read it and while doing so, it slid off to the floor! So, who knows, I might need a brewer after all!

A: Yes, that's true. But at this stage of your adventure, it's a minor point. For around $10, you'll still be getting coffee that is a far cry better than what you're getting now. Keep in mind that it's a stinkin' PRESTO, fer cryin' out loud. Some would consider it a minor miracle that they got anything right. Sure, it's not going to win any ergonomic design awards or be added to the permanent display at the MOMA next week, but few if any of the auto drip appliances with those sorts of pretensions can make coffee that's as good as what the lowly Presto produces, and certainly not at the same price point, even when it was selling at "top dollar" price of $30-$40. 'yetanotherbob' says: "I think the consensus is that the single best thing you can do to improve the coffee you make at home is to grind your own beans, vs. buying pre-ground coffee of any sort. Following from that, the less time between grinding the beans and brewing the coffee, the better the results will be. " So, go to Target and buy a whirly-blade coffee 'grinder' (actually a mini-food processor)(GOOGLE target coffee grinder to get a visual), don't spend more than $20 (or go to the local thrift shop/Goodwill and pick one up for $9.00), while you're there pick up a Melitta drip funnel and filters then buy some roasted beans (fresher the better, although a distant second place is whole beans from Dunkin Donuts). Go home, run two Tablespoonsful of whole beans thru your new grinder until the grounds look like what you'd expect (at this point take the time to smell the grounds) and put two Tablespoons of these grounds into your new Melitta funnel/filter set up. Run 10 oz of water (just off the boil) thru these grounds and see what you think. That will give you a starting point; then you can start tinkering, but 'yetanotherbob' put his finger on the single, biggest factor - Mike.