I’ve always enjoyed a hot cup of coffee. Any warm drink that comes in a mug actually, I don’t discriminate. Coffee, tea, lattes, espresso, apple cider, hotty toddys…. Pour. Me. Another. One.
But, being pretty sensitive to caffeine, I’ve never been the type of person to brew a full pot of coffee just for myself. No judgement on those of y’all who need 4 (or 5) cups a day! I just personally like to sip and savor, and it works to get my motor running. Because of that, while I was in school and trying to avoid blowing $50 a week on coffee from the coffee shop, I started making coffee at home before class. (Thank god for Tervis and Folgers, am I right?) A full pot felt like a waste though… So in came my Keurig.
We had a wonderful thing going, my Keurig and I did. I had the big K250 model with a rear reservoir that my mom and I found on sale one Black Friday, and it was a staple in my morning routine as I finished college and then moved out on my own. It came with me to Greensboro, and then to Spartanburg.
The time came though, that I began to question my loyalty to my trusty coffee maker. I put it off and put it off, but it was inevitable. It was time to break up with my Keurig.
It wasn’t giving me what I was looking for in terms of flavor.
Keurig is great for convenience, don’t get me wrong. If you’re not a huge fan of coffee, or if you prefer to
dump it full of creamer use artificial flavoring to make it taste a little better, this part probably doesn’t really affect you. But, as someone who has really taken a liking for coffee shops – I’ve gotten to be a little more picky about taste. I ADMIT IT, I’VE BECOME A COFFEE SNOB. Keurig coffee isn’t bad, but you don’t truly get the full notes and flavors that you can get with a more in-depth roast. And for me, that’s a big deal. When I’m only drinking 1-2 cups a day, I want to really enjoy those that I do have.
I’m working to reduce my environmental footprint.
In our house, we recycle everything that we can. We use reusable water bottles, avoid plastic grocery bags like the plague, and are talking about starting a compost. We’re doing what we can, and using a k-cup each morning just felt… yucky. K-Cups (aside from those made by a very miniscule number of companies) aren’t recyclable – which means they just end up in landfills. In 2014, enough k-cups were sold that, end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times. And that was 4 years ago! I did try a reusable k-cup, but I couldn’t seem to make it work without getting grounds in every single cup.
It’s expensive!! (And is it even sanitary?)
K-Cup prices are no. joke. y’all. Part of the reason I started brewing my own coffee at home was to save a little money, but with many brands/flavors of k-cups you’re still looking at 50¢ – 75¢ per cup. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but can definitely add up when you compare it to the 10¢ ish for regular coffee grounds! My other issue with the machine is… Is it sanitary? I loved having the big reservoir ready to go, but is it really good for water to sit stagnant, at room temp like that? I haven’t gotten sick from using it, but there’s a small germaphobic part of me that is just screaming bloody murder when I think about it.
Luckily for me, I have some great friends who had even better advice, so I moved onto something better – a French Press!
I was a little intimidated at first, because while I had heard absolutely glowing recommendations of the little gadget… I had heard that using it can be a total pain too. But, I took a chance and I absolutely couldn’t be happier that I did. I ended up finding this particular one at Marshall’s (for about $12!) and since I already had an electric teapot, I was good to go.
I love that I can have it brewing while I make my breakfast in the morning, and it takes very little to get it going. Sure, it is a bit of a learning curve to find the right coffee:water ratio, and the perfect temperature, but it’s not nearly as high-maintenance as people had me worried and made it seem.
Not only that, but I really get that full flavor I was missing with the Keurig. The slow roast process allows the flavors to steep for as long as I’d like (not too long though, I don’t like my coffee oily) – plus I have a whole new world of flavor choices! I can’t wait to try my hand at grinding (responsibly sourced) beans.
The one thing that I will say, it CAN be a bit tricky to clean. But, I’ve found the secret.
Wanna know what it is?
So, initially I thought, “No problem, our garbage disposal is literally called ‘the in-sink-erator,’ it can handle anything.” Welp, turns out that coffee grounds are one of the very few things you’re not supposed to put down the disposal. I had to find a better way to get rid of those grounds without digging them out by hand or pouring them down the disposal. (LJ would be pretty mad if I clogged the pipes!)
The trick is to get yourself a mesh strainer. Seriously, they’re like $3 at Walmart. If you’ve got a french press (or are thinking about getting one) get yourself a mesh strainer to go with it and hear me out.
From there, you need to let the grounds cool off in the bottom of the carafe – I normally set the whole thing in the sink when I leave for work and do clean up when I get home. Once they’ve had time to cool off, fill the carafe back up with enough water to swish them around a bit, and pour them out over the mesh strainer.
Sounds crazy, but it works! The mesh is thin enough to catch the grounds, so you can empty out the carafe with (extremely) minimal effort, and then dump those grounds right out into the trash. Seriously, cleaning my french press – even counting washing it down – takes me less than 10 minutes. Easy, breezy.
If you’re an avid Keurig enthusiast, please don’t take this as an insult to your beloved coffee machine. Or if you’re a creamer until it’s beige kinda person, don’t think I’m looking down on your flavor choices.
I was just a girl, standing in front of a Green Mountain K-Cup, asking it to be an Ethiopian Yiracheffe.