I love coffee…good, strong, full-bodied coffee. I don’t want any flavors in it, nor do I sweeten it up with sugar or water it down with cream. Nope. Hot and black, preferably served in a china cup and saucer. It tastes better that way. So yes…I am a coffee snob, and proudly so!
My love affair with coffee began at an early age, around 12 or so as I recall. My parents were, and still are, coffee drinkers. My mom is Italian, a child of immigrants, and their breakfast was often a cup of coffee and a slice of homemade bread. So it is probably in my genes.
When it comes to the best coffee brand to make at home, my response will depend on the type of coffee being prepared as well as what I’ve found in my search for a delicious cup of java. 🙂
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My Love Affair with Coffee
For me, there is something about that first cup of coffee in the morning that makes the day start out right…the way it’s supposed to.
I sip on it while going through emails and waiting for my eyelids to open up all the way. No matter what happens after that in my day, I’ve gotten off to the right start.
One or two more cups throughout the day and I’m good. Got the caffeine in me, enjoyed the flavor and aroma of my steaming beverage…ahhhh.
As I’ve matured my taste buds have asked me to switch from a medium roast to a dark roast coffee. Just add it to the list of things that happen to your body when you get older.
The Best Coffee Brands to Make at Home
I’ve refined my preferences over the years for the type of coffee I drink, as well as how the coffee is made.
With all due respect to house brands like Folgers, Maxwell House, etc…just not for me, thank you. Here are the best coffee brands to make at home, in my humble opinion.
Gevalia was my go-to coffee producer for a long time, about 25 years, going back to the days when you could only order it through the mail. I remember filling out an order form and mailing it in, as computers were not yet a household item. I know…that was a LONG time ago!
A few years ago I started trying some other brands, and recently began a love affair with Peets coffee. It is my current favorite. Any Peets dark roast I’ve tasted has a rich, full taste that I haven’t found anywhere else.
This past holiday season I tried their Holiday Blend. It doesn’t really have any specific Christmas holiday flavors in it, but it was so tasty that I ordered 4 boxes before the limited edition ran out.
The rich, full taste of their coffee is probably because they prepare it in smaller batches, it’s freshness, the highest quality beans, and a deep roasting style. Works for me, hands down. My current favs are Major Dickasons’ Dark Roast Blend and Peets House Blend
I have recently found another coffee to love, and that is Laughing Man Coffee. I love the full-bodied taste of all the dark blends, particularly Colombia Huila. It has an “intense deep roasted flavor with black cherry sweetness and a dark chocolate finish”. I just know that it’s awesome 🙂
Another reason I buy Laughing Man Coffee is to support the Laughing Man Foundation. Started by actor Hugh Jackman, and named after a wonderful, smiling coffee farmer named Dukale, the foundation supports coffee farming communities by investing in programs that clear the way to health, growth, and success for coffee farmers and their families. I’ll pay a little bit more for coffee that does more than just taste good.
How I Make My Coffee
My love affair with coffee has evolved in the way I’ve prepared it over the years. I’ve tried several different methods and ultimately have found a single cup coffee brewer to be the best for me in the morning.
As I go through the day I’ve found that a different type of brew is interesting, tasty, and kind of fun!
French press coffee has found its way back into my life after several years of the french press languishing in the pantry. I keep some fresh ground, coarse coffee in the frig just for this type of brew.
And, I sprinkle just a bit of ground cinnamon in the grounds before adding the hot water. It is really good! And, it can provide some health benefits, too. Studies have shown that cinnamon can lower blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides in diabetics.
As for my favorite and best coffee brand to make french press at home, I tend to go to a local source and have it coarse ground fresh. I should buy a hand coffee grinder and grind exactly what I need for each preparation, as that is the freshest method. One of these days…
French press coffee has a deep, rich flavor and texture, slightly oily, and as long as you follow some fundamental preparation steps, you’ll be fine. If you want to see how the pros make french press coffee, follow this link.
Single Cup Coffee Makers
I have used a couple of different types and brands of single cup coffee brewers over the last several years and found that the Keurig brand makes, for me, the best cup of coffee. They offer a number of different models, from basic to the super-duper bells and whistles brewer.
Like everything else about me, I’m more of a moderate type of coffee brewer person. I don’t necessarily want the cheapest model, but I don’t need the most expensive one that practically serves the coffee to you. Nope. Just give me the coffee brewer that makes a great cup of beverage quickly and easily, and I’m a happy girl.
I have the Keurig K 250 Coffee Maker and it’s great. It uses brewing technology to scan to top of the K-cup and brew the coffee just right every time.
I can switch from 6, 8 or 10 oz. of coffee with a touch, if I want more water or a stronger brew it’s quick and simple, using the screen on the face of the brewer. The water reservoir holds up to 40 oz of water so I’m not filling it up after every cup.
There is also an option of making up to 4 cups of coffee at once with an optional carafe. And…it comes in several colors so your coffee maker will make a style statement in your Kitchen.
The K250 is also quite polite…it always asks nicely when it needs something from you, and also will wish you enjoyment for your cup of java.
So, for about $130 (unless it’s on sale) I have just what I need…a great cup of freshly brewed, strong coffee in about 30 seconds. There’s my little buddy above, just waiting patiently for me on the coffee bar 🙂 Yes…I have a coffee bar in my Kitchen.
TIP: When you are finished making coffee for the day, hold down the circle in the lower right portion of the screen for a few seconds. This will turn the coffee maker off until you’re ready to use it again. Just push the circle again and it will turn itself on and heat the water.
Recycle Your K-Cups!
I decided that it was time to be more responsible with my used K-cups, and find a way to recycle them. Well, I can tell you that using scissors and my fingers to rip and dig out the used coffee grounds, filter, etc, is NOT the way to go. Trust me on that one.
But I did find a wonderful little tool for making this job as easy as can be – it’s called Recycle A Cup. Simple and not at all messy to use. So just click on the image to the left or the link in the previous sentence and soon you’ll be recycling your coffee pods like a pro!
You’ll be able to easily recycle the neat, clean plastic cups, and the inside filter/coffee grounds are biodegradable. Nice!
Will I go to Starbucks for a coffee? Yes and no. I won’t drink their regular coffee, I don’t like the taste of it. But I will drink a latte. The Latte Macchiato has a nice balance for me, so if I stop there while I’m out and about (which happens often during the week while I’m working) that’s what I’ll get.
Coffeemaker Update: Nespresso Virtuo
As I am updating this post in August of 2019, I want to share my current coffeemaker love affair. I know…fickle me. 🙂
When I relocated across the country at the end of last year, I left everything behind and started over from scratch in my new home, coffeemaker included. My kids had purchased a Nespresso machine and I was so impressed (plus they were 50% off on Christmas Eve!) I decided to invest in one.
Every cup of this delicious brew is prepared so there is a lovely froth on top. Every cup. You can also make espresso, froth your cream and pour that over the top…the possibilities are just about endless.
You can purchase the coffee pods from Amazon, and, Nespresso offers the coffee in a number of options on their site. Plus, they will give you a recycle bag to fill with your used pods and return it to them for FREE. How cool is that!
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Other Coffee Making Techniques and Technology
Cold Brew Coffee is fast becoming the replacement for iced coffee.
The science of cold brewed coffee tells us that timing and temperature can make all the difference in the taste and finish of a cup of coffee, and that is where cold brew comes into play. If you’re willing to wait for hours, or even days, for your cold brew beverage, this could be the ticket.
If you decide that cold brew is your new go-to beverage, the KitchenAid system with all the bells and whistles might just do it for you! It won’t take up too much space in your frig, at 10″ x 9″ x 10″, and can make up to 28 oz. of cold brew coffee.
How about a Pour Over system for your coffee?
It’s a simple system for sure (I remember this technique from the ‘olden days’ when I was a kid), that involves pouring hot water over freshly ground coffee.
There are 3 critical elements to the pour over system: a dripping mechanism, a filter and freshly ground coffee. And of course, it’s all about the grind that you select…course to medium to fine.
I recently purchased a really simple ceramic coffee dripper and enjoy making a pour over cup of coffee quite regularly. I love the clean, fresh taste of the coffee. It hasn’t been put through any type of mechanism. Just. Really. Good. Coffee.
The Chemex 6-cup Pour Over Coffee system is a great choice! You can brew up to 6 cups of coffee, customize the coffee strength, and it looks nice sitting on your stove top 🙂
Aeropress Coffee – for a quick and delicious brew!
It’s quick, inexpensive, produces a clear and clean cup of coffee in about 60 seconds, it’s easy to transport and clean up is simple. If you don’t care how ‘pretty’ your mechanism looks, and are okay with 1 or 2 cups max at a time, this is a pretty cool way to make a cup of coffee. See the AeroPress Coffee & Espresso Maker
Coffee Gift Baskets for Someone Special
Do you know someone who, like me, really enjoys their coffee? You’ll always know what to give them on special days! Here are a few pretty baskets I selected for you from our friends at Design It Yourself Gift Baskets:
Your coffee lover will enjoy 2 boxes of K-cups (you choose the type), Millefoglie D’ Italia Puff Pastry, Avenue Sweets Vanilla Caramels and Dolcetto Chocolate Wafer Rolls. Currently priced under $50.
Does your coffee lover prefer their java ground or instant? Here is a lovely option for them, including cappuccino and latte drink mix, Coffee City house blend and hazelnut coffee, Matilda Italian Puff Pastry, Biscoff Belgian Biscuits and Lady Walton Chocolate Wafer Cookies. Currently priced at under $45
Coffee is clearly king in this gift basket with quite the selection of ground java: Coffee City USA Caramel Mudslide Ground Coffee, House Blend Ground Coffee, Int’l Blend Ground Coffee, Coffee Masters Sumatra Ground Coffee and Hazelnut Ground Coffee, Cappuccino and Latte Drink Mix and a host of sweet treats! Currently priced under $60
There are many more options for coffee lover gift baskets as well as a host of other occasions. Click on any of the links above to visit the site.
For me, when all is said and done, the best cup of java for me is at home….