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2 Very Cheap Ways to Brew Great Coffee. You Don't Need to Spend a Lot on Equipment!

Updated on May 3, 2009

Or Don't Spend Anything at All!

If you spend a thousand dollars or more on a professional espresso machine, and you use it as directed, you will probably get a great cup of coffee, but in truth, when it comes to making a great cup of Joe – you don't have to spend a lot.

Here are 2 methods of coffee making, each that makes a cup of coffee as good or better than the most expensive drip machines, and each which costs only a fraction of the cost.

(Of course you can get a pretty cheap drip machine, but they don't tend to make good coffee)

Really Cheap Equipment for Making Great Coffee!

The French Press

You can get a French press for about 10 bucks and it will make coffee as good as any expensive machine. A hallmark of French press coffee is the body of the brew. With the press filtering out most, but not all of the ground coffee you are left with a very rich, flavorful and slightly thicker than average coffee.

To make a cup of French Press, simply add in a scoop of ground coffee, pour 94 degree water over that coffee and let it all steep for 3 or 4 meters before plunging the press down, straining the grounds and pouring the brew. It's as easy as making a cup of coffee in a drip machine, and usually better.

You can get French presses in many sizes, and they all work great.

The Pour Over Filter

This technique, which uses little more than cloth sack to filter the water through the grounds, makes some top notch coffee!

You simply add in an appropriate amount of medium fine ground coffee to your filter and wait for your kettle to reach a boil. Once it has boiled, turn it off and wait 30 seconds (to let the water cool ever so slightly from 100 degrees) and then pour the coffee over the coffee grounds, saturating them completely. Give the mixture a stir as you hold it over your pot (or cup) and let it drain through for a minute or so.

Cloth filters let more of the aromatic coffee oils into the brew, making for a more flavorful and satisfying cup. Additionally, since you control the pour, you can make certain that all coffee grinds get completely and evenly saturated. In some cheaper coffee makers, the water does not evenly hydrate the grounds, making for an overly weak brew.

Although I prefer the cloth filter, you can also buy simple plastic paper filter holders that rest atop a mug or pot of coffee, letting you manually pour in the water. These also work great, following the same direction as above.

Why Bother?

The reasons why these inexpensive methods can make a coffee as good as better than the most expensive drip machines include:

  1. You control the water temperature. By ensuring the correct water temperature, you avoid either bitterness or an overly weak brew. Cheaper electric drip makers can be inconsistent (or just plain off) in delivering water at the right temp.
  2. You also control the pour, which ensures that you saturate all of the coffee evenly and completely.

Of course your cup of coffee is only as good as the coffee you start with, so for best results, use:

  1. Coffee that was recently roasted. Coffee that was roasted more than a couple of weeks prior to brewing loses a lot of flavor.
  2. Coffee that was recently ground. The single best thing that you can do to improve the quality of your coffee is to grind on demand, brewing ideally within a minute or so of grinding!
  3. ENOUGH Coffee – No matter how good your technique, there is little that can save a watery brew. Don't skimp on the quantities, use at least a Tbls of finely ground coffee per cup.

French Press Demo


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    • Laila Rajaratnam profile image

      Laila Rajaratnam 8 years ago from India

      Thanks for sharing these these methods..I do get critized by my family for making such terrible coffee..I'll surprise them!:)Thanks..

    • chazzburke profile image

      chazzburke 8 years ago from Pittsburgh,PA

      Wow great stuff bro Im having a cup of my plain old drip coffee right now and it taste like crap. Great info and great hub but now you are going to make me pour this stuff out and go to Starbucks. lol

      keep up the good work and thank you for your insite.