More than one way to make (good) coffee.
I gave myself second and third degree burns on five percent of my body the last time I tried to make hot coffee in a french press. I don’t want to get too much into the gorey details--just that I have a scar the size of a large sparrow on my abdomen. But even during my skin graff and 4-month worst-pain-of-my-life recovery I couldn’t stop on caffeine, usually in the form of coffee. Always made by someone else and left sitting until lukewarm. That is as clear a depiction I can give of how much I love the stuff.
Over the past four years, I’ve come to realize I was faced with an XY Problem. I was trying to find out the closest way to approximate how the average able-bodied person brewed their coffee, instead of first trying to think of what I ultimately wanted. I bet this is true with a lot of “access hacks”--the most important step is first disregarding common practice and getting to the root of what you want. And I wanted coffee.
I had two big breakthroughs. The first was pretty simple and did not require much outside-of-the-box thinking. Keurig. After getting a Keurig maker, I could make my own coffee without many moving parts or chances to burn myself with boiling-hot water. It had the added benefit of not needing too much effort to spoon out grounds or set up a filter. I even timed it at 6 minutes after it brewed my coffee, where the cup--sitting on a room temperature counter--would just be cool enough to drink without scalding me.
The second breakthrough simplified the process a lot. I like cold brew coffee. I found a great method to use a french press with cool water and let it sit overnight. This worked for me, but I soon realized you could purchase dedicated vessels for cold brewing, that are designed for repeated use, large capacity, and easy cleaning, like the Cold Brew Mason Jar Coffee Maker, listed below. And because the container can just sit in the fridge, I can make one batch and drink it for several days.
This cold brew hack for me is not the end-all answer for me. Sometimes I do want to drink hot coffee or lack room in my fridge, and need to think about other methods. But it is one of a constellation of solutions that lets me do the things I want to do.
Products mentioned in this blog:
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Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker by Keurig on Amazon
OXO Travel French Press (shatterproof) by OXO on Amazon
Cold Brew Mason Jar Coffee Maker with Handle by County Line Kitchen on Amazon