As professed coffee addicts, we're always on the hunt for that perfect cup of coffee. Locally roasted beans ground to a soft pulp, infused into a liquidy substance -- this is what makes it possible for us to start the day. However, the method you use to prepare said cup-of-joy can easily dictate your java's tastiness level.
You might be surprised to find that the old stand-by Mr. Coffee steam pots, and the expensive Keurig machines of the world don't always produce the smoothest and most flavorful brew. All you need to make a dank and delicious mug of coffee is one of these simple yet effective tools.
There are a few things you should know about the following tried-and-true coffee making appliances. Some are more finicky than others, but each one will give you enormous bang for your buck. And not only will they make you the finest coffee you've ever had, but with a lot less waste. A word of caution: You may never use your Keurig and its pesky K-cups ever again!
How to brew the best coffee
First, a word on coffee beans. Look for locally roasted, 100 percent Arabica beans. Snake River Roasting, Jackson Hole Roasters and Cowboy Coffee are a few options made in Jackson Hole. Store them in an airtight container and use as quickly as possible. If you don't grind them yourself at home, consider doing so for a fresher brew.
The key to making a great cup of coffee lies in controlling the temperature of the water, and how quickly it is filtered through the beans. With traditional plug-in drip devices, it is impossible to control either. With a french press, it’s easy to heat the water perfectly and steep those beans as long as you’d like.
Merely add hot water to freshly ground beans (195-200F). Stir and steep for approximately 4 minutes and squeeze them out by hand-plunging the filter. Because the french press uses a reusable filter rather than messy paper, the natural oils of the bean will make it through to your cup, making your coffee taste incredible, and it will be easier to digest.
It looks funky, complicated even — but this device is simple to use and will concentrate your coffee into an espresso-like shot. The only tricky thing about the AeroPress is that it calls for a very specific water temperature: 175F.
Pour your beans into the bottom of the column, after inserting a small paper filter into the grate-like end. Add water and stir with a paddle provided in your AeroPress kit. After 1-3 minutes, sink the plunger, which will push the water through your beans and into your cup using compressed air. Drink like an espresso or add hot water for a delicious Americano.
Stovetop Espresso Maker
Simple and easy to use, the stovetop espresso maker requires very little cleanup and also doesn’t require the use of paper filters. However, with this device, controlling the temperature of the water can be a little bit more difficult.
Basically, how a stovetop espresso maker works is similar to any other percolated gadget. Add heated water to the bottom reservoir, up to the fill line. Next, pop the filter basket into the bottom piece and top it off with ground espresso beans. Screw both pieces together and set the pot on the stove, moderately heated. Your espresso will softly bubble into the top carafe, after which remove the pot and run under cold water (with the lid closed) to stop any further extraction. Pour and enjoy!
Suggestion: On your next camping trip, try bringing one of these along. A small 3-cup stovetop espresso maker is a great, indestructible addition to your backcountry kit, and who wouldn't love a cup of espresso made over a campfire?