Making good coffee is not necessarily an expensive endeavor. You can make good coffee for cheap, too. In this post, we’re going to look at our 4 favorite (and cheap) ways to make good coffee at home.
The key to make good coffee(it’s not money)
We’ve talked about this in great detail in many posts, but it’s worth repeating here again. Good coffee comes down to a few key factors, after which the actual brewing method is icing on the cake. Sure, some methods will brew bolder cups whilst others will be milder, but the overall taste and feel of the coffee depends on the following:
- Freshly ground coffee: The first essential of good coffee is to brew from freshly roasted beans that have been freshly ground. Coffee beans retain their optimal flavors for only 10-15 days, so to get the most punch out of your coffee, order fresh coffee beans every time and keep a supply on hand. Once you grind the beans, you’ve got a few hours at most to use them before they lose their punch.
- Using the correct grind size: You need to make sure you’re using the correct grind size for the coffee brewing method you’re using. Each brewing method is suited to a particular sized grind. If your grounds are too coarse, you’ll have an under-extracted cup, and if they’re too fine, your cup will be gritty. Espresso needs a fine grind, drip and pour over need a medium grind, french press needs a medium-coarse grind, and cold brew needs a very coarse grind.
- Proper water temperature: The best temperature to brew coffee at is around 90 to 95 degrees Celcius. Anything less and you’ll have under-extracted coffee, and anything more and you’ll burn the coffee.
If you’re making coffee on a tight budget, spend more money on getting fresh coffee and less money on fancy equipment. This way, you’ll at least have fresh coffee every day and eventually you can save up for a bigger/more complex coffee machine.
Although I’ve stated above that you should buy freshly roasted beans and grind right before brewing, if you’re on a really tight budget and don’t want to get a grinder(though cheap grinders are as little as $10-15, but you’re the master of your own budget), you can order ground coffee too.
Just get it from a craft roaster so you know the coffee was roasted very recently and ground just before being shipped out to you.
Supermarket coffees have been roasted and ground who-knows who long ago, so you’re just not going to be able to experience the same kind of cup.
1. Use an inexpensive drip machine
One of the cheapest ways to make good coffee at home is to use an inexpensive drip machine. Simple drip machines cost as little as $20-30 and they’re a full solution: you don’t even need anything extra to heat water.
All you need are paper filters, and if you wash and dry the filters right away, you could probably use each filter a few times to save a bit more. Inexpensive drip machines are great to start out with.
In fact, I remember from when I was growing up that a company called Gevalia coffee would send free coffee machines with their coffee grounds if you signed up!
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2. Use the pour over method
Another really good method for a cheap cup of good coffee is the pour over method. Pour over coffee is similar to drip coffee, except you have to manually pour the water over the coffee grounds.
You’ll still need a paper filter, and you’ll also need a hot water kettle, too. It’s OK if you don’t have an electric kettle, though, as you can always heat the water on the stove.
To get the temperature you want, let it sit uncovered after boiling and removing from the heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
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3. Use an Aeropress
The AeroPress is one of the most amazing coffee inventions that I’ve ever come across. It is such a simple device (and cheap, too), but it makes some of the most spectacular coffee you’ll ever taste.
It’s also very versatile: you can use it to pull something that is very close to a proper espresso shot, or you can also brew an old fashioned Americano black coffee too.
Additionally, the Aeropress is really easy to clean and maintain. You do need a paper filter for brewing, but you can just wash and dry the filter to reuse a few times.
- THE PERFECT CUP: Rapid, total immersion brewing process makes rich, smooth coffee without the bitterness associated with other brewing methods.
- FAST: Total brewing time for an espresso shot is about 30 seconds-brewing coffee is about to become the fastest part of your morning routine!
- EASY CLEANUP: The tightly compressed coffee grounds pop right out with the microfilter, making cleanup a snap.
- QUALITY: Unlike a French press, the microfilters prevent grit from getting in your coffee, and the fast brewing time reduces acidity.
- PORTABLE: The BPA and phthalate free AeroPress system is completely portable, making it the perfect coffee maker for travel and camping.
4. Use a french press
As far as inexpensive brewing gadgets go, the french press certainly makes the list. French presses come in many sizes and shapes(and price ranges) but a decent french press will be no more than $20-30.
French press coffee is an all time favorite for pretty much all coffee lovers. Depending on how big your french press is, you can brew up to 4 or 5 cups of coffee in a single go.
- 4 LEVEL FILTRATION SYSTEM - We use double stainless steel screen filters on a durable plunger supported by a spring loaded base plate to seal the edges, followed by a final top lid strainer to give you a pure brew with no grounds unlike other cheap presses. Perfect to make fresh French coffee, tea, espresso or even cold brew.
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- BPA FREE - All individual materials on the cafetiere surpass food/drink grade quality requirements with certified lab tests to back it up. BPA free plastic lid strainer, 304 food grade rated stainless steel, thermal resistant borosilicate glass pot (8-cup, 34oz). Also features a unique modern European design beaker housing that adds luxury to any kitchen.
- DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE THE PERFECT BREW - At Cafe Du Chateau, we go above and beyond to satisfy our customers which is why you get a detailed coffee brewing guide and brewer manual to accompany your coffee presser, giving you the best tasting coffee or tea in the palm of your hand. Also makes a good gift!
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5. Make coffee without a coffee maker
Finally, if you are not planning on picking up any of these things, you can just make a good cup of coffee without a coffee maker. I’ve gone over 5 or 6 methods for making coffee without a coffee maker in this post here.
Add ons for when budget permits
Since we’re on a tight budget here, we’re not recommending that you get other coffee brewing accessories from the onset, but once you do have a bit of a budget and are willing to up your game, these add-ons will make a huge difference. Best of all, each one is not that expensive, either.
Coffee should always be measured by weight rather than volume. Interestingly enough, the amount of time that you roast the beans will make a difference as to the weight to volume ratio of each bean. To get a consistent cup every time, use weight as a measurement.
Remember, you’ll want about 14-15 grams of coffee per cup of drip coffee/french press.
To weigh coffee beans, any old kitchen scale will do, but if you’re willing to get a little fancy, there are also coffee scales available that have extra bells and whistles like a timer.
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Since great coffee is brewed when it is freshly ground from freshly roasted beans(that has got to be the catchphrase for Coffee In My Veins, I think!) you want to have a grinder on hand to grind beans into coffee grounds.
Grinders come in all shapes and sizes. As a rule, you want to stick to burr grinders rather than blade grinders, as burr grinders grind coffee beans more evenly.
Automatic grinders can cost an arm and a leg, but manual grinders are cheap.
- Built-in adjustable grind selector with over 18 click settings ensures you have 100% precision control over the coarseness of your coffee beans.
- Convenient removeable hand crank mechanism consistently eliminates over 90% of the noise that electric grinders produce. No batteries, power, or long plastic cords needed to operate your portable compact coffee grinder.
- Our patent-pending ceramic combo burrs are design tested through three professional grade inspections to last 5x's longer than stainless steel blades.
- Coffee is in our DNA. JavaPresse products are designed to liberate and empower you to transform your favorite coffee ritual into an extraordinary daily experience.
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A gooseneck kettle
Last but not least, a cool addition to your coffee brewing toolkit is a gooseneck kettle. Regular kettles are fine, too, but gooseneck kettles are much better because they allow a lot more control over the pour. A more controlled pour will result in a much better pour over brew.
- Adjustable in one degree increments 140°-212°F
- 1000 watts for quick heating
- Real-time temperature display
- Heat and hold at desired temperature for up to 60 minutes
- Count-up timer makes it easy to keep track of the brewing process
As you can see, brewing a great cup of coffee does not require you to spend a lot of money. As long as you have the three factors under control, brewing great coffee is not a difficult task.
Last update on 2019-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API