just coffee, no plastic please

Coffee should be simple. I’m all about simple, especially first thing in the morning. But simple and lazy are two very different things.  I don’t want to mention any names, because there are quite a few of them, but lazy is taking over the coffee world. Simple is water poured over coffee. Slightly, and only slightly, less simple is heating the water first. Lazy is turning on an electric machine, putting in a very environmentally unfriendly plastic container with crummy coffee in it, setting a cup underneath, and superheating the water to drip through the plastic container into the cup.

Simple yields a delicious cup of coffee that harms the environment very little (depending of course on your beans). Lazy yields a marginal cup of coffee similar to the instant coffee you might find at a cheap motel.  And its been dripped through plastic so who knows what else is leaching into that cup. So why are Americans buying these machines in record quantities? And why are we willing to spend up to $50 per pound on bad coffee to use in them? Lazy is a powerful motivator.

I’m sure I don’t need to list all of the reasons why using these popular machines is a bad idea for the planet, human health and personal economy. We all know this already, don’t we? I’d rather be positive and offer a few alternatives that don’t include machines (other than the hot water kettle….and even that is dispensable if you cold brew). So I’ll briefly outline the alternatives here, and if you are a total coffee nut and want more info, I’d suggest you see when CoffeeCon is coming to a city near you. Or get Kevin Sinnott’s book The Art and Craft of Coffee.  He’s the ultimate expert.

Pour Over

If you're set on one cup at a time, try pour over. Buy yourself a plug in kettle (the most energy efficient way to heat water), give it 60 seconds to heat your cup of water, set your reusable filter on top of your favorite mug, and you'll have coffee in about 4 minutes.

If you’re set on one cup at a time, try pour over. Buy yourself a plug in kettle (the most energy efficient way to heat water), give it 60 seconds to heat your cup of water, set your reusable filter on top of your favorite mug, and you’ll have coffee in about 4 minutes.

French Press

Put the coffee in the press pot, heat your water in the aforementioned electric kettle, pour the water slowly over the grounds, let rest a few minutes, press the grounds to the bottom of the pot and pour off the coffee. If you want a single serving buy a small press pot.

Put the coffee in the press pot, heat your water in the aforementioned electric kettle, pour the water slowly over the grounds, let rest a few minutes, press the grounds to the bottom of the pot and pour off the coffee. If you want a single serving buy a small press pot.

Stovetop Espresso

Easiest way to make an espresso. Tiny pot, beans ground very fine, fill the reservoir with water and put it on the stovetop. You have one hot and happy cup of espresso.

Easiest way to make an espresso. Tiny pot, beans ground very fine, fill the reservoir with water and put it on the stovetop. You have one hot and happy cup of espresso.

Not Stovetop Espresso

Now this is fancy and you'll have to watch the video.

Now this is fancy and you’ll have to watch the video.

Coffee Straw

Really. You should try this if uber simple and uber earth friendly is uber important. Again, you'll have to watch the video.

Really. You should try this if uber simple and uber earth friendly is uber important. Again, you’ll have to watch the video.

Cold Brew

Apparently there is quite a cult following for cold brewed coffee. Who knew? I like my coffee hot, so you'll have to take someone else's word for the fabulousness of this method. Put your grounds in the pot. Fill the pot with cold water. Cover the pot and refrigerate for a day. Then pour the coffee through a filter. (You can even use your press pot for this)

Apparently there is quite a cult following for cold brewed coffee. Who knew? I like my coffee hot, so you’ll have to take someone else’s word for the fabulousness of this method. Put your grounds in the pot. Fill the pot with cold water. Cover the pot and refrigerate for a day. Then pour the coffee through a filter. (You can even use your press pot for this)

So there you have it.  Coffee that’s tasty and simple and doesn’t create its very own landfill.

Happy sipping!
Leslie