Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Coffee coffee coffee!

I am a java junkie. Anyone who knows me RL is quite well aware of this fact, and even my coffee detesting spouse has surrendered to the fact that a long trip in the car will come with coffee stops. Frugal is one thing, but coping with this canuck without her coffee is just not worth the dollar fifty eight. (XL Tims, 2 milk one sugar please) The jury is still out on if caffeine is going to cure me or kill me, but I'm addicted and while I've cut back, I haven't cut out.

What I have done is moved away from buying all my coffee and to making my own coffee. At work, at home, on vacation. At home, it's obvious enough.. if you can't face pouring water and measuring grounds first thing, then set it up the night before. Even if your coffee maker doesn't have a programmable setting, even the most diehard coffee junkie can usually manage to push the button to make it go pre-caffeine. Into a travel mug, and off you go. At work, much the same. I now have a Brew station style machine at work, which I've found is a much better prospect than dealing with a carafe. For those who haven't seen one, the coffee sits in a reservoir that's on a lower heat burner and you dispense it by pressing your mug up against a little lever. Not only is the burner hidden away (less fire risk), no glass carafes to get knocked onto office equipment and shatter but it's a bit more compact. While on vacation, it gets a bit more complex, but still is plenty doable. Part of the standard hotel kit is a kettle (more on that in another post) and I carry a one cup gravity drip filter holder and a reusable filter that I brew coffee straight into my travel mug with. There's a picture of one here. Convenient and far far cheaper than barely adequate coffee from some of the name brand shops (Not that I'm biased about my coffee or anything. )

A couple little tricks for making those grounds go further.. discover how little coffee you can use and still get a mug that makes you happy. If dropping even half a tablespoon turns it from 'yeah' to 'I'll stop on the way', then it's not frugal. I, on the other hand, discovered that instead of five scoops, four was just fine for the coffeemaker at work. Suddenly it was like a free extra pot on Fridays. I will also make my own custom coffee blends. Two scoops of an adequate and reasonably priced plain coffee and then two scoops of a flavoured or more expensive bean. Perhaps all plain and a shake of cinnamon into the grounds, or another spice. A shake of cinnamon can take a boring pot of enh coffee into something really quite interesting! Experiment with what flavours you like. As for me.. I'll be over here with my half caf custom blend in my giant travel mug. Cheers!

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