Whether you prefer an automatic drip coffee maker or the meditation of a perfect...
While most of today’s coffee lovers – at least in America – grew up on automatic drip coffee, there are many ways to make coffee without using electricity. It won’t save you as much money on your utility bills as hanging out your clothes instead of using the electric dryer, but making coffee without electricity could give you a new appreciation for the flavor of your coffee. These five manual coffee makers are inexpensive and all make delicious coffee.
The French Press – Classic Coffee Maker
Ask any coffee expert and most will tell you that the French press makes the best coffee bar none. The classic French press is a very simple contraption consisting of two pieces – a glass or thermal pot and a cover with a plunger. To make coffee in a French press, you pour water just below boiling temperature into the pot, add coarsely ground coffee to the water, stir and cover. After the coffee steeps in the hot water for 3-7 minutes depending on your taste, you press the plunger, forcing the coffee grounds to the bottom of the pot. With the grounds out of the way, you can pour off the coffee into your cup and enjoy.See How to Make Perfect Coffee in a French Press
Stovetop Moka Pot – Almost Espresso
Most Italian households own a stove top moka pot, and make their coffee in it daily. A moka pot consists of three pieces – the bottom water container, a metal coffee filter and the top coffee pot. To use a moka pot, you unscrew the top from the bottom and fill the bottom with cold water. After filling the metal filter with finely ground coffee, you fit it into the top of the water container, screw on the top pot and put it on the stove to boil. As the water boils, steam is forced through the coffee grounds and up into the top pot where it condenses, complete with all the coffee oils and flavors it has extracted from the coffee. The result is a thick, dark, rich coffee brew that is as close to espresso as you can get without an espresso maker. Moka pots come in several different sizes from 2 cup coffee makers to 12 cup coffee makers. See How To Make Great Coffee in a Moka Pot
Spanish Coffee Colador – The Coffee Sock
In many Spanish household, the morning coffee is boiled in a saucepan on the stove and strained through a colador, the Spanish word for strainer. A colador is a muslin or flannel coffee sock held on a wire frame. It often has a wooden handle to make it easier to use, though you can find coffee stands that are meant to hold a colador suspended over a coffee cup or a pot. You can buy a colador at nearly any Spanish grocery in any big city for less than $5. To make coffee with a colador, you simply heat water in a non-aluminum saucepan on the stove to just below boiling and add ground coffee. Stir to keep the grounds in motion and to keep the heat below boiling until the coffee foams up. Strain the coffee through a colador coffee cup or pot. For a special flavor treat, rinse the pot and pour the coffee back into it. Add a”cup of milk and a teaspoon of coffee per cup of coffee, and bring back to almost boiling, then pour into coffee mugs and serve.
Porcelain Coffee Filter Holder – Coffee by the Cup
The coffee filter holder is simplicity itself. It’s the contraption devised by a German housewife who gave her name to the Melitta coffee company – a cone shape made of porcelain or plastic that is meant to hold a paper coffee filter. Coffee filter holders come in sizes to fit a single cup or to sit on top of a coffee pot. To make coffee with a porcelain coffee filter holder, place a paper coffee filter into the filter holder. Add one to two spoons of coffee for each cup of coffee you’re making, then slowly pour hot water (about 195-198 F. – just off boiling) over the grounds and allow the coffee to drip into the cup or pot. A single cup will usually take about 3 minutes to drip through and the flavor is absolutely perfect.
Vietnamese Ca Phe – A Coffee Hat for Your Cup
At Vietnamese restaurants, you’ll often be served your coffee in a thick-walled glass topped with a stainless steel “top hat”. The Vietnamese coffee maker, called a ca phe, consists of three pieces – the coffee pot, a screw-down filter and a cover. To use a ca phe, you unscrew the filter top and put finely ground coffee into the pot, then screw the filter top back down, compressing the coffee grounds lightly. Place one or two tablespoons of condensed evaporated milk into a thick-walled glass. Put the ca phe on the rim of the glass and pour hot water into it. Cover the pot and let it sit until all the water has filtered through the coffee grounds into the glass. Stir and enjoy!
These are just a few of the many ways that you can make coffee without using electricity. The more you explore, the more you’ll find traditional coffee makers that will expand your tastes in coffee.