We’re not addicted, we’re passionate. We love coffee.
I like mine black. Vanessa likes hers Bulletproof™.
We agree on the roast, it’s got to be dark and bold, with a little bit of a bite. If it’s just a bit smoky, that’s even better.
In the busyness of everyday life, our morning cup of coffee is something we do together. It’s like having a rich conversation without saying a word.
The key to enjoying that brief moment in time, is to make a consistently “great-tasting” cup of coffee. Until recently, I’d say it was more of a “good-tasting” cup of coffee.
We've been die-hard Keurig fans for nearly a decade. In fact, in my corporate days, I was one of the first to have a Keurig in my cube.
The Keurig, brewed a consistently “good-tasting” cup of coffee. It was convenient, quick and eliminated wasted brewed coffee with its single-use.
Killing the Environment and Our Budget with K-Cups
As delightful as our Keurig experience was, I turned a blind eye to the impact the K-Cups we threw away each day, had on our environment.
We tried the reusable pods and it was a pain in the butt. They overflowed, left grounds in our coffee and could never get a dark enough cup of coffee. So, we kept using the K-Cups year after year.
Then I read an article in The Atlantic, A Brewing Problem. It’s one of those articles that haunts you and makes you examine or justify your reasoning.
Between the two of us, we drank 4-5 cups of coffee per day. That meant we were tossing around 1500 K-Cups in the trash each year. That's about 220 feet of waste.
If we stacked the K-Cups we used in a year, they'd be taller than a 20-story building!
Our 20-story building's worth of K-Cups contributed to the gigantic number of K-Cups sold world wide – enough in 2014 to circle the globe 12 times. That's a mind-boggling amount of non-recyclable plastic.
The article also called out the true cost of the coffee we were buying. The coffee in K-Cups average $40 per pound. Holy cow!
Aside from the amount of waste, and cost, there's also some question about the cleanliness of most Keurig's. There's plenty of stories of mold developing in some of the discrete piping found in the systems.
The thought of a bit of mold hidden in my coffee made it just a little less appealing.
The Search for the Best Keurig Replacement
After reading the article, I started looking into some other ways of making coffee. Vanessa rolled her eyes a little, because we’d been down this path before.
We tried a Bodum French Press. We have a Sowden Oskar SoftBrew.
When we downsized a year and half ago and moved into our condo in Minneapolis, we even bought a Miele countertop espresso unit. It was a luxury appliance I wanted for a long time.
After two weeks of inconsistent coffee, we brought it back. The learning curve was too long for our patience.
Vanessa was skeptical that I’d be able to find something that was easy to use, consistently made “great-tasting” coffee, didn’t have a long learning curve and was friendly to our environment.
I was up for the challenge.
I did my research and ordered a Technivrom Moccamaster, recognized by America's Test Kitchen as the best automatic drip coffee maker.
I can sum up the personal benefits of this purchase in three ways; novelty, meditation and a great coffee-drinking experience.
Novelty: I’m Learning About the Art of Coffee Roasting and Brewing
Gretchen Rubin, one of the top voices on happiness, and author of The Happiness Project, talks about how novelty causes time to slow down and helps us enjoy experiences in ways we don’t, when life becomes mundane.
Now that I’m brewing coffee with an automatic, pour-over coffee maker, I can modify some of the ways I brew a cup and slightly change the taste.
I can also adjust the brewing speed on the Moccamaster which changes the taste of the beans as well.
I can also let the thing brew on its own or I can rotate the beans under the pour-over arm and soak the beans for extra time before I allow the water to pass into the pot.
I’ve become more curious about coffee, which has led me to learning more.
It might seem like a small thing, but my curiosity about coffee helps me take my mind off the typical nutrition, fitness and essential oil research, writing and educating, I focus on most of my day.
Meditation: Brewing the Coffee Forces Me To Focus On the Process
When I made coffee in the Keurig, I could fly through the process without thinking and have my coffee in about 60 seconds.
It takes 3-5 minutes for me to make our coffee now. And I don’t think about anything else.
I savor the smell of the beans as I open the bag. I enjoy the sound of the water as I pour it into the reservoir. The sound reminds me of the rivers and streams in northern Minnesota where I grew up.
I’m entertained by the sound of the coffee grinder, and love the fact that it shuts itself off when all the beans are perfectly ground.
Then comes the second-best part of the process. I put the beans in the filter and turn on the coffee maker. Shortly thereafter, perfectly-heated, 200-degree water, begins dripping over the beans.
I could leave the coffee maker alone to do its thing and the coffee will be really good. Instead, though, I rotate the filter, and move the drip arm around, ensuring all of the beans are properly soaked.
It reminds me of playing outside in the sand as a kid. The streets would sometimes have mud built up by the curb. I’d get a hose and methodically soak all of the mud and help push it down to the gutter.
Though the difference is small, there really is a difference in how much additional flavor I get from the coffee.
Experience: The Delectable Taste
The best part comes at the end. I sit down with my black cup of coffee and Vanessa pours hers and we savor the moment.
I appreciate each sip. I know that it tastes like it does because of how I brewed it, the care I put into the right beans, the right grind, using filtered water and taking the time to really soak the beans.
I love the fact that I brewed the coffee. The distinct taste is a result of the care I took in making it. It didn’t require much time for me, but it sure sets the day off on the right foot. And coffee is good for my health too!