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the most eco and last coffee maker - cowgirl coffee  RSS feed

 
Christian Kettner
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Location: North Carolina, near Raleigh
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A lot of the cold brew coffee recipes call for an enourmous amount of coffee grounds making something referred to as "cold brew concentrate"
But I like to use smaller proportions of grounds like the Mason jar method mentioned earlier in the thread.
I agree that the cowgirl method of coffee making is the most eco.
Please note that I dont always roast my own,but I Think the most eco beans to use are green beans and heres why......
***Can be bought in bulk from a farm that you have more of a connection with(they are usually descibed in detail on the sites that offer them....
**green beans can be stored much longer and roasted as you need them
**they can be roasted by you on a rocket stove very effectively with one of those hand crank popcorn Popper's and you can do enough to last a while.
I can bring some beans to permaculture voices if anyone wants to try roasting ...we can do it with a pot ...a cast iron pan....and a couple collanders to cool them and remove the chaff after...I would only be able to provide green Beans and I need to order some soon anyway.

 
Christian Kettner
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Oh ..and I forgot to mention that the green Bernstein are much cheaper for the super high quality beans you are getting... this is a cool artucle on specialty beans being the better beans to get and the problems with all that marketing hoopla in coffee labeling like "shade grown" and fair trafe etc.
http://coffeeproject.com/shop/magento/organic-etc.html
 
Christian Kettner
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Oops..**beans**.....Haha my autocorrect wants to type Bernstein whenever I type beans....@#$% autocorrect!
 
Sunshine McCarthy
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My father gave me a Thai coffee maker, its my favorite, if I just need a single cup. Its a little stainless steel contraption that fits on top of the cup your drinking from, no filters, easy to clean. It makes an espresso like brew without any power required...except that to heat the water, you might be able to use it with cold water but I've never tried it.
 
John Saltveit
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So I tried the Matt Smaus instant boil method-in conjunction with Paul's last coffee maker. Pour the coffee from the pan through the metal filter into the cup. Verdict-delicious coffee. I can only use the Paul device as a filter because it's not big enough for my 4 heaping scoop coffee.

I also tried the cold coffee method that some of you mentioned back when. It tasted surprisingly good. At first I put it into a regular cup, but I found it was too skinny to get my hand in there and clean out the grounds. The convenience of cleaning actually was a major issue on deciding on the best method. So now I use a measuring cup. It's plastic currently. Since it's not heated, I'm not worried about the plastic. If I stick with it, I can get pyrex or glass. I am currently pouring it through a paper filter because there is quite a bit of research suggesting that the American method of pouring the coffee through the filter makes it actually healthy by removing something unhealthy that they haven't figured out quite yet. Someone mentioned that the cold brew method would miss some of the flavors that one gets by heating it. I think that's true, but many antioxidants are killed by heating to boiling as well, so I'm not sure which damages more. I may try to get a bigger metal filter later. Or not. Keep the experiments coming.
John S
PDX OR
 
Aaron Blackmor
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I just love this forum, and I wish I'd stumbled upon it sooner! I won't say it's "the answer" to all these problems, but if you really want a nice, elegant way to a cup of coffee anytime, anywhere... especially if you travel for work like I do, then look no further than the bombilla! It's a slotted straw used typically for yerba mate, but it works fantastic for any tea or coffee. The most important thing is to have a couple with different "levels" of straining, if I'm saying that right. They have a great variety at the GoYerbaMate website (no I'm not affiliated), but if you wanted to get really innovative I suppose you could use baby bamboo shoots or maybe fashion one out of metal from the ore you mined from your own permaculture backyard. =) I'm sure there are more eco-friendly ways of making a bombilla than buying one, but I haven't the artistry or skillset.

Mate (pronounced mah-tay) is a much more "permaculture" drink anyway, just imho. It grows on a holly bush (ilex paraguensis or something like that), so it's a shrub-layer perennial, and I think it can occupy more systems than its coffee cousin. Also, the cultural way mate is shared is as a social drink, like sharing a meal. They drink it from dried hollowed-out gourds, yet another potential on-site no-oil-input resource, and everyone drinks from the same gourd, just passing it around and using their own bombilla.

Just an idea to share!
 
John Saltveit
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Since my last post 1 year ago, I mostly use the cold coffee method, soaked overnight, then poured through a filter the next day so as to not use energy and to avoid hot water in plastic = toxins. It works great. I put it in a pyrex 2 cup measuring cup and it's super easy to clean out. If I failed to plan my coffee, I use the John Smaus method of putting the grounds in boiling water, let it sit just a few minutes, and then strain it through the Paul Wheaton amazon metal strainer, which can support more than one cup of coffee as a strainer, maybe the equivalent of 3 cups? That method also works great.
John S
PDX OR
 
Kenneth Thompson
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Paul, nothing outlasts a good ol' fashion camp fire coffee pot. It is all that my grandparents used to brew their coffee and I have gone back to it myself. Just give it 10 minutes after a good rolling boil so the grounds will settle. There's little to no bitterness with coffee brewed this way because the natural oils are not filtered out. The pot that I used belonged to my grandparents and it's almost 100 years old. The older they are, the better-just like a cast iron skillet.
 
leila hamaya
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LOVE, love, love that these stainless steel french press insulated coffee pots are suddenly way lower in price, and with a lot of different nice looking types to choose from!






so after breaking -maybe my last- glass french press, and searching for a replacement, i have decided instead to get one of these sturdy stainless steel insulated ones...

now theres quite a few i am seeing in the 25-40 $ range, that are looking very solid and well made...

steel french press

steel french press

another steel french press

yet another steel french press

yeah i think i am going to get one of these instead.
in the meantime i am on the drip method, or to bust out the espresso machine...but i definitely need a good non electric coffee maker/french press...and i think its one of those ^^^^

=)

 
Erica Daly
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Several of my new methods have resulted from power outages. Making coffee is one. I still have a propane cook stove to use if I have a match. I originally heated water in a pot and poured over the coffee grounds in the filter, with the plastic filter holder resting on top of the carafe (drip coffee maker just without using the machine). Pouring hot water from a small pot a bit at a time in a candle lit room. I only allow candles on the stove top so the light was minimal. I decided next time I needed an option that would be safer to prevent burns, etc. A few months later the machine pump failed. Now I pour cool to room temp water over the coffee grounds, and just heat the cup of coffee I am ready to drink, saving any other coffee to use later. Unused coffee sits in the carafe, until I drink it, hot or cold or room temp. I had tried the cold brew in a jar in frig and on countertop in the past, but I think if I use a narrower jar, I will have more success with my current strainer and not knocking it over. Or I could have the strainer in the plastic filterholder over the carafe!
 
Nancy Troutman
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Cheapest is what lasts the longest - not just what costs the least at the time of purchase.

I have a French Press that I have used 30+ years several times daily.   I inherited it from my Grandmother, so I have no clue as to its actual age.  I am 60 years old, and I remember her using it when I was a small child.   There is no plastic at all in it, just metal and glass with a wooden lid on top.   I can tell you this, if it ever breaks, your method is my next coffee pot.   

I have looked at new French presses.   I think they are intentionally made with shoddy construction and materials so that you purchase a new on at a minimum of every 5 years or so.
 
Rebecca Norman
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You get the same coffee as a French press by boiling the water, taking the pot off the flame and adding the grounds, and then after a few minutes straining it through a tight steel tea strainer. Easier to clean than a French press, in my opinion. And both the pot and tea strainer are multi-functional items in the kitchen.
 
Nancy Troutman
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I could not replicate Paul's coffee making method with materials on hand.   Broke down and bought as close as I could get off Amazon.   https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016CAHBJO/

It arrived today, and I used it as an excuse for a 2nd cuppa coffee.   My sole vice is coffee, if they make it illegal - I will break the law to continue my addiction.  

Anyway, clean up was FAR easier.   And the coffee turned even better than in my French press.   So Paul was right, too bad I am not big enough to admit it.
 
Polly Oz
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Lance Baker wrote:That seems way too complicated.  Just stop buying glass french presses and buy a stainless one for good.  I've had a stainless steel french press like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinox-Double-Wall-Coffee-Press/dp/B002KOAV80/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1343502123&sr=8-15&keywords=stainless+steel+french+press for the last 5 years.  I used it every single day and it's still going strong.  It's never going to break and there's nothing on it to wear out.  Easy clean up, easy brewing.  I assumed you were talking about burning through glass french presses before?  I don't see how you could possibly burn through a french press like this, its virtually bullet proof. 


I've got a similar Bodum one. Nearly bombproof, but unfortunately a former partner used to pump the plunger up and down rapidly to clean it (why?).  After 8 years of this the silicone gasket started shredding, allowing grounds to escape. I was able to find a replacement strainer on eBay, but don't expect the problem to be repeated. I like this pot because if preheated it keeps the coffee drinkably hot for a fair while, eliminating the need for another single use appliance, the 'coffee reheating machine', aka the microwave.
 
John Saltveit
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So I have an update. As I said previously, I was looking for a device that didn't contain plastic.  Even though I'm using room temperature water, I drink coffee every day from Sept 1 to June 15th, so that's a lot of coffee and possibly plastic. 

I was looking for options. The pour over types seemed to fit me best. Here are some:
http://www.roastycoffee.com/best-pour-over-coffee-makers/

I went to my local Bed Bath Beyond on bike after work and they had the Primula Pour over coffee dripper for $20. Only steel and glass come into contact with the coffee. You can use it hot or cold. I want to use the filter, because a lot of the studies show that the filter removes harmful parts of coffee. I am going to try it tonight.
John S
PDX OR
 
John Saltveit
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update on my update: It works really well. It has two parts: the metal part, which is like a cone, is similar to Paul's original version on this thread but it is much larger.  It fits into a larger glass cone.  I can make coffee either the John Smaus pot of coffee method or the cold brewing method and it works great either way. My major problem with Paul's original was just that it was too small for the amount of coffee I like to put in. I like it hot, rich, black, and strong.
John S
PDX OR
 
Joellen Anderson
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Boil water in a pot, turn off heat when boiling. Add coffee grounds and stir. Allow grounds to settle then pour coffee off the top (be careful not to stir it up to much when you pour).

Doesn't require more than a pot and a cup!
 
John Saltveit
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Apparently, you didn't read the earlier parts of the thread.

Some people do that, but studies show that using a paper filter removes some of the unhealthy parts of the coffee.

Do what you want, but your "solution" has already been mentioned previously in the thread.
John S
PDX OR
 
Erica Wisner
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Tom Haile wrote:paul wheaton here's a pic

... coffee grounds in a Ball jar filled with water. It's that simple then it sits in the frig. After a day I use a fine metal strainer to strain off a cup. I make sure to start another batch before I run out. Since I already use my frig there's no extra energy costs and it takes 1.5 minutes to make.

I was inspired to do a simple blog post on it. Cheap Simple Coffee Brewing.



Excellent pic, Tom!

We had a permies thread on cold brew mason jar coffee back in 2011. Has other links to posts about cold brew coffee and discussion of the toddy as well.


If you have good, cold, pure water, then cold-brewing and fermenting gets way easier.  "sun tea" where you steep your stuff in a glass jar in the sun can be good, too.

In much of the world, I suspect coffee and tea become ritualized into hospitality culture because of the importance of boiling water for safety.  
"Proper" people boil water and drink it at any occasion; if someone visits your house, or you meet on the cattle-trail, you boil up some water and have tea.  Black tea is part of the "brat" diet to hydrate and "dry out" babies with diarrhoea.  In Morocco I saw them sometimes include wormwood (artemesia) in the tea before sweetening it, which would be anti-parasitic. 

If you look at the English or Japanese tea ceremonies, they also rinse out the pot and/or cup with boiled water. (In England it's boiling water rinse for the pot before you brew the tea, to "preheat the pot" for best brewing; some do the same with the teacup to pre-warm it, especially when brewing in the cup.  In Japan, the individual cup is rinsed with tea and turned upside-down for a moment, then presented to the customer "to smell the aroma."  The tea ceremony trays have a false bottom with a drained upper shelf or rack, kinda like a broiler pan, so you can slop the rinse-tea right down on the tray.)

In places like the Oregon rainforest where Ernie grew up, the local surface water tends to have parasites like Giardia, Ernie says if you grew up there in the older families you are not raised to drink plain water.  Working folks do tend to drink coffee all day (albeit sometimes "lutheran coffee" where you re-use the same grounds multiple times, it's like frugal-obsessed decaf).
Herbal tea (pineapple weed, mint, etc) is a good no-caffeine way to continue the ritual throughout the day.

I like to have "tea" in the morning, but I'm pretty flexible about what's in it.  Hopefully milk, cream, or almond milk of some kind! 
But it can be rooibos, black tea (camelia sinesis), or even a 1/4 glass of coffee watered down to my normal heart rate.
Hot water, a few easy-to-absorb calories, and I'm ready to think about the rest of my plans for the day.  Like what's for breakfast.

So if you're going for cold-brewed coffee (or other drinks) in an off-grid situation without a fridge, be careful of your water sources.  Skipping the 'boil' step means you're skipping the sterilization of the water.
I kinda liked the Georgian batch-of-syrup idea, aside from my sugar aversion, to make cold-prep or hot-prep coffee.  A syrup is boiled hot, and would tend to keep longer without refrigeration; our cold coffee gets stale if it's left out at room temp.
I have not heard of coffee being used in small beers (root beer, ginger ale, the fermented kind), but that's the other major tactic for de-bugging local water without refrigeration or repeated boiling.
..
I am enjoying the side chatter on weights and measures. 
However, having watched the "cowgirl coffee" process, I don't think Paul chose the measuring cup because he needs to measure the water or coffee with it - I think it's because it's heat-tolerant and can hold a lot of boiling water, plus the pour spout.
If you look, mason jars also tend to have volume markings, but that's not generally the first reason why we reach for it.


-Erica
 
Liz Hoxie
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One time, while I was making water kefir, we had leftover coffee that was still hot. I measured the sugar, dissolved it in the hot coffee, cooled it, added the grains, let it ferment, then added milk. Delicious. My grains died soon after.
 
Hedy Parks
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Paul, I am totally with you on this! about the spoon that fits in the mason jar, I have somewhere along the years aquired an extra metal measuring spoon, tablespoon. it has a short handle and fits perfectly as well as giving me the right amount of coffee

Someone questioned the taste n another person mentioned the high acidity due to long brewing: I solved those problems by grinding the coffee very fine, almost espresso machine fine. It releases the flavor almost instantly and also has the advantage that I have to use less powder for a GOOD cup. personally I don't like percolator coffee, too acid n bitter/burnt tasting for me.

 
Sam DuBois
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E Reimer wrote:I like turkish coffee. It's easy to make, delicious, and green. Just boil two cups of water, grind your coffee to a fine powder. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup of coffee, and a pinch of whole cardamom seeds (optional). Bring it back to a full boil until it foams, then remove from heat. Keep stirring and boiling until it boils without foaming. Let it settle and pour into turkish coffee cups (about the size of espresso shots).


Along with this international contribution, I made "café asustado" (frightened coffee) for my Dutch friend, and he said his mother used to call it "kettle coffee": mix the coffee into the water, bring it to a boil, let it sit till it's cool enough to drink, and the grounds will settle to the bottom. No need for a strainer - or you can strain it and you will find that most of the grounds are already on the bottom!
 
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