Saturday, September 5, 2009

Can You Live Without A Coffee Maker?

It broke. We're not in some way morally opposed or anything. It's brought up an interesting discussion about our needs.
I don't drink coffee. It makes me feel like I'm on drugs. My husband has a cup every morning, and another in the afternoon if he has the day off.
For a while, he was able to manipulate the coffee maker to get more coffee, but the day came that the coffee maker would just not turn on. So, I tied up the coffee filter, coffee grinds in it, and made a sort of tea bag. I heated up some water, and brewed it the old fashioned way. I figured, if they can have coffee on "Little House on the Prairie," I can make coffee in my kitchen.
Now, I've made a more permanent, sort of, solution to the "tea bags." Instead of string, I'm using this clip. For some reason, I had a hard time throwing away a piece of string every day. I am looking into making reusable tea bags as a more permanent solution. Then, I won't be throwing away a coffee filter every day as well. It didn't bother me before because I didn't make the coffee.
The only thing we need a coffee maker for is company. Dan's mother likes coffee when she comes to visit. We are also having a home birth in about a month, where there will be six other adults in our home besides our immediate family. I don't know how many of them will want coffee. I'm sure my husband will want some. I don't want to buy a coffee maker just for that. And I can make a few extra reusable tea bags.
Now, I'm not advocating throwing away a working appliance. I am advocating evaluating our needs, even in an appliance that we use daily. It may not be one that we need to use at all. I had always thought that the coffee maker was a legitimate need, since we used it, but I was wrong. We will not be replacing our coffee maker.


Rachel said...

Emily, it's amazing the timing of this post. I am leaving tomorrow to spend a week with my dautghter. When I was last there the little 4 cup coffee maker was not working properly. There was some sort of electrical connection not working. I had to fool with it a good 10 minutes to get it to brew. I thought about this a couple of days ago, and planned to buy one to take with me. However after paying bills, and setting aside my gas money to go on this trip, no money left for a coffeemaker! Then last night I remembered, I have some sample packs of Nescafe I can take with me. I don't like it as well as regular brewed coffee, but it is only for 5 days. She told me that I still have some coffee in her pantry, so I think I will try your method of brewing some. I would take my big 12 cup machine, but her kitchen had limited counter space, and the 4 cup maker barely fit under the cabinets. It just goes to show that where there is a will, there is a way! One of my favorite stories in a Little House book is when Ma made a pie with the shell of a pumpkin. She wanted to make her family a treat, and a pumpkin shell was all she had, so she gave it a try, cutting it up, boiling it down, mashing with sugar and spices. Laura said it was good, but I think she probably appreciated the effort more than the taste. We are so spoiled!

Debbie V said...

Emily, how long do you let the bag brew?

Emily said...

Debbie, I let it brew until the coffee gets dark, and I push it around the cup to let the coffee seep out, just like with a tea bag. It probably is around 4 minutes.

alison said...

I think it's amazing the things we're culture-washed into thinking we need, when ultimately they're sometimes a convenience and other times a waste of space. Good job on not replacing something when there's a simple way around it. :)

K said...

My mom brought us a coffeemaker after we only had a french press for 2 years (she drinks 3 cups of coffee EVERY MORNING and can't function without it and couldn't quite perfect using the french press) but then my husband started using the coffeemaker so we got rid of the french press! :) But I always thought "coffee bags" (instead of teabags) would be a lucrative invention! :)

Debbie said...

I wonder if you could use a tea ball for brewing coffee?

CanCan (Mom Most Traveled) said...

We haven't used an electric coffee maker for about 7 years. Maybe 3 years ago my husband got a French Press and he uses it every day. I like the simplicity of it. It will last forever because it has no electronic parts.
Ours is stainless steel, I think it holds about 4 cups of coffee.

Emily said...

Debbie, I think you could use a tea ball, as long as the coffee isn't ground too small, and the mesh of the ball isn't too large.

A French press also looks like a good option, but more expensive than making reusable tea bags or using a tea ball.

stephl said...

Making coffee bags...clipping them or tying them seems to be working, but also seems to be quite a waste of time.

The really really old fashioned coffee brew method was to throw the grounds into a pot of hot water, let it brew, then strain it. They make mesh strainers that fit over a cup nicely that would work.

You would never need to buy material for the bags, and would save time in constructing them!

When I was growing up my mom used a similar method. She used a cone coffee filter holder, put her coffee grounds in it, then poured the water over the grounds. She always kept her coffee in a thermos container...and drank it all day!

My father was incredibly frugal, to the extreme...he would rinse the disposable coffee filter and reuse it.... gosh...even now, that just seems extreme! (he claims he did not do this...until my mother and sisters and I all ganged up on him to remind/make fun of this!!)

Also, the french press is a really great idea! Zero waste, and great coffee.

Carol said...

You can make reusable filters too, for the cone filters. And prorated, the french press is probably ultimately less expensive (put in 20 years of time, as well as material making the coffee bags, vs. a one time expensive.) We use a percolator. You could probably pick up one very cheap at a thrift store, and all the parts inside are metal and reusable.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that with French presses, the coffee should be ground more coarsely than with normal drip coffee makers. French press coffee definitely tastes way better too.

Hopewell said...

I was in Peace Corps and you'd have loved some of the "work-arounds" we came up with for stuff we missed!

MamaMay said...

Has this been fixed for you yet? if not you might want to do a swag search for "freecycle" and get signed up. I love Freecycle.

Bianca said...

I was about to say the same as MamaMay
also on craigslist look under the free section..
we only drink espresso (made in one of those stovetop coffeemakers from italy)
since i like 1 soy latte a day, this works out perfectly
my mother in law however likes the drip coffee.. as it turns out we visit a friend of mine and she just got one of those fancy one cup coffeemaker and i said if she wants to get rid of the other regular drip one, i would take it .. i even got coffee on top of it .. but this is already a relationship in which i am comfortable enough to ask those things and she is too, we trade all the time (or i get her things from the fleamarket etc)..
yardsales and fleamarkets are also a good spot to find those appliances..

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