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Coffee, Coffee, Everywhere

July 2, 2013

by Greg

For you who are particular about your coffee, and especially for you who have tried to make coffee on a moving sailboat, there is a good article over at Practical Sailor about the various methods and pitfalls of making coffee on a boat 

Like the author of the article, I am one of those who must have my coffee.  I like it hot, I like it black, and I  like it, uuh, now.  And because it's nothing but black coffee, it needs to stand on its own. On a sailboat, depending on the brewing method, it often doesn't stand at all. 

In our cruising, we have gone through several of the methods mentioned in that article. First it was a cone. Tastes great, but we had multiple instances of the whole unbalanced mess capsizing, dumping hot water and coffee grounds all over us and the boat.  Trust me on this, cleaning up coffee grounds from the nooks and crannies of a boat should not be a part of the sailing experience.  

So then it seemed that a French press was the perfect solution - relatively stable and lidded.  We broke the first one, which was glass.  We replaced it with an unbreakable, stainless press, which we quickly stowed away because
we had already become sick of the taste and sludge of French press coffee.  (It's been almost 14 years, and we're still sick of it.)
Clever Coffee Dripper - LARGE
Eventually we settled back on a coffee cone, but with two changes.  First, we use a Clever Coffee Dripper cone (shown), the best coffee cone ever.  It has all the advantages of a press without the sludge and bad flavors.  It is harder to knock over because - with its valve at the bottom - it rests on the counter during steeping instead of atop the mug.  And unlike a normal cone, this valve gives control of the brew time.

Second, when we make several cups of coffee, we use the stainless coffee press that we had previously stowed away; We removed the press mechanism and now use it as a carafe. It is double-walled stainless, so not only is it unbreakable, it is also thermally insulated.

For those times when we get whole beans, we use a beat-up old manual spice grinder to grind them. It takes a fair amount of work, but the thing is good for a cruising boat in that it is very compact and does not use A/C power.  And the act of manual grinding is a wake-up experience in itself.