I recently posted about our search for a new coffee maker, and thought I’d follow up with a quick post about our current equipment.  If you love coffee, you need to read this.

For the best taste and texture, coffee must be brewed at a temperature of between 197°F and 205°F (92 – 96° Celsius), and the optimal brew time is around 5 minutes.  A typical department store drip coffee maker brews coffee at much lower temperatures than mentioned above – as low as 140°F.  Over the years we’ve used a number of different drip makers, most of them average at best.  Our recent experience with a Cuisinart unit was a mixed bag:  it made good coffee, but it was the quintessential embodiment of planned obsolescence; it broke after 11½ months.

Our current set up is below – a Technivorm “MoccaMaster” KB-741 and a Capresso Infinity 560 Burr Grinder.  We’re using filtered tap water, beans from the local Caribou Coffee and Old Bisbee Roasters in Arizona, and are using a SwissGold #4 cone filter.

I’ll spare you all most of the flowery prose – suffice it to say, the coffee we’re brewing with this combination has a mouthfeel that’s silky and lush, is full flavored, and has no bitter aftertaste – or taste – whatsoever.   There is a huge gulf between the quality of coffee possible with the right equipment, good water and beans, and what you’ll produce with a garden variety $25 department store drip machine and supermarket ground coffee.

I certainly don’t want to encourage spending on things that don’t matter to you, but if you care about coffee, you ought to look into upgrading your equipment.  And for the record, I have no connection whatsoever with the companies mentioned in this post.

4.16.2011 Edit:

Check out this video by George Howell for tips from a coffee guru:

Drip Coffee Brewing

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11 Comments on Our path to great coffee

  1. Luke says:

    This is a drip style coffee maker, correct? I’ve heard that some people swear by the vacuum style brewers. I’d like to try one of those, but I’m having a hard time justifying the cost.


    Kevin Reply:

    Luke, yes, it’s a drip coffeemaker.


  2. miguelmarcos says:

    I’m a convert to cold bewed coffee now, using a French press. Low acid, always ready as long as you’re organized about it.


    Luke Reply:

    I’ve used those. I do love the coffee from one of those.


    Justin Reply:

    Miguel: do you have a url you’ve seen to get someone started on cold brewing? There’s a ton of info out there but I’d love to read someone’s concise process they use.


  3. miguelmarcos says:

    Here’s a couple:



    However, there’s nothing to it. If you use a French press, all you do is put in cold water and coffee in the same quantities as you would boiling water and coffee. I leave it overnight. It makes for a wonderful cafe con leche!


  4. Till says:

    I have never even heard of cold brewing. Very interesting. Kind of like sun brewed tea.

    I use the old style hand filter method. I use Melitta filters and a filter holder that is set directly on top of the coffee pot. I boil filtered water and pour it into the coffee filter. I do wait just some seconds for the boil to subsist, than I pour. It takes about three pours for one liter. I take great care to “wash” the sides of the filter cone because coffee will stick to the sides. So on the second and third pour, I pour the water down the sides to use that coffee. Super simple, super low cost, basically no equipment needed, hardly anything that can break, easy to stow and everybody loves my coffee.

    I use either German coffee (Jacobs Kroenung, Dallmayr Prodomo) or coffee from a local coffee specialty shop here in Austin. Pure arabica usually and fair trade to boot.

    Some might say that this method takes too long but I disagree. The actual pour time is about 30 seconds. I do something else in the kitchen while the water gets to a boil and while the coffee is infusing. When the coffee is ready so is my breakfast and I sit down and start to eat.

    Works the same for tea, of course.



  5. miguelmarcos says:

    The Atlantic on how to get the best possible coffee out of hotel brewers.


    Also, I recently came back from the States to see family. While at Starbucks (I know, don’t shoot me) there was one employee who made a particularly good cup of espresso. I went to compliment him afterwards. Then I saw these instant coffee things they sell called Via. The guy saw me and suggested I try out the Italian Roast saying he often uses it himself at home when he’s too lazy to make proper coffee. The upshot is that, as far as instant goes, it rocks. I have not tried the regular or the decaf, just the Italian. Unfortunately the Starbucks in Spain doesn’t carry them. Highly recommended for traveling.


  6. Anne says:

    This coffee maker has been our best investment. We have a local coffee shop, who reccomended this and who roasts his coffee just the way you like it, there is nothing better! In case you need the coffee maker or coffee his name is Joe at Storehouse coffee.com


    Kevin Reply:


    Thanks for your comment. Are you referring to the Technivorm we are using?



  7. Donna Trump says:

    This makes me nostalgic for regular grind and a percolator.


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