Do you wish the coffee you brewed at home tasted just a good, if not better, than the coffee at your favorite coffee shop? There is a way to make that happen. Find out how to brew great tasting coffee at home or when you are traveling so you can save money and time—no need to wait in line for your cup of java with these coffee brewing tips.
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How To Brew A Great Cup Of Coffee At Home Or Away From Home: No Coffee Maker Needed
It Begins With Excellent Coffee
You can’t expect the coffee you brew at home to taste like the coffee you buy at the local coffee shop if you are buying the cheapest brand possible because I can almost guarantee that your favorite coffee shop isn’t.
Good coffee begins with the roast, which is a personal preference. What type of roast is the coffee you love at the coffee shop? Is it a light, medium or dark roast? Once you have that figured out, experiment with different coffee brands until you find one that wows your taste buds. If you want to shorten the hunt, ask the barista at your local coffee shop what kind of coffee they brew and buy it.
I prefer a dark french roast coffee and I like it to be organic. I am currently buying mine already ground, but I am thinking of switching to grinding it myself to see if it will help me make my morning cup of home-brewed coffee even more amazing. I already own a coffee grinder that works great (I use it to grind flax seed).
I currently order my coffee from Boxed.com. I order the Prince & Spring Dark French Roast Organic coffee. They once sent me a sample of their Colombian blend, a medium roast, to try and I liked it, just not as much as I like the Dark French Roast.
Thrifty tip: If you order from Boxed.com, make sure to have the Ebates browser extension ready to go before you order. Ebates almost always has a cash back offer available for Boxed, which will save you even more money on their already low, warehouse-style prices.
You Need To Store It Properly
Coffee should be stored in an airtight container away from light, heat, and moisture. Otherwise your coffee will quickly acquire an off taste. A coffee canister such as this one might seem expensive, but it will save you money in the long run once you start making coffee so good you stop going out for a cup. Plus, once you buy one you won’t ever have to buy another.
When traveling you can pack a smaller amount of coffee in a travel-sized canister.
Purchase A Travel-Friendly Brewing System So You Can Brew A Cup Almost Anywhere
Before our 5 1/2 month RV road trip as a family, I was an avid french press user. However, even though my french press didn’t take up much space since it was a 2-cup size, it did tend to take a lot of water to clean it. And some mornings things got a little messy with the french press and I would end up with coffee grounds in the sink and on the counter.
My husband, who is not a coffee drinker, didn’t want the french press and its mess to come on our trip so I started to look for a more travel-friendly solution. I decided on a ceramic pour over and fell in love with it (mine is very similar to this one). I love it so much that once we returned from our trip, I donated my french press and moved my ceramic pour over out of the travel trailer and into the house so I could use it every morning.
If you plan on packing one in your suitcase, then you might want to go with one of the stainless steel models to reduce the likelihood of it breaking, plus the metal ones usually have a reusable filter, which eliminates the need to buy coffee filters, but it does mean you have to take the time to clean it. There is also a plastic version, but I am not a fan of brewing coffee in plastic, I swear it affects the flavor of the coffee.
A Way To Boil Water
If you are at home, either a stovetop kettle or an electric kettle will do to boil the water that you need to brew your coffee
If you’re staying in a hotel you can use the coffee maker in your room to boil water and then use the water to pour over your drip cone (another name for a pour over).
If you are on a road trip or camping (not glamping like we do in a 27-foot trailer complete with electricity and a full kitchen), you can either boil water in a camping kettle or pot on a regular camp stove or use a jet boil which is super compact and takes just 100 seconds to boil water.
Water That Isn’t Too Hot Or Too Cold
It is said that water should be between 195 to 205 Fahrenheit to make the best cup of coffee. If you make it with water that is too hot, it will taste bitter, if you make it with water too cold, it may taste sour.
Of course, it is kind of hard to tell what the temperature of your water is unless you either buy a temperature controlled kettle or go through the effort of testing the water temperature each morning before you brew your morning cup of java. The last suggestion seems a bit extreme and the first isn’t necessary if you are willing to do a simple calculation.
From what I have read, the average temperature of boiling water is 212 degrees, but it depends on what sea level you live at. For instance, here in Indiana it is approximately 1257 feet above sea level, meaning water will boil at around 209 degrees. To avoid a bitter tasting coffee, I need to let my kettle cool a minute or two after it boils before brewing my morning cup (I used the information I learned about boiling water here to figure it out and you can do the same).
Just The Right Amount Of Ground Coffee
The golden standard for the right amount of ground coffee for the perfect cup of java is one to two tablespoons of coffee per every 6 oz of water. When you are just making a cup at a time using the pour over method, it is pretty simple to find out how much water your cup holds. If it isn’t printed on the cup itself, take a glass measuring cup that has ounces written on the side of it, fill it up and empty it into your mug. Now you know just how many ounces of coffee can fit in your mug.
I like my coffee good and strong, so I use two heaping tablespoons for my at-home mug. My travel mug is bigger, so it takes three tablespoons.
It might take you a few days of experimenting to get your coffee brewed just right, but once you do the pay off will be well worth the time you spent.
A Great Coffee Mug
What makes a great coffee mug is really in the eye of the beholder. I prefer a thick ceramic mug that I can wrap my hands around and let the heat of my morning cup of freshly brewed coffee warm up my hands. I like the cup to remind me of somewhere I have been or something I have done. My current mug is from our trip to Yellowstone.
When I travel, I love my Kleen Kanteen. It keeps my coffee hot for hours, is easy to clean and doesn’t get too hot to hold.
Good Creamer (or none)
Again this one is personal preference. But if you don’t like your coffee black and you want it to taste like the coffee at your local cafe, then you need to purchase good creamer. The powdered stuff is not going to cut it. I put two tablespoons of heavy cream in mine, but you might prefer half and half.
As for flavored creamers, they are okay, but if you want your coffee to taste as good as coffee shop coffee, they use creamer and then a separate syrup to flavor. You can purchase syrups, and though they are not cheap, they last a long, long time as a little goes a long way–and the taste is worth it.
A Sweetener Suited To Your Tastes (or none)
Again this one is a personal preference. I prefer stevia. I occasionally use maple syrup which adds a hint of flavor. If you are just starting out making your coffee at home, start with less sweetener than you think you need because you can always add more, but a cup that is over sweetened is ruined.
Time To Savor It
I think one of the reasons why people love coffee shop coffee so much isn’t just the taste but also the environment it is served in. Coffee shops often ooze a certain vibe. They encourage you to take the time to savor your java.
Create a coffee ritual at home. Don’t just grab a mug full and then get so busy you forget about it and have to microwave it–ew. Instead get up a few minutes early if you can. Take the time to brew your cup and then get comfy and do something just for you. Look through a magazine (here is how to get magazines for free). Read a chapter or two of an uplifting book. Scroll through Facebook memories of years gone past (this is what I do).
If you have young kids who are up incredibly early, make this cuddle time, reading time, cartoon time, or Legos time. Enjoy sipping your coffee as you spend time together. S.L.O.W. down and enjoy your perfectly brewed cup of coffee.
When You Can’t Brew Your Own, Try These Ways Of Saving Money At Coffee Shops
Sometimes brewing your own coffee just isn’t possible. Perhaps you got up late, you are on vacation in a room with no way of boiling water, or you are craving something a bit more fancy than a cup of coffee. Or perhaps you just want to try out a new coffee shop while traveling.
How To Save Money At Locally Owned Coffee Shops
Trying out local coffee shops is a LOVE of mine when we travel. I still remember the fantastic flavor of the iced coffee I had at a coffee shop across from the zoo in Atlanta–-seriously, the best iced coffee I have tasted. And every time I wear my tank top from the coffee shop near Zion National Park, I think of the incredible vibe of the place.
It isn’t as easy to save some money at a privately owned shop as it is a chain coffee shop, but it isn’t impossible. When traveling, check the Living Social app to see if there are any daily deals for local coffee shops (thrifty tip: if you use your laptop to buy a Living Social deal, make sure to have the Mr. Rebates browser extension installed because they often offer cash back for Living Social).
How To Save Money At Chain Coffee Shops
Sometimes when I am traveling, I want the familiar or I want dependable wifi that I know chains like Starbucks offers so I can get some work done. In those cases, I have a few thrifty ninja tricks up my sleeve to keep the cost from ruining our budget.
Pay With Free With Points Gift Cards
I use gift cards earned through point programs, cash back sites, and apps to pay for my coffee–meaning there is no damage done to our budget. Here is a list of 15 websites and apps you can use to earn gift cards, Most offer gift cards for at least one coffee shop chain.
Here is a list of the top 3 income earners for me and what coffee shops they offer gift cards for:
Take Advantage Of Rewards Programs
Most coffee chains offer a reward program of some sort that probably uses a smartphone app. Use it and you will earn discounts or even free coffee over time. Here is a list of over 50 Restaurants that have reward apps (includes coffee shops).
I hope these tips help you make that perfect cup of coffee every morning whether you are at home or on the road.
More Reads For Coffee And Tea Lovers
- How To Remove Coffee And Tea Stains From Your Favorite Mugs Naturally
- 6 Hot Teas For Fall And Winter
- How Thrifty People Drink Starbucks: Sometimes Even For Free
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.
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