World-class coffee brewer for less than $3. Why get anything else?
Positive Product Points
Cheap, fast, easy, great-tasting coffee. I can really taste differences in blends.
Negative Product Points
Low-tech, not stainless steel, can't be converted to rotary pump, and I can't find a place to put the PID.
I'm in espresso exile. My wife and I are staying in a small apartment during a building project. The apartment kitchen is so tiny that my espresso machines and grinder are in storage. Oh, the sacrifices we make for domestic peace! Who needs counter space, anyway? ;-)
It was a shock to go from making a delicious double latte every morning for breakfast, to struggling by with some mediocre brew made on inferior equipment. I started out buying a Kitchenaid Ultra 4-cup drip brewer to get by for the 7 months of espresso exile. It wasn't any better than my old $10 Mr. Coffee Jr, so I took it back. I switched to my Bodum Mini e-Santos, which was a notable improvement over the Kitchenaid. But I don't recommend making less than 2 cups with the eSantos. And it is a lot more hassle to clean than a Melitta.
In desperation, I picked up a Melitta #2 filter cone at London Drugs, and took it home to experiment.
I'm currently using a Bosch whirlyblade grinder which I bought in L.A. 12 years ago. I simply put two Melitta scoops of beans in the grinder, then run it for 20 seconds, shaking it to distribute the beans. That is enough time to pulverize the beans so that there are no remaining "chunks" of bean. Undoubtedly, the fines are of widely varying sizes, which is not good.
I dump the grinds into the filter and preheat my mug. Once the kettle reaches boiling, I carefully pour just enough water over the grinds to wet them, and let them stand for a minute or so while the water drips through. This forms a "plug" of coffee at the bottom of the filter cone. Next, I carefully pour water directly into the plug, being careful not to disturb it. I fill the cone with water. I watch carefully as the water drips through, and remove the filter cone from the mug when the desired volume of coffee has dripped through.
This results in a very good tasting brew. It is better, to my taste, than the results I've been getting with the eSantos. This brewing method really brings out the character of the beans. I can really notice the differences between blends and varietals. While the results may not hold for espresso, this has really helped me to determine which varietals I like, and what I like about them. It will help me in creating my own blends when I'm back home in my new kitchen.
I heartily recommend the Melitta #2 brewer for anyone wanting high quality coffee with minimal expense and fuss. Use good, fresh beans, and grind immediately before brewing.
It was easy to find. I could carry it easily. My wife is happy I bought it, which is the first of my many coffee purchases over the past several years that have elicited this response.