I’ve spent some time sorting through options for a great single cup of coffee.

In a pinch, I’ll drink a cup of Keurig coffee — or any coffee for that matter.

But I have a preference for options that meet the following criteria:

  • Allows me to brew an especially strong cup if I want it.
  • Produces a smooth, rich flavor.
  • Avoids creating unnecessary waste.
  • Costs less than buying boxes of Keurig refills.
  • Doesn’t require lots of cleanup afterward.

My quest has led me to two options, each with its own advantages.

1. Pour Over

Pour over need not be difficult or costly. I’m a fan of good flavor, not a slave to what’s fashionable or expensive.

So here are my favorite pour-over implements:

1a. The Hario V60 02 Coffee Plastic Dripper does a great job, doesn’t break when dropped, and costs approximately $8.00.

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1b. Hario 02 100 Count Coffee Paper Filters, Natural — They’re inexpensive and work great.

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1c. Bonavita Gooseneck Electric Kettle — Simply fantastic, works without a stove-top nearby, and perfectly useful for coffee, tea, hot cocoa, etc.

With these implements at hand, you’re free to choose your favorite brand of coffee.

These basic pour-over instructions work perfectly well:

  1. Heat water to between 190 to 205 degrees fahrenheit (just below boiling, or turn it off at the boil point and allow it to cool for a minute).
  2. Use approx. 2 TBSP of coffee grounds (more for a richer coffee flavor). (Grounds go in the filter, filter in the dripper, and dripper atop your favorite coffee mug.)
  3. Pour just enough heated water over the grounds to saturate them. Allow the grounds to soak in the hot water (“bloom”) for approx. 1 min. (Adjust blooming time as desired.)
  4. After grounds have bloomed, pour hot water over them, swirling from the center toward the outside edges, until the water starts rising above the level of the grounds.
  5. Pause and allow the water to flow through into the cup.
  6. Repeat until your cup is as full as you desire.
    • Takes approx. 5 minutes. Use this time to clear your mind, practice deep-breathing, think thoughts of gratitude, pray.
    • It’s super-easy to produce a fantastic half-cup if that’s all you need!
  7. Toss the filter and grounds.
  8. Store the dripper atop a small bowl.
  9. Enjoy!

It’s that easy. No need to get hung-up with nit-picky details. Just do it. Adjust your method as desired.

For those who want nit-picky directions — here’s a detailed run-down of eight (yes EIGHT) pour over methods for the Hario dripper.

2. Aeropress

If you like bold, rich, smooth flavor, the freedom to let your coffee grounds steep, french-press style, freedom from french-press grit, and minimal cleanup, the Aerobie Aeropress is a truly awesome device (take a moment to read the Amazon reviews). Costs approx. $30.

Aeropress how-to instructions:

  1. Heat your water to your desired temp. (I recommend approx. 190 to 205 degrees fahrenheit — or just a little below boiling.)
  2. I favor the inverted method, so invert the Aeropress by standing it on the plunger with the plunger just far enough inside the tube to create a tight seal. (See the video below.)
  3. Pour in 2-4 TBSP of coffee grounds (start with 3 TBSP, and adjust to taste).
  4. Place an Aeropress filter in the filter cover, and wet it with water so that it sticks to the cover.
  5. When the water reaches your desired temperature, pour into the tube.
  6. Stir for 10 seconds or so with the stirrer.
  7. Let the grounds steep in the hot water for one to five minutes (adjust to your desired flavor).
  8. Screw on the filter cover and filter.
  9. While still inverted, press down on the tube until just before the plunger begins pressing coffee through the filter.
  10. Turn the Aeropress over so that you can press the coffee into your mug.
  11. Gently press down on the plunger for 20-30 seconds (or so) until you press the grounds into a nice firm puck. (Don’t press too hard, or you’ll make it unnecessarily hard on yourself. Give it time, and it’ll do it!)
  12. Remove the filter. (Rinse and re-use if desired!)
  13. Press the puck of grounds into the trash.
  14. Wipe the plunger with a napkin or paper towel.
  15. Store the Aeropress for its next use.
  16. Enjoy a rich, flavorful cup of near-espresso-style coffee!

The following video does a great job of walking you through it.

That’s it.

Which is Better? Pour Over or Aeropress?

Both have their advantages.

When I’m in the mood for espresso, I favor the Aeropress.

When I’m in the mood for a nice flavorful cup of coffee, I favor pour over.

Do you have tips and recommendations for improving the pour over or Aeropress experience, please post them below!

One thought on “Poor Man’s Single-Cup Coffee

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