A Y2K cup of Joe

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Maybe this is a reflection on our families state of preparations, which is pretty good right now. Maybe it was the need to think about things less life threatening then how much wheat and pork-n-beans we need to survive for a year. But, we recently began thinking about coffee in a post Y2K world. Or more specifically, what were the brewing options besides Mr. Coffee?

Our favorite solution is the cold filter pot.

Cold filtered coffee uses a two part pot which drips cold water into the coffee in order to make coffee syrup. It takes 24 hours for the cold syrup to brew after which you can pour it in a quart jar and put it in the fridge (where it will be good for 6 weeks) or just put in the cupboard (where it will be good for 4 weeks). When you ready for cup of coffee, take two tablespoons of syrup and hot water (from our cast iron tea kettle that sits on the wood stove). Or add cold water and ice. Not a hint of bitterness, no biting after taste. And it makes $2 a pound generic coffee taste like $15 a pound gourmet blend (well almost).

We got our cold filter pot from Real Goods at www.realgoods.com.

Another good solution is a French Press Pot, which many of you are probably already familiar with.

Ive got the hand grinder (Lehmans). Now I need to put up a 6 gallon bucket of roasted beans. Maybe I ought to make it two buckets...barterables you know.

Next experiment will be growing coffee alternatives.

Any other coffee ideas? Thanks for a great forum.

-- Timothy (trebman@megavision.com), December 10, 1998



I had forgotten about cold filtering coffee. We used to have a unit years (10-15) ago. Since I rarely drink the stuff anymore, I hadn't gven the unit much thought. (I wonder where it went anyway?) Anyway, I agree with you about the taste. It was the best at that time.

-- Bill S. (Bill_S3@juno.com), December 10, 1998.

Instant coffee + powdered creamer + hot water. Simpler?

Keep the hot water pot on the stove/fireplace insert/heater - no problem burning water, no odor, and it humidifies the air. If needed, use it for instant oatmeal (aka superglue) or soup.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 10, 1998.

Under ALTERNATIVES, file the American Coffee Bean Tree (kids know it as the Indian Cigar Tree) It is, if memory serves, a relative to chicory, and the beans do make a fair immitation of the real thing, or so I've been told.


-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 10, 1998.

Use the French press every morning. Great flavor. Once, when camping, with whole beans and no grinder, took hammer to a plastic baggie filled with beans. Hand ground (pulverized) coffee takes awhile, but it sure was appreciated by the group!

Later stage option -- caffeine withdrawal headaches only last a week - - then you can function with a clearer head.

Still enjoying the cafe lattes while I can -- local coffee house says their espresso machine is Y2K compliant. Good news. Have to ask if they have a generator. That steam powered idea sounds great!


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), December 10, 1998.

If I was into Y2K investments I'd be storing bulk coffee. But.

Quit serious coffee drinking awhile ago (6-10 cups per day). Now drink the stuff about once a week and enjoy the good stuff only. Instant is bad for me. Talked to a coffee vendor who said the following in the context of Y2K. Buy green coffee beans now, half the coffee crop was wiped out recently in the South American storms. Don't buy roasted, they are really only good for three or four weeks. Get a professional to roast your beans, the difference between a good roast and a bad one is about two seconds. Roast only what you can use in three weeks. Grind, do not chop, your beans. Keep ground beans cool (best in the freezer) and use within three weeks. Use rainwater for best flavour. Never use boiling water it 'burns' the coffee. Boil the water, wait a minute then add to the ground beans. Plunger coffee (French Press Pot?)is a satisfactory alternative to commercial coffee shop varieties,

-- Bob Barbour (r.barbour@waikato.ac.nz), December 10, 1998.

best NOT in the freezer!

-- Bob Barbour (r.Barbour@waikato.ac.nz), December 10, 1998.

I don't have a roaster within 200 miles of me, so I will have to store already roasted beans. Now if oxygen is the main problem with keeping cofee fresh, wouldn't storing whole roasted beans in a sealed bucket with oxygen absorbers be a good thing? Anyone tried this yet?

As far as instant coffee goes, well, I suppose if I have to. I could probably chock down instant tea as well. But if there are any other options...


-- Timothy (trebman@megavision.com), December 10, 1998.

Don't store roasted beans, even with oxygen absorbers. The oils will go rancid very quickly. They don't store well. Store green, unroasted beans, in buckets with o2 absorbers should work well. Roast these yourself as you need them (takes about 10-15 minutes in a sautee pan over stove or flame, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until dark brown.) and grind. Tastes MUCH better this way than stored roasted beans

-- Damian Solorzano (oggy1@webtv.net), December 11, 1998.

Roasted beans should not be stored, even with o2 absorbers. The oils in the beans go rancid quickly. If planning to store, get whole GREEN beans. Roast small quantities yourself. Roasting is easy. Large sautee type pan. Stove top, open fire etc. Keep the beans moving by stirring. Remove from flame when medium to dark brown. Takes 10-15 minutes usually. Greem beans can be stored almost indefinately, esp. with o2 absorbers, etc.

-- Damian Solorzano (oggy1@webtv.net), December 11, 1998.

What about ground coffee? Just asking

-- Floridagirl (Fran44@aol.com), December 11, 1998.

Where does one obtain large amounts of green coffee beans?

-- nursey (leckels@msn.com), December 11, 1998.

No problem with ground coffee at all. (But don't tell the neo-fancy-micro-latte-brewers above. They like working real hard to make a little bit of the hot fancy expensive stuff - I drink a lot of the hot regular cheap stuff.)

Lets assume though that you're working hard, or that power and/or natural gas is out. If so - no electric drip coffeemaker right? To "keep warm" feature after its brewed - if you leave it on the stove (woodstove or fireplace insert flattop?) the coffee is very likely to burn, boil dry, or turn bitter from over perking. Harder yet to get a good perked pot from the uneven heat from a regular masonry fireplace that has no insert.

So my choice is leave a pot of plain water (only one ingredient!) in a pot that is kept "full". No bitter taste or chance of "left perking" too long, or boiling over from being heated unevenly. The hot water can be used for other things too - for those in the house who prefer hot chocolate or instant oatmeal for example.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 11, 1998.

I've stocked up on ground coffe in cans; but I wonder:Depending (of course) on how bad y2k is, how long before shipments of coffe beans could be transported to America...

-- madeline (runner@bcpl.net), December 11, 1998.

Large quantities of green coffee beans can be had from any coffee broker, or failing that, from your specialty roaster. (I don't consider brand S a specialty.) Ask if S/He will consider ordering a sack for you. If you live in the nether lands of the Midwest, check the coffee sites on the net- I'm certain that there are some who will be willing to sell you green beans. Also, to differ with the opinion of a fellow poster, do learn how to roast your own. If there is a Defacatory/Oscillatory interface, there will be scarce few professional roasters around, and with a fine grind,some sugar and an ibrik,you can transform your roasting mistakes into turkish coffee. Another benefit of stored beans is that the flavor characteristics take on different qualities the longer beans are stored. I could go on ad nauseum, but I won't.

-- Damian Solorzano (oggy1@webtv.net), December 12, 1998.

I stocked up on large cans (commercial kind) of ground columbian supremo at Costco, also found at Staples (office supply store). I use a plastic funnel and paper filter type thing commonly sold in supermarkets, on top of a glass pot, poor boiling water on the grounds and voila. As good as electric drip coffee maker, same taste. Post Y2K, anything with caffeine in it will be heaven for me, if things are as bad as they say they will ;)

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), December 12, 1998.

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