Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Best ways to brew coffee as a college student

Ditch the drip coffee

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Emilia Beuger, Collegian Staff

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Are you sick of drinking coffee from a Keurig? Are you done pumping coffee out of a stainless steel container at Harvest? I have been for the majority of my time at the University of Massachusetts. I went from working at a small coffee shop where I manually pulled shots of espresso and frothed lattes, to drinking instant coffee mixes and “coffee concentrate” from Roots Grab and Go. I wanted to find a way to have a quality cup of coffee. Of course, no student, including myself, can afford nor find the space for a thousand-dollar manual espresso machine or a fancy drip coffee contraption. But, there are some ways to drink quality coffee using low-cost methods that don’t take up too much time.

For a small investment, you can brew your own coffee in your apartment, dorm room, house, etc. using one of these great brewing methods.

The Chemex

I live for my Chemex. Everyone I know is aware of how much I love my Chemex because I use it almost every single day. It is one of the best, and easiest, ways to brew coffee, especially when you’re in a hurry. I have the four-cup Chemex, which makes enough for one or two people. Many have the six-cup, which costs about $40 on Amazon. All you need to use it is a hot water kettle, or some other way to heat water, and filters which you can buy from Chemex or other sellers. You put the ground coffee in the filter in the top of the glass and you pour hot water to brew a pour-over coffee. You can also use a reusable coffee cone filter in the Chemex, which is much more sustainable, efficient and cost-efficient than the regular paper filters. Once you have finished brewing, you remove the filter and you can directly pour the coffee from the Chemex basin into a mug.

A simple pour-over

Don’t waste your money on some fancy pour-over set-up. Instead, look into a simple cone dripper and try to find one with a stand. Using this, you don’t need paper filters and you can set up the dripper on the stand right over your mug or thermos to brew the coffee directly into the container. This system is a little more time-intensive than the Chemex because it takes longer for the water to go through this filter than through a paper filter, but you still get the same fresh taste of the pour-over. I use this method when making a single cup because I can brew it right into my coffee mug.

The moka pot

This method requires a stove-top, so it is better for people who have access to a kitchen. My family has one of these and it brews a very strong cup of coffee. The coffee comes out more like an espresso, so if you are a person who wants that strong coffee flavor, this is a great choice for you. This also comes in a range of sizes, from one cup to six cups. My family has a smaller one and it is perfect for two people who want a strong espresso in the morning. For this method, you fill the bottom with water, then you add the filter basket on top with ground coffee. You put the top compartment on and put it on the stove to boil. The coffee boils upward to the top compartment to make a strong brew. This can take about five minutes.

Espresso machine

Finally, the fanciest-sounding machine of them all. Like I said at the beginning, students aren’t going out and buying thousand-dollar espresso machines. But, if you do enjoy a good shot of espresso or a latte, you can have them for cheap in your room. I have a simple Capresso espresso machine and it is small, easy to use and easy to clean! All I need is the coffee and milk that I want to froth. For such a cheap machine, this one froths milk really well and it pulls a nice shot of espresso because you are pulling it manually. If you pack the espresso filter properly, you can get a really nice shot of espresso. I keep this on top of my fridge and pull it down when I need it, so it doesn’t take up a lot of time or room. The key to using a cheap espresso machine is your technique when pulling the shot and the type of coffee you use. I use Starbucks Pike Place roast for all of my different methods and it has been great for every use.

If you are looking for a better way to brew fresh coffee quickly and cheaply, try one of these methods and find out what you like! You might even find yourself loving one kind and then expanding your brewing horizons by looking for new methods. I have found that these methods allow me to customize what I want to drink or what I want to try. I have found that it is a niche interest of mine and I want to continue learning more about different brewing methods (as evidenced for my recent internet search history regarding a French press, my ideal next coffee brewing method). So, if you want to get out of your coffee comfort zone and have consistent quality cups, try one of these easy brewing methods.

Emilia Beuger can be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @ebeuger.

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