Friend-of-Gizmodo Tonx.org has a cute little comic today bemoaning Keurig K-Cups—the little coffee pods designed to brew single servings of coffee. They're convenient, but they're ridiculously overpriced, and don't make very good coffee. You can do better.
You may have seen Matt or I square off over coffee, or Kristen talk about how she loves French Press. We all have different opinions, but pretty much everyone at Gizmodo loves coffee. And I think the one thing we'd all agree on is that K-Cups are a boondoggle.
K-Cups are like the Sony Memory Stick of coffee: an overpriced, proprietary system that delivers sub-par results. Are they easy to clean? Yes. Can you make flavored coffee with them? Yes. And, you know, if you want your coffee to smell and taste like the stock room at a Yankee Candle store, by all means, buy yourself some K-Cups.
But if you prefer for your coffee to taste like coffee, or you want more value for your money, then try one of these easy single-cup brew options instead, presented in order of difficulty.
(Oh, and score some coffee from Tonx.org while you're at it. Tony and Nik have a promotion going right now, and while free is nice, even at full-price it's a bargain for high-quality beans, precision-roasted with care and love.)
The Clever is my go-to method for making coffee most mornings, because it's utterly hassle-free. You just add ground coffee, hot water, stir, set it down for four minutes, and then put it on top of your mug and you've got amazeballs café. I'm almost reluctant to link to the how-to videos out there for the Clever because most of them are so over the top. Here's the thing: If you watch a lot of the videos you'll come away thinking the Clever requires complicated pouring methods, stopwatches, and intricately manicured facial hair and vintage tweed. None of that is true. While you can dial in a perfect cup by following intricate brewing methods, the Clever is so idiot-proof that as long as you measure your beans, water and time you're going to have a great cup of coffee.
Time: 4 minutes
The Aeropress is not only easy, it's ridiculously fun. Cleaning it is simple, you basically just have to wipe it down, which takes about three seconds, and stick it in the dishwasher on occasion. Moreover, it's a tinkerer's delight. While you'll be able to brew great coffee form the giddy-up, you can really experiment with the Aeropress, and dial in a method suited to your taste and the particular beans you're working with. There is almost a cult of Aeropress brewing out there. To get you started? Try this upside-down brewing method from Tim Wendelboe or these easy world championship recipes.
Time: 4 minutes
This is the same brewer you've seen at all manner of hipster coffee shops. Don't be turned off by that. It may take a little bit of practice, but once you have the hang of it, it's easy to use, and you can go from grounds to delicious brew in 2 minutes. Granted, this is the most complicated of the methods we present, but it's also the one with the best payoff if you can spare two minutes. Can you spare two minutes?
Time: 2 minutes
What‽‽‽‽‽ I thought we were getting away from K-Cups? Okay, okay, I know some of you love your Keurig, and you're never giving it up. But at least do yourself this one small favor: get the reusable basket that will let you put high-quality, freshly-roasted coffee in that machine. As a bonus feature: it's more earth-friendly too, since you won't be generating plastic waste with every cup.
Time: You know.
Cost: $19 (Plus a Keurig brewer.)