Jan 27 2013
09:27 am

Maybe everyone already knew this, but I will say it anyway. The secret to making good coffee is the water. Or, as the Mrs. said, "it's the water, stupid!"

Tap water with chlorine and who knows what all just doesn't make good coffee. You need filtered water. Or, if money is no object, bottled water. (Which we had to use in FL because the water down there was so toxic.)

We used to have one of those screw-on faucet filters. It worked OK, but it was ugly and we suspect it was starting to make the faucet leak around the base. (Tip: Kohler faucets have a lifetime warranty and knowledgeable customer service reps who can tell you exactly what part you need and how to install it, and ship it out to you right away at no charge.)

For a while we had an undersink filter, but it affected the water pressure and didn't seem to filter water very well which is sort of the whole point. Plus it's wasteful to filter all the time even when you don't need filtered water, like for washing dishes or whatever.

Now we have one of those Pur pitchers. It takes a little extra time to filter and fill the pitcher, but it works great. We chose Pur filters because they theoretically filter more stuff than Brita or some of the others.

You could also use your refrigerator's water filter if it has one, but they generally don't seem to filter as well plus you will have to replace them more often and they are expensive.

What you don't need is a $175 Krups coffee maker. (In fact, I have given up on them after having a couple fail prematurely.) All you need is a $20 Mr. Coffee, or you can spring for an extra ten bucks to get one with a timer so your coffee is ready when you wake up in the morning.

Good coffee is obviously important, too. Right now we like the Dunkin Donuts Original Blend drip grind. It's available at stores, but you can get 1 lb. packages at Dunkin Donut shops that work out to be a little cheaper. There are lots of good coffees, though, and the quality makes a difference but not as much as the water.

Another secret to enjoying good coffee all day long is a good insulated carafe. If you leave the coffee pot sitting on the warmer very long it will scorch the coffee and ruin it, even if you have a fancy maker that cycles the warmer. After you get your first hot cup or two, pour the rest off into a carafe and it will stay hot for a remarkably long time.

We have found that the ones with a stainless steel exterior look nice but don't keep the coffee as hot for as long as the plastic ones for some reason. We have tried a couple, and even the stainless Thermos brand was a disappointment. Maybe the stainless steel acts as a thermal conductor causing more rapid heat loss. Who knows? Anyway, we have had good luck with the Copco brand thermal carafes.

roger fleenor's picture


Found a pitcher filter to be a perfect solution a year or so ago. But I have to say I love my Capresso Coffee Maker and believe it makes a lot of difference in flavor. It lets me make a two cup run with no loss in flavor which I have never found other makers do.

redmondkr's picture

I used to work with a guy who

I used to work with a guy who liked his coffee really strong. As he used to say, "It don't take much water to make good coffee."

He would come into the coffee mess in the shop on the midnight shift, pour him a cup of our already pretty strong rot-gut, and then add a heaping teaspoon of instant to it.

WhitesCreek's picture

I agree

I use filtered water. My filter is about the size of 200 feet of dirt and rocks just this side of Walden Ridge. Coffee in town tastes like it was made with swimming pool water.

At my factory, we put a big in line chlorine filter on one tap in the break room for coffee and that worked pretty well. Only had to change it every couple of years.

Mike Cohen's picture


We love the Kuerig. Easy to put filtered water in the water holder...and if you like different coffee, no problem. I can have a cup of an African coffee and E can have her French Roast. And there's no waste.

Factchecker's picture

Depends on the definition of the word waste

I can have a cup of an African coffee and E can have her French Roast. And there's no waste.

No coffee waste. There's no other waste only if you use the reusable filters (to speak of, that is--not getting into energy, manufacturing the machine, etc.). The single portion plastic k-cups are totally wasteful. And the grounds are wasted unless you compost them.

We bought my mother a Kuerig, since she lives alone. I was happy to learn she easily learned to use the filter we also got her. I think it's this Solofill.

Andy Axel's picture

What you don't need is a $175

What you don't need is a $175 Krups coffee maker. (In fact, I have given up on them after having a couple fail prematurely.) All you need is a $20 Mr. Coffee, or you can spring for an extra ten bucks to get one with a timer so your coffee is ready when you wake up in the morning.

I've got a tea kettle and a $10 press pot.

Rachel's picture

Us too. Nothing like

Us too. Nothing like grinding your own beans.

(Well, the spouse does. I can't drink coffee any more. And although I haven't had a cup in about 4 years, I miss it every single day.)

Bbeanster's picture

I bought one of those little

I bought one of those little plastic drip deals that sit on top of your coffee mug for $6.99 at Gourmet Market (you can get a ceramic one if you're really wanting to be fancy), a box of brown paper filters and whatever coffee beans are on sale at the Food Co-Op. I grind them in a $19.99 Kitchen Aid coffee grinder and use water from my mother's well up on McAnally Ridge.

Just boil up a cup (or two) of water, grind the beans and finish it off with a squirt of coconut milk creamer and some turbinado sugar (also from the co op), and it's a perfect cup of coffee for pretty damn cheap.

WhitesCreek's picture

You should be a celebrity

You should be a celebrity endorser for coffee...Bean's Beans.

bizgrrl's picture

We have one of the single cup

We have one of the single cup drip deals for when our coffee maker breaks. Love it.We also have a coffee grinder that is about 35 years old, Mr. Coffee. We use it when we feel creative.

WhitesCreek's picture

My little Krups grinder was

My little Krups grinder was purchased in 1989 and is still going strong. It rattles a good bit but does the job. It might be my best appliance ever having just outlived the old GE toaster oven from about the same era. All this chat about the evil bean is making me thirsty.

Pam Strickland's picture

I don't drink coffee -- going

I don't drink coffee -- going on nearly four years now. I do just fine.

bizgrrl's picture



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