Okay so I don’t know what the big deal is about the Keurigs. I know they’ve been out for a really long time, and I’ve even had a cup of coffee from a couple of them! But the bottom line is, I still don’t understand why everybody’s flapping about these Keurigs! They make one cup of coffee at a time, you have to use this little pod which is extremely expensive by comparison to just a bag of coffee, and the waste is unbelievable! All these little pods going into landfills. So I could never get on board with this new machine, especially since I already had a perfectly good working machine on my countertop! I’m not giving up my Krups!
Okay, a regular coffee maker is too much for one cup
However. Having said that, I was finding that I wasn’t using my coffee maker as much as I wanted to. I admit, at some point in my 40-year coffee drinking career, I discovered that I didn’t like making a whole pot of coffee anymore, and then drinking it all day. My tastes changed. I used to do that all the time! I’ve always been the only coffee drinker in my adult house, so drinking a pot of coffee all day long was perfectly acceptable in my book. No one else was there to complain! I would reheat old coffee all day long, and be perfectly satisfied with it.
However, at some point in the recent past, probably within the last 3 years, I stopped wanted to make pots of coffee. Too much work, too much cleanup, and I HATE cleanup. I mean hate it with a vengeance. I just couldn’t be bothered. All I wanted was one cup of coffee at a time, hot and delicious, and no cleanup.
Hmmm, wait a minute… I can see why the Keurig came along…
Don’t buy a new machine!
However, I wasn’t about to go and buy a whole new machine, just to deal with my one-cup-of-coffee-at-a-time need. It just seems such a waste of money, not to mention all those little pods. I just can’t cope with them! And, I can’t cope with the extra expense! I can’t believe how much more expensive those pods are by volume than just a regular bag of coffee. It’s ridiculous! I don’t know why people are doing it!
So, I had to come up with a solution. I also have to admit, I was succumbing to the convenience of – gasp! – instant coffee.
Holy maloly. Yes, yes, yes. I sunk to that lowest of low, the instant coffee rollover and take it up the back. I simply just didn’t have the energy or the wherewithal to make one cup of coffee through the brewing machine, so I did yes I did fall to the deepest depths of horror by using instant coffee. Egads. Just for a while though. Sigh. What had become of me?
Not able to live with myself a second longer, I decided dammit I’m going to come up with a way to make a really good cup of brewed coffee without needing to buy a whole new machine to do it for me! I was going to do it! I was going to figure it out.
The new (sort of) solution
And thus, the individual coffee brew bag was born.
Now do know, I am aware that this is not a new concept. These things have been around forever. I think Folgers and Maxwell house even have their own single serving coffee brew bags, but what if it’s the season for pumpkin spice, I ask? What about caramel delight? I wanted the freedom to make whatever flavor I liked in one jolly cup without having to buy an entire machine for it!!
But I just hadn’t thought of it before nor had I even bother to investigate it. And maybe that’s the reason no one else is doing it and the Keurig managed to sneak its way into people’s kitchens even though they’re the spawn of the ecological and economical devil. In the end, I got so sick of the instant coffee crap, and on the very odd occasion when I did have cups of coffee out of a Keurig I was so jealous about how delicious they were, that I immediately had to come up with something else.
So. What to do?
Well, what started it all was I remembered I had a tea strainer! OMG the universe always provides.
At some point in my past I decided I was going to drink a lot of loose leaf herbal teas, and so I went and bought a metal tea strainer.
Yeah, the herbal tea thing never worked out, but I never got rid of the strainer. Score!
So I decided that I would try it with coffee! Why not? It works with tea, why shouldn’t it work with coffee?
First, however, I had to get over this little obstacle of the fact that it was made out of metal. And, I boil all my water in the mug in the microwave. I could let a kettle boil and all that crap, but I’m just not that sort. I don’t have an electric kettle either, I have an old fashioned silver stovetop kettle. That my mom gave me. I use it to boil water for hot water bottle and that’s it. I don’t boil it for coffee water. Microwave City, that’s me!
If you have a kettle? Use it with coffee just like you would pour it through a tea bag. And you’ll get your lovely coffee and it’ll be awesome. Sort of.
I did have to go through several test runs before I finally got this right. I started with a tea strainer, but if you have a metal tea strainer like this:
You have to make sure that you submerge the entire thing in your coffee cup. If you’re going to use microwave that is. Otherwise it’s metal Etc and might blow up in microwave. But when I made sure that the entire tea strainer was submerged in the coffee or excuse me in the water in the water in the milk, I didn’t have any issues in the microwave. But pay attention your first time out! You don’t want a blowing up your house or setting it on fire because you put metal in the microwave. But you can get away with it, as long as a whole thing is submerged and for me that worked great.
However, I found that the holes in the strainer, regardless of how fine they were, still allowed too many grounds to come through for my taste. So I went to looking for something else. Thank God for Amazon.
Here I found a plethora of potential coffee ground receptacle options. So I chose a few. I love the look of these little tea strainers with their little flowers on them so I ordered those:
Hey you get five in a box why not? So then I also saw a bunch of loose leaf tea bags that you can fill yourself, which I thought was an awesome idea! So there were a couple of different ones I wanted to try, because I wasn’t sure what problems I would run into coming into the experiment. So I got these with the drawstring:
And these with just the opening in the flap:
The first test
I began my experiment using the tea strainers with the flowers on them because I thought they were cute! I really wanted them to work the most, because they would produce almost no waste (only coffee grounds) as they were reusable.
However, I had a lot of trouble trouble getting them to submerge. There was too much air in the receptacle where you put the coffee in. After I sealed the top to keep the coffee in, it also kept the air in, which left the strainer wanting to float on the top of the water. And that’s a problem, because it made the metal exposed to the microwave.
Now, the holes in the strainer are perfectly small enough for people who use a kettle. So if you’re going to use a kettle, you can put this little guy in the bottom of your cup and pour the water over it, and you shouldn’t have any issues with floating. Let the thing brew for a while, and you’re good to go.
However, I like to shove the whole lot in the microwave let it heat up, brew at the same time, and when it comes out of the microwave it’s ready for me to add milk and sugar and hog down. So this wasn’t going to work for me, unless I could find a way to submerge the strainer. I needed a way to get the air out of the strainer, without letting grounds out.
I tried a number of different things to get their air out, but all of them let grounds out too, except this one:
This does work, but I admit, I didn’t want to test this out every single time I made a cup of coffee. I wanted to be sure that the air would be out of the out of the strainer without letting the coffee grounds through. So I abandoned this option for now. I may revisit it later just because they’re so cute. But for now, I found another option that works better.
The second test
Next, I tried the tea bag with the drawstring. I would have liked that one to work as well, but it didn’t really. The drawstring would never close completely, so some grounds would come out, and I didn’t like that. Also there was no way to keep the bag in place. There’s no tag on it, the bag wanted to float, so the hole in the top did make it worse for the grounds to come out. I attempted to tie the bag to the side of the mug to the handle, with the little drawstrings, but it still didn’t really work very well. So I let that one go.
The best and final option, that I’m still using to this day, is the big tea bag with just the flap. It works beautifully. The bag is compostable, so you’re not even creating any waste. It’s a total win-win. Well it’s a win in the sense that it works beautifully, there’s no waste, but you do have to keep buying these things. It would have been nice if the permanent tea strainer would have worked, because then I wouldn’t have to keep buying tea bags, but you know what, sometimes you got to do what you got to do. I used to have to always buy filters for my machine, now I don’t. Now I just buy individual filters, so to speak.
Anyway these work absolutely beautifully. I bought size 2 (as you can see), because I use an enormous mug, and I like to have enough room in there to move around. So I put my coffee grounds into the bag, and then the only thing I needed to do was make sure that the bag remained attached to the side of the mug so it wouldn’t float around and eventually open up and let all the grounds out. I needed an anchor.
This might sound gross, but all I did was lick the top of the bag. But essentially all you have to do is put a little bit of moisture on the top flap of the bag (how you do that is up to you) and then fold it over the side the outside of the mug. This happily secured the bag to the side of the mug, without disrupting any of the grounds or allowing the bag to slip underneath the top of the water level.
Get your perfect brew
Then all you have to do is throw the lot in the microwave for three minutes, and out comes everything beautifully brewed. You’ll have a perfect mug of coffee, in any flavor you like, in any size mug that you like, since you can put as many teaspoons of coffee in the bag that you need for the cup size and strength you like. It’s awesome. It works beautifully.
Try it! And then donate your Keurig to Goodwill and stop the madness once and for all. 🙂