Each morning, 80 percent of us start our day with a cup of Java that brings us joy and caffeine. With one-third of us getting our coffee from a single-cup brewer, or Keurig-type machine, this super-convenient habit is getting ‘sputtered on’ for generating too much trash, harboring mold, and not dripping the tastiest cup of Joe.
The inspiration to re-think your morning drink may come from Dave Anderson, Artifact Coffee’s Coffee Director, who reveals the simple recipe to making the best single cup of coffee in about the same time as a Keurig pour. It’s even cleaner, and less costly. You may even find yourself pushing the single-brew system aside?
Artifact Coffee, located in Hampden, is part of the Woodberry Kitchen family. Woodberry Kitchen is a leader in sourcing local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients. Their tagline is “friends around the table,” and strong partnerships with local farmers is a key to their vision. Artifact Coffee also offers home-made and locally-sourced food and coffees.
When Dave and I sat down to drink the perfect cup of coffee, it dawned on me that we may have messed up this coffee thing with pumpkin spice flavor, pods, and sugar. My cup of coffee was so flavorful that I actually tasted cherry and a citrus flavor. It was a far cry from what I’ve been drinking lately.
“Just like great food, the key to a great cup of coffee is simple and pure ingredients,” Anderson said. “Artifact Coffee sources from Counter Culture Coffee in North Carolina, and the name of the coffee farmer is written on our menu board. The highest quality ingredients are often organic, or real without the artificial chemicals and processes.”
How the pros make the perfect cup
Dave poured filtered boiling water over freshly ground coffee in a paper filter that dripped into a Chemex glass pot ($30). Real baristas grind their own beans and use a burr grinder – a mill that squishes beans between two discs. Use one to two tablespoons of grounds per eight ounces of water. The Counter Culture variety we drank was shade-grown and organic, which means the farmers don’t use pesticides, they practice sustainable farming and didn’t clear cut forests to make way for large-scale farming operations (bye-bye birdies).
I asked about the benefit of using a paper filter versus a French Press plunger system. “The paper filter removes oils and sediment, but a French Press with high quality ground coffee makes a great cup of coffee, too,” explained Dave. If you’d like to learn more, visit Artifact Coffee’s “Coffee Cupping” every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.
Boiling water, quality coffee grounds and a glass pot. Going back to the basics avoids a lot of the baggage that comes with coffee appliances and the single-serving system.
The Single-Brew Backlash
You may have read that Keurig machines harbor mold. Truth be told, all coffee makers harbor mold if you don’t clean and descale the unit.
As the Kill the K-Cup spoof points out, the glaring issue with single-cup brews is that Keurig engineers clearly overlooked the downstream trash impacts of their coffee pods. It’s estimated that over 60 billion pods have been trashed since Keurig launched. The pods aren’t recyclable.
Sustainably-minded Green Mountain Coffee acquired Keurig in 2006 and has committed to recyclable K-Cups by 2020. The silver lining may be a greener firm purchased Keurig and is cleaning up the pod mess.
Keurig Green Mountain does offer My K-Cups and found itself in hot water when their latest 2.0 system would not accept the re-fillable filter; sales dropped 23 percent. My K-Cups were re-launched. Consumers can also find coffee pods like Cameron’s, found at Fresh Market, that offer paper, not plastic.
Which leads to an interesting value discussion: single-brew coffee costs twice as much as freshly-made ground drip coffee.
Using my own organic grounds in my $28 French Press costs me 43 cents a cup. I like Larry’s Coffee Decaf Twilight from Fresh Market. Using a Keurig and a Newman’s Organic K-Cup from Target (box of 16, $11.99) would cost me 75 cents a cup.
Win Free Artifact Coffee!
Need more inspiration? Artifact Coffee donated one 12-ounce bag of Counter Culture beans to one lucky Baltimore Fishbowl reader. Leave a comment below to enter, and the winner will be selected at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15.