Like much of the nation, the past few weeks I’ve been working from home. Today I’m sharing my process for making great coffee to stay motivated and energized.

Maybe you’re asking, why make great coffee? Why not settle for mediocre? That’s a valid question. After all, it takes less time and money to make mediocre coffee. The honest truth is that in my case, I’ve simply gotten used to great coffee and can’t go back. Heretofore, that great coffee has been prepared by others, but now they’re quarantined just like the rest of ‘Murica, and no longer doing their thing. I’ve lost my source of great coffee.

Most my life, I’ve settled for pre-ground beans in a $50 drip coffee maker. But twenty months ago, I made a decision that moved me up in the coffee world: I started working at a coworking space. Coworking spaces, at least the ones I’m familiar with in Tulsa, source theirs beans from local coffee shops and grind them immediately before a drip batch, for a killer brew. Without realizing it, for nearly two years I’ve grown accustomed to sipping great coffee as a morning ritual.

But now, this seemingly unending source of low-friction caffeine has abruptly ended with Coronavirus. It’s time to work from home, and I noticed something.

Where muy coffee? 😳

That’s when it all became shockingly clear: I had to learn how to make a brew that would give a boutique coffee shop a run for its money. Once you move up in the world, you can’t move down. Not without a fight.

The first step was to run to CTX Coffee, the best coffee shop in the Tulsa metro area, run by my buddy Jacob. I picked up some coffee beans and got his personal insight into what makes a great cup of coffee. I’ve always know a good cup when I taste it, but I was lost as to how to actually achieve such a thing at my own kitchen counter. But it was time to learn.

Jacob stressed that the #1 thing is to get great beans and grind them immediately before brewing. All else is secondary. If you do just this one thing, you’re already in front of the herd.

This is all true, but then again, I needed a way to grind my pricey beans, and an AeroPress intrigued me.

Back home, I hopped on Amazon and picked up a few things.

  1. An AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker to actually brew.
  2. The JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder to grind my beans. You can get an electric grinder that will be faster, but I liked the idea that I’d be able to make a cup of coffee with zero electricity, using no energy other than my natural gas stove. It takes me about 3 minutes to crush up 15 grams of beans, and it’s therapeutic time well spent.
  3. A Chefbar Tea Kettles Stovetop to precisely measure the temperature of my water.
  4. A Nicewell Food Scale to precisely measure out 15 grams of beans per cup.

The total cost of these Amazon goodies was $130.62. That’s not bad, considering that a professional coffee shop grinder alone could easily run a couple of grand. For a fraction of that, I now had the tools to make an identical brew at a much smaller scale.

The parts arrived a few days later and the game was afoot. The AeroPress came with a simple set of instructions for how to use it and I started making cups of black coffee as well as lattes. The results are some of the best coffee I’ve ever had.

I won’t go into all the step-by-step parts of making a cup of coffee, since Blue Bottle Coffee has a great tutorial complete with fantastic photos. There’s nothing unique to my method. It’s worth noting that Blue Bottle Coffee deviates from the standard instructions that come with the AeroPress by telling you to pour your ground beans into the AeroPress while it’s upside down. This works if you’re making a full cup of coffee, but if you’re just preparing an espresso shot to turn into a latte, you’re best off using the AeroPress right-side-up. Otherwise the wet grounds stick to the bottom of the plunger too much when it comes time to press, and you won’t get the full strength of your grounds.

If you’re looking for where to get good beans and you’re too timid to talk to your local hipster bejeweled barista, check out the $3 sample from Yes Plz. Their coffee is very good. Between that and the Amazon links above, you’ll transform your morning experience while working from home.

I’m off to grind some beans and make a latte.