Bad Coffee

“Life is too short for bad coffee.”

My coffee maker “bit the dust.” It served me well for many years, but now it’s gone. And I’m on a quest for a coffee maker that makes a perfect cup of coffee every single time. Help!

So here are some Java, Joe, Mud, Café questions for you.

You like coffee? Or maybe love it? What kind of coffee maker do you have? What’s your secret for making the perfect pot of coffee?

I love coffee, good coffee, that is. My first cup of coffee is part of my morning ritual, and it comes sometime after 5 a.m.

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  1. Oh, this is a tough one. We had a Brun for a while – the kind that you set up the night before, and in the morning it turns on, grinds the beans, and makes the coffee. It was wonderful.

    Until the night I poured the water into it and all the water promptly came out the bottom all over the counter. Mind you, the coffeemaker was less than one year old. And not cheap.

    No more Bruns.

    So? We’re using a Mr. Coffee. Now, I’m with you – I buy top-of-the-line, fair-trade, organic coffee. No supermarket stuff. No Starbucks. GOOD coffee, only, thank you. But I’m content to make it my Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. It seems to be okay.

    If you find out about a better one, that doesn’t cost a fortune, I’d love to know.

  2. Cindy says:

    I also do not like the chain coffee clubs – I think the coffee tastes like kerosine smells – and it gives me heartburn! I buy Eight O’Clock coffee – I get the whole beans and grind it in a antique coffee grinder that is attached to my kitchen cupboard. It gives out a nice coarse grind and is just like the one my Mom has attached to her kitchen cupboard! 32 grinds for a pot. I boil-(to a rolling boil)- filtered well water, put a coffee basket on top of my thermos carafe, line it with a unbleached filter, put in the fresh ground coffee, and slowly pour the water over until the thermos carafe is full. Takes a bit of time, but isn’t that the best thing about coffee? Savoring the experience!

  3. donna says:

    I am on my second Cuisinart. It is a great quality and the first one lasted 5 years, so I replaced with the same one. Basic, simple coffee maker, $79.00. I am fortunate to live in St. Louis where we have a local coffee company, Thomas! Divine coffee. My husband travels around the world and continues to bring me coffee from many places, but nothing compares to the perfect cup of Thomas.

  4. Jackie says:

    I will certainly take a minute to talk about coffee. Now, I use a French Press. It’s a wonderfull morning ritual that adds to my whole coffee experience.
    All you need is a grinder, the press, and a way to [almost] boil water. It takes about 15 seconds to grind the coffee, about 2-3 minutes to heat the water (to just boiling…). Boiling water scorches coffee. Pour the grinds and then the water into the press and put on the "lid". After 4-8 minutes, slowly press down the … press… then pour into your favorite mug, add your fixins, close your eyes and enjoy… and enjoy.
    The only flaw is that the press cannot keep your coffee warm for very long. But then, in a matter of minutes, you can make another FRESH POT.
    I have worked in coffee shops for about a decade and have become somewhat of a coffee snob. Of all the ways of brewing coffee out there, the French Press is by far my favorite. It’s the only way to have complete control over how it is made… how hot the water is… how long it "steeps"… how much coffee you use…
    Mmmmm… Coffee.

  5. Vicky Peters says:

    Tea was my choice of drink until I married my husband and was introduced to a family of coffee drinkers who looked cross eyed at tea. I converted over. Now I am a coffaholic and love a great cup of coffee almost before I open my eyes in the morning.
    We have had almost every coffee maker on the market and now have a gevalia coffee maker…….. eh, its ok but not great. But to tell the truth, when my husband makes the coffee. it is pretty close to great.

  6. Adrienne says:

    I have a reasonably-priced red Cuisinart Filter Brew with an auto timer I can set that starts brewing the coffee while I shower. My coffee tastes range from Peet’s Major Dickason to their Anniversary Blend to free trade Ethiopian. Sometimes I mix Vanilla Nut with Caramel to create a dessert coffee. Always, always, always start with cold filtered water and clean the coffeemaker weekly. I brew a pot by adding a half cup of white vinegar to the water and run the water through a filter. A clean coffeemaker will make the best coffee. Oh–and if you buy the beans at the store and tell the barista you use a Melitta filter, they will grind the beans according to the basket you use in the coffeemaker.

  7. Sherry says:

    We have gone through many coffee makers….we had a Krups…but the one we had didn’t automatically turn off, and so if we weren’t drinking as much we ended up with burnt coffee because no one actually remembers to turn things off at my house. We have used Mr. Coffee, Gevalia and my new personal favorite a Cuisenart. Makes really good coffee, can set it to brew the night before and turns off after an hour. Did I mention it makes really good coffee. My daughter actually makes the best coffee in the house….don’t know why, she doesn’t even really drink it, but her cup of coffee is always smooth and perfect…must be a gift. I actually like Folgers columbian pretty well…we make it strong…no sense in having a cup of coffee if you can’t taste the coffee. I like the fresh ground also, but I broke my grinder… sad day!

  8. CC says:

    We have a wonderful (old) Krups that has the thermal carafe … and I worry when it dies, what to replace it with, so will be reading the comments for tips as it’s 15 years old and am sure it’s days are truly numbered!

  9. Isabelle Frisco says:

    This is an easy one for me. I love the Cuisinart Brew Central DCC-1200. The coffee is delicious and HOT. My only negative is that you must be careful pouring in the water. it’s very narrow.

    I also, if you can believe this , love to put an old fashion top of the stove pot on for coffee. I don’t know why more people don’t take the time to do once in awhile. It is just soooo good. The smell of the coffee throughout the house is so nice.

    I just love coffee too!!

  10. Dawn says:

    Hi Rebekah,

    Sometimes when we travel we bring along our own fresh ground coffee, and we’ve even been known to travel with our own real Vermont maple syrup too. My husband thought I was crazy and ‘rude’ at first, then he just came to the conclusion I was a friendly sort-of Coffee snob and a Maple Syrup purist at heart. Needless to say, we too enjoy the ratio of 1 Tablespoon of coffee grounds to 1 cup water. "Mud" to some, a simple morning pleasure to us. Depending on the season, the level of amibition, and tasks for the remainder of the day, we’ll use one of three methods: Our Burr Grind & Brew Thermal™ 12-Cup Automatic CoffeemakerDGB-900BC by Cuisinart, the Bodum – Young Press, or on rare occasions a stovetop Bialetti. While the Cuisinart may require some cleaning and after a few years may sound like an airplane from time to time it has been, for us, the most consistent all-in-one coffeemaker; As for the Bodum press, this is a common weekend choice. Often on Sunday mornings while we (hopefully soon will) watch Hummingbird TV from our backyard patio deck, the 34 ounce press works well for 2 of us; and last but not least the stovetop Bialetti is just plain country coffee and never disappoints. Whichever you choose Rebekah, Good Luck in your quest, can’t wait to hear more of your adventures !
    With Love, and Hugs,

  11. Dianne Beach says:

    Like Darlene we have a Mr Coffee. My husband and I have a growing contest about who makes the BEST coffee. Of course, I know it’s me. I like it STRONG. I bought a coffee press years ago and recently started using it. I put the tea kettle on while I feed the girls(cats) then put in the amount of coffee for my cup (4) scoops coffee. Pour the boiling water in the bottom over the grounds, stir gently, steep 4 minutes and push down the press, which pushes down the grounds and up the beautiful strong coffee. Perfect every time. Since I know how much coffee my favorite cup holds (8 oz.) I use 8 oz. H20 to 4 scoops coffee. It really is easy. As for Hubby, he likes the Mr Coffee. I just am not fit to be around before my coffee, which I savor. Good luck in your search. Thanks for sharing, bad coffee is just BBBaaaaaaadddddddd!

  12. Emily McNally says:

    If you are looking to elevate the coffee-enjoyment experience to another level, I suggest that you try an electric french press. We abandoned our automatic brew/drip model as primary coffee-maker years ago when my husband sought to find an excellent quality cup of coffee for reasonable price per cup/ short time to setup/brew. We tried an old-fashioned, manual glass french press coffee maker over a decade ago and fell in love with it. It’s possibly a greener option, too because there are no filters to buy or use. You’ll feel better and the coffee tastes better when the water/coffee doesn’t get filtered through plastic parts.
    We had our third child a year ago and so time is more limited. The manual french press was retired recently . My husband swapped the manual press for an inexpensive(less than $50) electric (heats the water in the unit vs. water is heated on the stove) french press that is more convenient. The brand is "Chef Choice Int’l". Maker was made in Germany and purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond. My husband actually takes this to work presently. Maker is inconspicuous enough and the coffee takes less time to make then to walk to the cafeteria to get a coffee.

    Grinding- We grind our own in a hand-held German Coffee bean grinder that is similar to what early Americans used in their homes decades ago…These are not cheap, but probably over time, you offset the price of the grinder with the electricity you save. or maybe not. For us, grinding our own coffee manually reminds us of a simpler time. We imagine the days when people purchased their coffee from local coffee roaster. You can sometimes find a nice, used older coffee grinder at flea market, garage sale, estate sale if you want to find something you can reuse.

    If you are looking to heighten your coffee-enjoyment experience further still, I suggest that you try a home-roasting your own coffee. The great thing about roasting your own coffee is that you can control how light or dark the beans get, which greatly affects taste.
    I bought my husband a inexpensive (?$80 or so) small-batch coffee roaster 10 years ago (about the size of a hot-air popcorn maker and about as noisy) and some green coffee beans to try coffee-roasting for himself (1/2 lb beans at a time).
    It took a few batches to get the hang of it before he found the right roast time for his taste and the time to let the coffee "sit" (2-3 days) before grinding. Then, he got serious. He researched and had found a coffee importer that sold him 3, 25 lb bags of green coffee beans for roasting for fair price. NOTE: I would not suggest buying in large quantity unless you REALLY plan to roast regularly (once a week). Green Coffee beans can be purchased in small quantities for reasonable price.
    You can also roast your own coffee in a weber grill, anywhere where temp. can remain at 500 degrees for 12-15 minutes. We tried indoors in our oven once, but just found that we liked roasting in our small roaster (in the garage). It produced the best beans and kept the roast smells (which doesn’t resemble at all what you’d expect it would) out of the house. Roasting indoors also set off our smoke alarm, which was a nuisance.

    Hope this helps! Good luck! 🙂
    Emily – Mt. Prospect, IL

  13. Since I like to do whatever my grandmother did, I brew my coffee in a stainless steel, stove-top perculator that I have had since 1979. I grind the beans and use 1/2 cup for every 10 cups of water. Once the perking starts, I perk it for 1 minute per cup. After it’s done and has settled a few minutes, I pour it into a pump thermos to stay warm for most of the morning. We relish our morning coffee, so it’s usually gone before the coffee starts to cool in the thermos.

  14. Celeste says:

    GREAT topic. I’m with the French Press contingent. I cannot tell you how many people I’ve converted after having coffee at my house. Smoothest, most delicious brew ever. I like my coffee pretty strong, but you are the master with your french press. I have an insulated version, so it stays warmer longer than the traditional glass versions. Also, a friend of mine gifted me with an electric water pot a few years ago and I can boil water in a few minutes with it, so I can grind boil and steep my coffee in about 5 minutes.

  15. Genevieve says:

    We’re snobs over here, and we only use The Almighty French Press. Pour in the (coarse) grounds, boiling water, steep 4-5 minutes, push the strainer down, and pour. You can get large ones that make multiple cups. I know it’s a far cry from automatic, but it’s easy, saps zero electricity, is completely portable and very long-lasting, and OH BOY does it make good coffee. Just my two cents!

  16. Debbi says:

    You need a Krup. It makes one cup at a time and is the best ever. We’ve had ours for 4 years and love it. Bought one for our daughter for Christmas.

  17. Teresa says:

    I got rid of ALL my coffee makers, from the antique percolator to every modern one I had and bought a French Press. I’ve been making single cup expresso drips for me. I had hot water if it is too strong. A little cream and sugar and I’ve got One Good Cup of Coffee… I buy off brand expresso. There is one that makes great Vietnamese coffee in an orange can from New Orleans… (buy at Asian markets) …"cafe du monde" they are online too. Then there is a mexican one in a yellow can… We’ve been having fun experimenting… Every now and again I’ll throw the expresso over ice after mixing it with condensed milk… yum! Good luck!

  18. Mmy says:

    I had a similar coffee experience, but with my stepfather… my mother was not a coffee drinker, so I’d only had it a few times before my stepfather taught me how to make coffee. It began a love affair! I worked my way through several colleges working in coffee shops. I can make coffee in every method so far known to man.

    I get mixed feelings when people all chat about how good "little local" coffee shops are. In my life, they’ve proven to be like the girl with the golden curl — when they’re good, they’re very, very good, but when they’re bad, they’re HORRID. In terms of both labor and good coffee: the best and worst cups. Chain shops are just consistently mediocre brew, so you known what to expect, but they do tend to treat their workers well.

    I liked my coffee the same way you did: hot, with sugar and rich milk. Unfortunately, I learned this year caffeine might be contributing to my medical problems… now I’m trying to learn to be content with decaf with a splash of 2% and some Stevia. (It’s still a comfort, but a pale one, comparatively! I think I need to make counter space and break out my espresso machine again… decaf espresso might not get you wired, but it’s just as sweet!)

    Of course, my dear stepfather is NOW experimenting with old-fashioned wild-harvested dandelion root "coffee," so we’ll see how THAT goes. 🙂

  19. Nan Roberts says:

    When I made coffee, I made it with a Melitta drip thing. I have a couple of the individual sized filter holders, and I think one bigger one. I’ve had to cut back on caffeine, so it’s green tea for me now. Yeah, there’s decaf. sigh. BUt it was so simple. Put quite a lot of ground coffee in the filter, add hot water the correct way,and there you are. Coffee. It’s so simple. And you can adjust how strong you want it and add things like cinnamon. Or pepper. Or whatever. I go for Melitta every time. And I don’t know how to use coffee makers. They are a mystery.

  20. Nan Roberts says:

    When I made coffee, I made it with a Melitta drip thing. I have a couple of the individual sized filter holders, and I think one bigger one. I’ve had to cut back on caffeine, so it’s green tea for me now. Yeah, there’s decaf. sigh. BUt it was so simple. Put quite a lot of ground coffee in the filter, add hot water the correct way,and there you are. Coffee. It’s so simple. And you can adjust how strong you want it and add things like cinnamon. Or pepper. Or whatever. I go for Melitta every time. And I don’t know how to use coffee makers. They are a mystery.

  21. meredith says:

    WHAT!!!!!?????? So far I’ve read that no one uses a Keurig? I am on my second machine (the first died due to owner neglect and large amounts of limestone in our water). I buy Green Mountain Coffee from VT and will drink a hot fresh cup morning, noon and night. And any other chance I get. Yes, the coffee is more expensive this way, and yes, there doesnt seem to be a way to recycle the little K cups. But this is darn near my only indulgence. I take it with me everywhere- camping, cattle shows, etc. I would be in a sorry state without it….:)

  22. Marilyn says:

    Dunkin Donut coffee is surprisingly good and can be purchased at their stores as well as as Wal-mart. We have a Bunn maker and yes the water is always hot — we are coffee drinkers and like the fact we can have coffee so quickly any time of day. When friends stop by it is really nice to make coffee quickly. This is our first Bunn maker and we like it — down side – no auomatic shut off on the heating plate after a couple of hours — this thing stays on.

  23. MotherLodeBeth says:

    I am a coffee snob. Water is #1. Has to be clean water that is filtered if it is not from our own well.

    Then fair trade whole beans, freshly ground. And I only use two types of coffee makers. French press or a Chemex.

  24. CJStevens says:

    Hello fellow coffee lovers!
    I am also a fan of the Cuisinart and have had two–the one that brews into a glass or thermal pot and our current one which brews into a tank and then you dispense it a cup at a time. The coffeemaker goes off automatically after two hours. The tank fits into the dishwasher top rack along with the filter. We drink mostly Green Mountain Coffee Roasters roasted here in Vermont but I also like to pick up local coffee when I’m traveling. And a shout out to my fellow Vermonter who uses maple syrup in coffee–yum!

  25. Candace says:

    I am currently a French Press coffee drinker. We began using a French Press when I got disgusted with yet another burner that died on our drip coffee maker. That was about 10 years ago. We’ve never turned back. The only drip coffee maker I would use if I didn’t use my French Press would be a Gevalia Automatic Drip Coffeemaker. It’s in my firm opion that the Swedes excel when it comes to making coffee. Heaven in a cup!

  26. Tara says:

    I think starting with good coffee is pretty important. A good bean that came from a farm that grows in the shade in good soil, picked only when red and ready. I picked coffee in Costa Rica on a tiny farm for two months. We had no electricity so we had to get fruit to coffee drinking stage by hand with water, mats in the sun and hand grinder to get several layers of skin off the bean. We roasted it over an open fire. No wiz bang machinery for making a good cup of coffee just good coffee. Drink your coffee black and taste what each variety of bean has to offer. Depending on where they are grown makes a difference.

  27. Mary Rauch says:

    Keurig only for me thank you.

  28. Brenda says:

    We used Mr Coffee for years. And they were replaced often. We stepped up a step last time and bought the lesser of the Cuisinart that was on sale for around 80.00. Hubs thought I was crazy that was too much. But soon as we made the first pot he was A-Ok with it. We have had it for 4-5 years and it just recently started shutting off during the brewing 1/2 through. Not a bad life. I did visit a friend that had one of the pots that you put your one serving pod in and that was a good cup of coffee. We do use Starbucks. We like the breakfast blend first thing in the morning. I guess we like to start a little lighter. But we have a coffee shop 40 minutes or so away that grind and sell wonderful coffees. My favorite is white chocolate raspberry. LOVE it.

  29. Janeen says:

    I am currently using a non-electric stovetop percolater to brew my coffee. The house smells wonderful and the coffee is hot! No fancy bells and whistles, just good coffee.

  30. Catherine says:

    My new sis-in-law introduced me to the French Press and I fell in love with it (and her)! I do keep my Gevalia Coffee Maker handy for when company drops by or I need to make a really big amount (it’ll make 12 cups) but for just me (about 3 cups worth) my french press is perfect. I like mine very strong with lots of milk and I heat my milk a few seconds in the microwave to keep my coffee hot. I also like to add an eggshell to my coffee grounds (washed and dried so it’s not nasty). I don’t know but for some reason it helps keep the "sludge" down. I’d read about it in a book, researched it and found out that yeah, it is a real thing to do and I like it. It does really seem to make my coffee "smoother"

    My fave coffee is Gevalia (Mocca Java), very smooth non-bitter coffee. If I run out of that I like Dunkin Donuts brand.

  31. Gwen Quon says:

    Coffee that is a deep subject for me. I grew up with a swedish father who as far as I can remember never was with out a cup of coffee in his hand. The smell of coffee brewing is
    heavenly to me and it makes me feel all is right with the world! I have gone thru so many
    coffee makers and have yet found the perfect one. Currently I am using a Black And Decker.
    My coffee must be strong to the point where I cannot see thru it, like mud and cream and sugar to top it off. Coffee is at the top of the list for comfort food or drink for me!!

  32. Roma Horton says:

    Without question a Technivorm is the best coffee maker because the water gets hot! That is if you like hot coffee…

  33. Cathy Harvey says:

    Glad to read so many posts on makers. Our Black and Decker recently died after 4 years so glad to get a lot of feedback. Right now I’ve pulled out the cheap one we kept in the camper and the coffee tastes about the same as the B & D. It’s easier to fill, too. The B & D had a narrow reserve well that was hard to fill (have plenty of towels ready!) and it was hard to keep the moisture from giving a ‘musty’ flavor to the coffee after awhile, even after cleaning it repeatedly with a vinegar solution. I’m going to look into the favorites listed in your blog comments. We do grind our own beans and use cold, filtered water, of course. One thing I like to do, especially in the fall, is to sprinkle some cinnamon into the coffee grounds. Gives a nice cozy flavor.
    Thanks again!!

  34. carol Branum says:

    Hi,I use an antique perculator vintage 1951 I bought for 25 cents at a yard sale.After throwing away hundreds of cheap pots over the years,I stumbled apon this kinda by accident,and I was so thankful I did!Make sure the cord is not frayed and is in good condition,or get a stovetop model,grind your own beans or use egg shells for a filter,or cut a whole in a regular filer.I like real heavy cream the best even if its fattening.blessed be carol

  35. Kathy says:

    A French Press is really the only way to go. I always buy an organic, dark Sumatra or French Roast. Grind right before pouring near boiling water over the grounds. Stir gently with chopsticks and let it settle for 4 minutes. Push down plunger and enjoy. I won’t go back to auto-makers. The leftover coffee is great for iced beverages or make ice cubes for iced coffee.

  36. Cindy says:

    Seems we feel the same about our ‘Joe’. I love it, sometimes getting a hankering for it even during the day. For the most part, I’m a morning girl, so yearning during the day is a fun thing. Again, I love Hazelnut too! That’s my fav. But I also like Punkin Spice. Tho never trying Peppermint, as a dear friend and yourself, I’ll HAVE to try it, I say! Currently I’m ‘on’ Eight O’clock as Donna above, but I buy the whole bean and grind it ‘instore’ on the espresso grind because I get more for the bang. I live alone, so it goes a long way in my house. the first moments of the day ARE the best, I agree. That’s the time to get with God and thank Him for all I get to share with Him. He likes coffee too 😉

  37. Cheryl says:

    For everyday use I have a Keurig and love it. I have several other machines and love using them. We have a Cappuccino/Espresso machine,a Mr. Coffee, a french press and a variety of stove top and electric percolators. I drink coffee and tea like others drink soda. I enjoy all flavors and at all times of the day. Each process has its pros and cons. With the Keurig and a "My K Cup" I can have my own fresh ground coffee which is nice also. My advice is to try different ones and see which is the right one for you.

  38. Vicki says:

    We have a Bunn coffeemaker. It makes coffee in a matter of minutes. No waiting forever for your cup of joe. Always makes a perfect cup. I have had one for over 10 years. I would never go back to the "take forever coffee pots". They do not get limed up like the other ones. I highly recommend the Bunn.

  39. I’ve seen a few people post about the Keurig and that is the one that I’m going to rave about. I love it, even though if you buy the prepackaged Kcups it seems to be a lot of wasted plastic :-/ which is why I use the little refillable k-cup (can’t remember what it’s called) and just buy the bagged coffee. I have the smaller Keurig so it takes about 3 minutes longer than the larger sizes (which like your bunn keep the water hot from what I can tell) But it works for me and I don’t think I’ll have another coffee maker again.

  40. Lindsay says:

    I agree with Marilyn, I can’t believe no one uses a Keurig!! It has great options from all different types of pre-packaged coffees and teas and even hot chocolate and cappuccino, but you can also buy filters to go in it so you can grind your own beans or buy the trusty Folgers and use that. It is great for quick, is delicious and there are no grinds. I love my little red machine, best begged-for Christmas present this college girl could have 🙂

  41. Aileen says:

    My favorite way to brew up a cup of joe is with a good old fashion percolator. I like to use a dark roast from Green Mountain or Seattle’s Best. For years this was the only way I made coffee. I loved the flavor plus I could hide it away in the cabinet when it wasn’t in use. I have since acquired a Keurig because of my husbands early before 5am departures to work. It’s a great convenience when you’re in a hurry. So when I’m in a hurry or feeling extra extra lazy I use my Keurig. Each cup is perfect no doubt! One of my favorites for the K-cup is Tully’s Kona or the Caribou.

    This machine is especially great for single coffee drinkers. No waisting a pot. I bought one for my mom as a gift when I found out she was going instant. My dad had quit drinking coffee and she didn’t want to make a pot just for her. I couldn’t stand the thought of her missing out on a good cup of coffee. She loves hers and uses it every day.

  42. Mary Perry says:

    I have never been a huge coffee drinker, so every time I would make a pot, most of it got tossed out. A few years ago I spent way too much money on a Keurig. Figured that one cup at a time would save me money. Yes, it did!! Well worth the money, even though I now have two cups every morning, instead of one. I have found that the very best is the Donut Shop. I drink my two cups in an insulated mug, with two sweeteners and two tsp. of nonfat creamer. Just plain perfect.

  43. Mary Rauch says:

    So, Rebekah, after renewing the "coffee rebellion" of 2011, will you be making a NEW choice for yourself? Please let us know.

  44. Janet says:

    Only a French press will do for me! You can get a 4 cup size at Ikea for less than $15. The taste is wonderful and only takes a few minutes to brew.

  45. Valinda says:

    About making coffee…each ingredient, the water AND the coffee make the completed victory drink. I am serious about coffee. I use a plain coffee drip and have used several, $15 to $25 in price, but no certain one do I like better.

    I seem to make the same tasting coffee by using the same water system Starbucks uses, and it is one of Starbucks’ successes to maintaing the same taste in their coffees anywhere in the USA. I have a water system that softens and then an osmosis. My coffee is always the same as each flavor matches the Starbucks coffee I buy. I do use other brands, but not many, as we like Starbucks. Every new person to visit me thinks I have brought brewed coffee home.
    As long as the pot is clean and has only been used for coffee, the only thing I think that is better, is to use a coffee maker with stainless steel internal parts, keeping the coffee from any chance of flavor change.

    I hope this helps. If I am away from home, I like to take a few gallons with me or buy good water elsewhere. As you can understand, I am serious about a good cup of coffee and the water system was not cheap.

  46. French press all the way baby, it’s the best thing to happen to coffee since hot caramel!

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Your Patch of Earth

Earth Day is this month. It is April 22nd, which is also Good Friday. So today, let’s talk some earth talk. Let’s talk about the small patch of the earth we are each personally taking care of. And for you apartment or high rise dwellers, let’s talk about your outdoor space. Your deck or patio or rooftop or fire-escape.
So tell us about your patch of earth. Is it big or small? What do you grow? Do you have a lawn? Woods? Any water? Do you keep a vegetable garden? Herbs? Any fruit trees? Hey, how about critters? What kind of wildlife do you invite into your yard? And how? What kind of critters do you “keep”?
My yard? Well, mine has such….such….such….potential.

Continue reading

  1. Cindy says:

    I think you should name the copperhead Penny.

    I was LOL when I read about Jake and Cake! When I read the post before this one, I was thinking…’she’d miss Jake if he were gone.’ I think I’m right!

    My patch of ground. We live in town on a double lot with the cutest potting shed my husband built for me, a pond, a veggie garden, a hammock stand, beehives, and it’s all a park like setting and we have the best neighbors. And guess what. We’re moving. I’m packing. We are building a house in the country and moving in this summer. We planned on living here forever…until….my husband found this land in the country. He never looked for land until I one day said, "no more airedales (critters)" He wanted a dozen. I said you find a place in the country and you can have as many as you want. I didn’t mean it. Not really. And yes, I’m the one that said "what’s one more." Seriously? I said that? And I was just wondering about your pound puppy the other day. Mine has been wanting a new home….maybe not on purpose…but he sure does act like he wants a new home!

    Cindy Bee

  2. Jonnie says:

    Hi, Rebekah! I think you should name the snake Balthazar – great snake name! I LOVE snakes – they are so honest and focused – can also be very beautiful. Thank you for sharing your woods with us. I currently live in an apartment with a small balcony. The gardenia is currently blooming, the tomato plant has flower buds, Peter the mint is growing like crazy and the Norfolk pine has soft green new growth. There are hazelnuts coming up in some of the pots where the squirrels planted them, there are buds on the Christmas cactus and, as always, the basil and cilantro have both died. Not sure why they always do that. Some day I will stop trying. I love growing things and am happy that, right now, the squirrels are the only critters that I have. Have you tried diatomaceous earth for the crawly critters in the yard? It’s safe enough to use on the dogs if they have fleas and is not toxic at all. Just a thought . . .

  3. Sherry says:

    How about Salazar….he was a bad dude! Rather poisonous in his dealings with the Muggleworld (if your a Harry Potter fan)
    I have 3 acres…and a very small patch of brushy wood area. I do keep a garden…trying a modified raised bed version this year…digging the paths out and using the top soil to raise the gardening area and then mulching the dickens out of the paths with newspaper and maiden grass cuttings. We shall see. I also have 4 dwarf nigerian goats…whom I love and are completely worthless, 3 Hens and a Rooster..who earn their keep…well the girls do..and I just got 4 more chicks to add to the mix. I would highly recommend Chickens for snake control. They won’t mess with the big ones..but they eat the little ones..and they would take care of those lawn worms. Great pest control…or Guineas, although they are much flightier. Snakes are fine in their place..but I certainly would not want the under my porch.

  4. We live on a small lot in an older subdivision we’ve got three 8X4 raised beds this year with plans to put more in next year. We’ve got plans to get chickens next year after we make sure we have a dry enough spot for them in the back. Thanks for sharing your photos 🙂

  5. Barb says:

    Years ago when I lived in the country we would find hundreds of baby snakes in our window wells in the spring. We would scoop them out & watch them wiggle their way to the woods (we also had a woods behind our house). Can’t say that I was sorry to see them go.
    I currently live in the city on a normal city-sized lot which is not large enough for all that I want to plant. Last year I pulled all of the grass out of the backyard, which is fenced, and put in 3 raised beds in addition to the regular garden that I already had. I also have lots of flowers/lilac bushes/2 blueberry bushes & rhubarb,a patio & a fire pit. I grew so many veggies that I still have veggies (canned & frozen)from last year. The only unwanted critters I have are squirrels & they are pests! Last year they ate every stalk of corn right down to the ground, stalk & all. Since we fenced the yard we no longer get the rabbits we used to get. We get lots of birds which I thoroughly enjoy. In addition we have our resident critters, two cats; Tiger & Leo. It’s not a showplace by any means but it is my own little piece of heaven on earth.
    My friend says it is so peaceful that she could stay here for the rest of her life! My only wish is that I could have chickens and bees – it’s ok with our city but I don’t have enough room. Maybe someday………

  6. Linda says:

    We have a fenced in backyard. We do not do much to it, so it’s pretty much a sanctuary for wildlife, except that we have an 11 mo. old golden lab, who weighs 73 lbs, and loves to eat wood. Nothing is sacred to him in his domain. We have a huge brush pile where rabbits live, and two old apple trees, a large pine too close to the house that we have to take down :-(, blue spruce, dead ash tree, again must remove. A Balsam Fir, Juniper, Western Silver Berry and more. There’s a flower garden, which may be challenged this year, and I plan to grow some vegetables this year. All and all the yard is I’m sure an eyesore to some, but to me, it’s heavenly. I have a small studio to fuse glass, there, and just looking out at it makes me feel like I’m in the woods. Walking one’s land and just being open to the possibilities is all nature asks, I think. There are no judgements.

  7. Sarah says:

    My bit of earth has lots of potential too! It’s actually starting to look better too, now that we’ve been here a few years. The previous owners of this house mowed the lawn, and that was about it. The owner before them was a prolific gardener and remnants from her gardens are there, but in pretty sad shape. I’ve added two perenial flower beds, but there are still some large patches that need some attention. I also have a raised bed garden for my veggies. Lots of fun!

  8. Diane Van Horn says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    I had the same name idea as Cindy, I thought Penny was cute for a copperhead. Or Lincoln! LOL
    I live in a small city but I have a double size lot. I took out all the ugly bushes and planted raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Should be a good crop this year! I also planted 4 apple trees and a cherry tree. They are still pretty young, this will be their second year. I had 3 huge garden beds that I have grown vegetables in the last couple of years. I have a rabbit, crow and squirrel problem too. This year I am doing 6 square foot raised beds and fencing around them. I bought the book "Square Foot Gardening". You should check it out, Mel, the author has tips on keeping out critters that would work for you. I think you should plant some sugar beets near your woods for the deer to eat. They are easy to grow and the deer love them.

  9. Brenda says:

    We have 10 acres of which at least 7 is wooded. Our garden is out on the back ten. I would not have put it there but the previous owners did and I think I understand why since living here. We have a lot of sand and I am finding it hard to grow veges around the house area. So I make the walk back through the woods to our garden. Kinda a pain if you just want one cucumber and one tomato though. We have been here three years and every year I try to plant some different flowers to find out what works best here. We have a dozen chickens but I want more. We also have snakes, squirrels, hawks, fox, deer and chipmunks that we do battle with. But if they are not being destructive they are sure sweet to watch except the snakes. Like you I do not want them dead but I do not want them in the flower bed I am working in. And each year at least one sends me back to the house and making circles around that particular area for days. As always I find your writing puts a smile on my face!

  10. Claire says:

    I live in an apartment building that has been turned into condos. It is in between a freeway and a school. I have one 8′ x 12′ box that is growing dirt right now. it’s the neighborhoods largest litter box. One smaller pot that is sprouting peas, once the sprouts are large enough i’m going to move them to my huge neighborhood litter box and the cat’s will have to find some where else to do their business, and one smaller planter that is growing lemon mint ohhh how i love my lemon mint.

  11. Well, Rebekah, as for the snake’s name, I think ALL snakes should be named ‘GoAwaySnake!’ Enough said on that topic! :o)

    Anyway, From what I hear, we live in the same region, and our Camellia Cottage is on an almost 3/4 acre lot in a subdivision. We are surrounded by hardwoods and one lone pine way back behind the house. The back yard is shady and full of native plants left by the birds . . . wild ginger, woods violets, a cute new baby spruce that is about 10" tall, mulberry bushes, wild strawberries (and not the weed kind!), solomons seal, hearts a bursting and much more. We pretty much leave that as wild as we can for our bird habitat. The front yard is sodded, but has several large islands, the largest of which I call ‘Hawaii’ (get it, big island, Hawaii, etc.?) In these islands I have lilacs, Chinese snowballs, hydrangeas, lavendar, rosemary, buddleia, garden phlox, monarda, sweet rocket, roses, iris, shasta daisies, camellias, heuchera, foxgloves and much more . . . whatever I can find a space for, I’ve got it!

    As for the sweet shrub, this past weekend we were camping at Shady Grove Campground on our beloved Lake Lanier. On Saturday morning I exited the tent to see a gorgeous sun peeking above the hill to our east. I threw on my robe, grabbed the camera, and high-tailed it toward the sun! It was beautiful, and I got some great pictures. As I turned to head back to our campsite, I was greeted with an amazing sight . . . beautiful pink native azaleas (aka wild honeysuckles) in various stages of blooms. They were amazing. I just stood there and took in the fragrance. And took pictures! Then I started back on my way, and there they were . . . sweet shrubs in abundance . . . so once again, smelling the sweet blooms, and taking more pictures. It was such a magical way to start my day!

    Loved reading about your yard! Becky G. Chapter Leader, Sunshine Sisters Farmgirls

  12. Debbie says:

    Hi Rebekah!
    Oh you have me laughing with this post! What is it with you and those slimy no legged creatures??? Jake, Cake and Copper are sounding like one cozy family right about now… Well, now that you’ve named them and theres’ a child involved too,I guess you can’t have them "done away with" now can you? My patch of earth is a work in progress… but I do enjoy it so much. We’ve been in our house for ten years and we’ve added one large bird and butterfly garden, and plan to add some raised beds this year … We’ve grown veggies in one spot for the last three years and will add some raised beds this spring… I can’t tell all here… my next MJF Beach blog is about my humble patch of earth!
    Loved the photos of your woods and flowers… Lucky you to have " wild woods" in your backyard!

  13. carolbranum says:

    hi,I am in a bad mood about mine,after paying farmer money to culitvate,he said,that I have a layer of rock under my gartden spot,and that the spot I had picked won,t be good for vegtables at all.So,now,I have to hire a back hoe operator to clear brush for another spot.It is turning expensive just for a garden.Daddy and I are arguing now,coz,I plowed up his hayfield and he lost a whole bale of hay because of me!It is quite comical really!So,grass seed has to be planted back into the spot I plowed now so he will hush.I am tired tonight lol!Have a great day!blessed be,carol Branum Lamar MO.

  14. Carol in NC says:

    I went on a hike today with my husband and daughter and spotted some bloodroot. We picked a leaf and I showed them the red/orange (stinky) sap and I kid you not, when we stood up to continue walking we were RIGHT NEXT to a Carolina Sweet Shrub. If I hadn’t read your blog I don’t know if I would have even noticed it. Instead though, I was pretty much gushing over how lovely it was and how I had just read about it. My husband said it smelled like Hawaii. I couldn’t remember what you said it was called so had to come back here to see. Nice post!

  15. Cathy Reineke says:

    Hi Rebecca, your posts are so much fun!
    We have 40 acres in the north central hills of Idaho. Our log home sits at the top of 12 acres that use to be for haying. We have all the critters you have and everything has to be fenced. I love the elk, deer, snow shoe bunnies & turkeys and they will eat anything when hungry, even banana peels! I use to be the very same way about snakes, too many close encounters with the poisonous ones while growing up in southern OK. We have garter snakes that live under our front steps and praise the LORD we don’t have poisonous snakes on this side of the lake, attitude thing. From my husband I’ve learned to identify snakes and not harm the good ones even thought they still make me jump when I see them. I’m thinking naming a poisonous snake makes it a friend, you’ll be talking to it instead of running or whacking it! Spend your time with Jake and Cake. TOO FUN! I’ve never heard of the Carolina Sweet Shrub–pretty! And like you I love the woods! Ours is mostly evergreen but lots of shrubs that have beautiful white blooms! My favorite past time is looking for nature treasures and taking pictures! Snags are great! Love all your pictures!Keep on keeping us entertained!!!

  16. Mary Rauch says:

    I’m captivated by the DOGWOOD bloom with sunlight coming through the back of it!….nice!

  17. Marcie says:

    Hi Rebekah, I agree with Cindy on a name for the copperhead. Penny is a great name. I think we have copperheads here in E Tenn, had them back in Central TX along with Coral snakes, pretty but poisonous.
    Several years ago my sister gave me a cutting of Carolina Allspice. She lived in S MS and it grew all over her backyard. I potted it and took it back to TX and then moved it to TN two years ago and finally planted it in my yard. It has never bloomed and this spring it is covered in buds. Sister says the blooms will smell like grape jelly when they open. Your pics look just like my plant, leaves and buds. After almost two years here, our yard and land is taking on a beautiful look with our landscaping of hummingbird and butterfly shrubs that we have added. I want to add a Silverbell tree to the lower acreage this year.
    Love your photos and stories of your place.
    Enjoy the outdoors…. isn’t it beautiful?

  18. Laura says:

    I am a deck and kitchen window gardener. I keep herbs all winter in my kitchen for snipping. In summer, I plant tomatoes in containers on the deck. The cherry tomatoes are my favorite for planters. Enjoyed the post!

  19. Kristy says:

    Well the plumber came to clear the clog that keeps coming back between the house and the sewer and decided that we needed a new clean-out in the front yard. My yard is now graced with a square mound of dirt with some pvc sticking up from the mound. While I’m waiting for the soil to settle etc., I think about what could be there sometime in the future. I’d like a rose garden, but I suppose the plumber might actually have to get to his clean out.

  20. I’m excited, we live in an apartment complex, and this year (didn’t know about it last year) we are getting 2 plots from our community garden. We’ve already started seedlings, and I’ve started some of my patio stuff, but nothing has gone in the ground yet – hey, it is supposed to snow tomorrow!

    I grew up on a small farm, but spent 14 of the last 16 years in NYC & Hartford, CT, so this Midwest, Minnesota thing is quite a change in some ways, a reversion in others. I haven’t grown anything in 20 years!

  21. Heather Ozee says:

    We’re excited to be starting our own smallish garden this spring. My two girls and I are not however looking forward to running into Cake and his friends. In Ga we have plenty of the poisonous varieties. Any advice on how to make Cake not want to hang out around the freshly planted veggies?
    Lovely trees photos!

  22. kate says:

    Penny for sure, but be careful of those copperheads. Your post really made me miss the south. I am grateful to be a city farmgirl right now though. My backyard in the big city has more space for gardening than I had in the years when I worked with farmers nonstop. I have a little lawn and 4 beds all surrounded by a fence. I have sweet peas and morning glories along one part of the fence and herbs and flowers along the other. I’ve got a clothesline, which I love. AND there is definitely a rabbit or something eating my lettuce.

  23. Joan says:

    I would probably name the Copperhead – GONE – not like end it but like take it somewhere else – I know I know snakes are good for the gardens, woods, environment BUT for some reason they and I see no need to be in each others space. Oh enough of that. Thanks for the name for dead trees – I live in a new developing area and some people have had trees die and we are not allowed to leave them in our front yard – SO I have them in my backyard and the birds, creatures love them. I put out pine cones with peanut butter and food in the winter and hang little tins of food in the summer, sometimes the Snags look alive because of all the activity on them. Not quite time, in my area, for me to be in God’s healing earth but I am ready to plant with all my self started seedlings growing quickly. Thanks again for ‘Snags’ and love your writings.

  24. KimberlyD says:

    I vote for the name Penny for the copperhead snake, but be careful of it. I live in the country but its a 4-plex so I only have a little space in front of my part of the apartment. I grow flowers in one section, daffodils, tulips, iris, day lily’s, I mix onions in with them. The other area I grow tomatoes and green and red peppers. I tried to grow cucumbers and melons but they only flowered thats all they did. I have a friend who lives in Thomaston GA, 2 hours south of Atlanta.

  25. Teresa says:

    I’m with Joan. The copperhead would definitely be GONE. I don’t do snakes very well. I can coexist with green garden snakes fine. However, coming home Wednesday afternoon to find a 6′ black snake slithering across the floor as the garage door lifted was a bit much. It was either a king snake or a rat snake…so I knew it was a good snake. It was allowed to live.

    I parked at the end of the driveway and took the dog for a walk while said snake finished slithering away to it’s next destination.

  26. Rita says:

    Great post! Enjoyed the comments too!

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