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Old 26-08-2010, 19:04   #1
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Coffee While Underway

Next spring we will be moving our boat from Panama to Texas, and I will be having some friends sail with me as crew. This will be almost a delivery passage, with one stop scheduled at Grand Cayman.

My question has to do with how to brew coffee underway. I always stuck with coke for my caffeine fix, but now I have friends who want coffee.

Not having faced this problem before, how do you guys deal with it? An old style percolator? Our stove is a gimbaled Force 10 with the potholders to secure a pot on the stove.

Any help will be appreciated. Thanks!


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Old 26-08-2010, 19:09   #2
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We have found the best way to brew coffee is with a french press.


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Old 26-08-2010, 19:12   #3
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I've used a percolator. But it's kinda a mess. And one really needs to stand there and watch it if a sea is running. Now I just use a plain coffee pot, coarse ground coffee, boil the water, take it off, put in the coffee, stir, wait a minute or two, pour a cup. No spilling, no mess, the brew temp and time is exactly per Italian specs: 200F.

A few grinds in the cup. But are we sissies? I think it's the lightest kit, too.
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Old 26-08-2010, 19:12   #4
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During our last Hawaii race / return, the crew was using some Starbuck's powdered stuff that comes in individual serving-size packets. They claimed that it was actually quite good. In the past we've used a french press (I've got a stainless thermos press), and they preferred the instant to the press.
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Old 26-08-2010, 19:14   #5
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Stop in any good truck stop and pick up a 12V auto drip coffee pot.
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Old 26-08-2010, 19:19   #6
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I vote French Press. I like the Bodum thermos model that brews 12 cups (4-6 mugs) and keeps it hot for a while.

Given the size of your boat -- you probably have an inverter, so you can grind it fresh. French presses require a course grind so you can't use a chopper style grinder -- you need a burr grinder.

We use a Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder, and have been very happy with it.
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Old 26-08-2010, 19:20   #7
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Plunger is definitely the way to go (I assume that's the same as a "French press").

If they're fussy about their coffee then it's much better to grind the beans only at the moment you plan to use them, so having a small coffee grinder aboard would be great.

Similarly you want the beans to be roasted as close as possible to when they are used, so they should be sure to get freshly-roasted beans as near as possible to departure time.

Whether they buy the beans whole or plunger-ground, they should be stored in a dry bag with a one-way seal (lets air out but not in: roasted beans continue releasing a lot of air as they sit).
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Old 26-08-2010, 19:23   #8
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Keurig coffee makers?

Anyone ever used one of the Keurig single cup coffee makers?
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Old 26-08-2010, 19:36   #9
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another vote for a french press. bodum's stainless thermos press also has nonskid on the bottom. works great (or anyway as good as the beans you put in it will allow)
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Old 26-08-2010, 20:00   #10
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Mr. Coffee, a pot or two with the morning breakfast, put the excess into a vacuum pot and it's hot all day....
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Old 26-08-2010, 20:03   #11
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I like the little tea bag type coffee bag singles. No muss no fuss.
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Old 26-08-2010, 21:33   #12
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Stainless steel French press thermos & a starbucks stainless thermos mug. Or, iced coffee!!
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Old 26-08-2010, 22:01   #13
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Originally Posted by Jentine View Post
We have found the best way to brew coffee is with a french press.

I second the French Press Option, I owned a Cafe for a number of years, used just about every type of coffee maker known to man. Even a super automatic unit that retailed for $25,000. And nothing makes a better cup of joe then my $25 Bodum press. Sometimes the simple way of doing things is the best.

I have a sealed unit for on my boat, so even if it tips no mess.
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Old 26-08-2010, 22:58   #14
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I made a blog post about this very thing.

Rebel Heart - Sailing, cruising, liveaboard blog and website - Eric's Blog - the best way to have coffee on a*sailboat
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Old 26-08-2010, 23:42   #15
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I have my Aeropress...

I'm currently trying out the Aeropress.

So far, to my taste, it makes as good a cup as my little Breville espresso machine, minus the froth.

Initially it's a bit more fiddly, getting water at 80 degrees centigrade takes a bit of trial and error and warming the milk takes extra time but the end result is an excellent cuppa.

For boat use advantages would include not taking up much space, minimal water use, easy minimal water clean up (just a single "plug" of spent grounds), no power needed, it doesn't seem to be as sensitive to coffee quality as espresso and it's a cheapish machine.

The coffee does seem to have a stronger caffeine hit but if you're used to the franchise stuff you might not even notice.

I found it to be the perfect preparation for LA buses...

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