Ditching the Keurig — 4 Alternatives to Making Your Next Cup of Coffee

If you’re like me, you probably purchased a Keurig to go in your dorm room freshman year. How could you not?! They offer no-mess, quick coffee, anytime you need. After reading about how impactful Keurig cups are the environment [++ how expensive k-cups are!?] + I’ve wanted to make a switch to a more *advanced* + budget-friendly brewing method, but there were so many choices!

Honestly, I loved the convenience my Keurig provided — no measuring of coffee, just adding water, having coffee in a minute. The beauty of ditching your Keurig + drip coffee maker though means you can more easily customize your coffee, all for a sacrifice of a few extra minutes + some adjusting.

As a starting point, you can use this guide for general ratios of each of the below methods, but the beauty of them is to find your perfect blend. Change up the coffee bean coarseness // amounts, water levels or brew // steeping time + you can have a totally different coffee! Some of the most common alternative brewing methods are —

FRENCH PRESS //

The French press, or press pot, is one of the easiest ways to have premium taste coffee at home. With this method, coffee is soaked in the press in hot water + then is pressed [not too fast + only pressed down once — learn from my mistakes, featured below] to give you a flavorful + expressive coffee that is serious competition to Starbucks. If you’re looking for a convenient alternative to a Keurig, a French press is great as you can fill up the press + do other things while you wait for it to steep. Then, after a simple push, your coffee is ready!

Quick Look:
— Medium to coarse grinds — sea salt sized
— Ready in 4 minutes
— Portable
— Easy to clean

P.S. My mistake // word of caution when using a French press for those interested // The first time I used a French press was when I studied abroad in London + I had no idea how it worked. My internship manager asked me to make coffee + I ended up putting everything in at once + pulling the handle up + down repeatedly. If you’ve ever used a French press you know this is not how to use it. So, don’t be like me or you’ll have brown water with tons of coffee grinds in it.

POUR OVER //

In my Keurig alternative researching, pour over + French press were the most recommended. While it’s *drip* style is similar to standard coffee makers, the coffee made with a pour over method is less acidic, cleaner + sweeter, thanks to the thick paper // mesh it’s filtered through.

Two of the most popular brands of pour over makers are Chemex + Bodum — I have a 17oz Bodum Pour-Over [bought it at Target!]. You can get multiple sizes in both these, ranging from 4 to 13 cups!

Quick Look:
— Medium-fine grinds [like kosher salt] — 4 minutes
— Paper filters // strainer
— Portable but fragile
— Harder to clean [I use a bottle brush]

STOVETOP *ESPRESSO* //

If you’re looking for the boldest coffee without the price tag of an actual espresso machine, a stovetop *espresso* maker is for you! These coffee makers really go back to the basics, requiring only a [gas] stove, water + the pot — no filters needed! Using steam pressure from boiled water in its lower section to pass through the coffee grinds in its middle section, leaves brewed coffee in the highest section. If you’re a fan of espresso-style, strong coffee, a stovetop pot can produce the equivalent of a single or double shot of espresso.

Quick Look:
— Medium grinds
— 5 minutes
— Easy to clean
— Portable + durable

COLD BREW //

If you enjoy iced coffee, cold brewing can save you a lot of money — especially if you’re a year-round iced coffee drinker. To make a big batch of cold brew, add coffee grinds + water to a container. By steeping with cold water, the coffee’s natural oils are brought out. Cold brewing also takes the acidity out of the coffee beans, making it a great choice for those who suffer from heartburn or acid reflux.

Steep in the fridge overnight for at least 18 hours. Strain the coffee with a fine-mesh strainer // cheesecloth. Transfer the coffee into a cleaned airtight container + store in the fridge for up to two weeks. When making an iced coffee with cold brew, you might want to have an equal water + cold brew ratio.

Quick Look:
— Medium-course grinds [similar texture to granulated sugar] — Brewing takes 18-24 hours
— Need a strainer // cheesecloth
— Can be made in large batches

In addition to the coffee makers above, we love Four Sigmatic’s instant mixes! The mixes not only come in ready-to-go packets, but they’re also available in tins. Simply add hot water to any of their instant mixes + you’re left with a perfectly *brewed* cup of coffee ++ with added benefits of lion’s mane, reishi, chaga, adaptogens, or cordyceps. You can find an entire product breakdown here.

With all of the above methods, the only way to get the best-tasting coffee is to customize the brew to your liking! Invest in quality coffee [we recommend using whole beans + grinding them before each batch] + make your own syrup if that’s what you enjoy ++ take good care of your equipment. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even recycle your coffee grinds to make your morning // afternoon // evening cup of coffee more sustainable.

What’s your favorite way to brew your coffee? Let us know on insta by tagging @CHAARG!

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