Going back to basics – French Press Styled Coffee

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If you have followed my blog for the past few weeks or so, you know that I am trying to cut back on my budget. I’ve made a point to do so by putting myself on a self-imposed “No-Buy” Challenge, where I’ve limited my spending to necessities. So Far, so good!

Coffee is a “necessity” in my mind, but it’s one of the biggest drains on my wallet. Why? you might ask, well the answer is because I have been using my lovely (seriously I love this thing) Tassimo on a regular basis. It’s convenient, the coffee is always delicious (mmmm Gevalia) and it’s fool-proof. I can prepare a cup and juggle many tasks at the same time.

I’m not sure what pricing is like for Tassimo Pods in your area, but here in Montreal my beloved Gevalia pods cost $11.99 regular priced and $9.99 if I happen to come by a sale. Twelve pods come in a package, between my husband and I we probably go through about 4 pods a day, give or take at least 4 more a week for company.

4 pods * 7 Days = 14 Pods
4 pods for company

=18 Pods a week

Take a 4-week month and we’re looking at 72 Pods of coffee or 6 Packages a month, at a value of between 59.94-71.94! Now that’s just crazy if you ask me.

So I gave up my trusty Tassimo for my budget challenge. I’ve been buying regular old coffee beans (well not literally OLD) and grinding them at home for delicious freshness. I’ve dusted off my Bodum french press and have a small dedicated space for it on my counter, and I’m actually really enjoying it!

In the past, my Bodum has served as my “backup” coffee maker for when my pods have run out. I had always found the coffee subpar, but it turns out that I was making it all wrong. I used the wrong ratio of coffee to water, often didn’t let it steep long enough and almost always used the wrong size of grind. Silly me thought that our coffee grinder had one setting, my husband enjoys ground coffee for his espresso on the weekend and it had been set to very fine. This grind is great for his purposes but just terrible for making coffee in a french press.

Here's the grind settings on my well loved coffee grinder

Here’s the grind settings on my well-loved coffee grinder

Happily after scouring through a few sources online, I happened to come by this great article on CoffeeGeek.com. It taught me that:

  • I wanted to use a large coffee grind
  • I wanted to use a rounded tablespoon of coffee per 4oz cup (118ml) or about 2Tbs per cup (250 ml)
  • The water should be pre-boiled, so cooled for a few minutes before using it on the coffee.
  • Steep for at least three-four minutes
  • and a few other useful tips, as well as some step by step photography.

Now my morning coffee is delicious and fun! At the same time I’m feeling really good about lowering my environmental impact. I always felt guilty about the amount of garbage that my Tassimo was creating – by using the french press, I cut out the need for any trash, there’s no plastic pieces or even paper filters and the coffee grounds can be used in my garden or compost.

My coffee spending has gone down to just under $4.00 a week, I buy my coffee beans in bulk from a middle eastern market in town. I like that I’m not limited to taking a pre-determined amount of coffee, it helps with my weekly budgeting (which I hope to share in a future blog post!)


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