I am proud to be serving as a Starbucks Ambassador this year. Complimentary coffee products were provided. My experience and my opinions are mine alone, as always. Affiliate links included.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks, y’all. I’m not yet able to face things day to day, but I can go hour by hour. Some of those hours feel quite normal. Others feel just plain awful, and it’s during those hours that I have a really hard time doing much of anything. I know so many of you who read this have experienced loss in your own lives and you understand the feeling. I take a lot of comfort in hearing from others, as it helps me to not feel so alone with the pain of losing a loved one. And I am also on the lookout for interesting little distractions that can help me keep my mind off of sad things.
Coffee is one of my happy things. I make no secret about that. I’m an iced coffee gal, and am hopelessly devoted to my Keurig, unless I’m getting the occasional chance to swing by a Starbucks, where I will promptly treat myself to, you guessed it, an iced coffee. I brew Starbucks at home, and it tastes fantastic. But it’s even better at the store. I used to think that the taste difference was in my mind…perhaps because I had the cool cup I thought it tasted better? But actually, it’s because of the beans that are getting ground just before being brewed. Having the very freshest coffee really does seem to make a taste difference.
So when Starbucks sent me a few different types of their coffee to try out (oh twist my arm!), I was a bit perplexed to discover that the packages were whole bean coffee. I mean, I knew that people ground their own coffee at home, but I never took the time to try it myself. Probably because I didn’t have a bean grinder. After researching these gadgets a bit and realizing that I could get one that is rated highly for just under $20, I decided to just go for it and see if the extra effort was really worth it. If you don’t own a bean grinder, let me tell you about my experience!
First, I appreciate that the bean grinder doesn’t take up a lot of space. We have a small kitchen so we have to be quite picky about how many gadgets we own. One friend pointed out to me that coffee bean grinders can also serve as spice grinders, and I thought it was just so sweet that she thought I would ever take the time to grind my own spices. What an adorable and completely delusional idea! I mention it because maybe you are the type to get your grind on with your spices. I’m not. I’m barely willing to try it for coffee, and coffee is my great love (aside from my family and all…). But if this helps you justify the purchase, well there you go.
I filled the bean grinder to the top of the silver portion and pressed the button for 9 quick pulses and got this result. This is a coarse grind, which I read was appropriate for pour-over brewers (more on that in a sec). I will say this: I could tell a difference in the scent potency of the freshly ground beans in comparison to the pre-ground stuff I normally buy. I thought that was a good sign for things to come! FYI, this was Cafe Verona. Darth Vader and I like our coffee the same way: on the dark side.
Ok, so now it was time to figure out this pour over brewer that Starbucks sent to me. When I first opened the package, I thought I was going to have to email the company back and very awkwardly have to tell them that the giant coffee mug with the cemented-on saucer that they sent me had a big hole in it.
Fortunately, I took a second to research it just in case it wasn’t, in fact, a giant coffee cup with a cemented-on saucer and a major product flaw. Turns out, this is called a pour-over brewer. It requires a coffee filter, a coffee mug, some hot water, and some ground coffee beans (preferably coarse).
You simply pour your hot water into the pour brewer, which is balanced on top of a cup. Not gonna lie…this did NOT look like a smart idea. And as it turns out, I definitely spilled some hot water in the process of trying it out. So there’s your warning from me…careful with pouring hot water!
I got my hot water from my Keurig to save time, and I couldn’t help but wonder if all these extra steps were worth it. I will say that the brewing process was super quick…totally done in about 30 seconds. And I did, in fact, have coffee waiting for me in my mug. Now, I’m not really that into hot coffee, as you all know, but for the sake of the experiment, I added a touch of sugar and a bit of cream and gave it a try. And it was quite good, I have to say. I drank the entire cup, and that’s just not something I normally do with hot coffee.
So after trying the pour over brewer, I have to conclude that it isn’t the right product for me just because it seems like some extra steps that I’m not really interested in going through since my Keurig has a permanent spot on my kitchen counter. I could see this being a great gift idea, though, for a friend who loves the ritual of making coffee, as it certainly adds an element of fun and even intention to the process. It is also a good choice for someone who doesn’t own a Keurig or any sort of coffee maker, because there’s no denying that this is quite the space saver!
I think the taste difference didn’t come from how the coffee was brewed, but instead from the fact that the beans were so freshly ground. I can’t tell you that I’m going to grind coffee beans every single morning because that’s just a lie, friends. But I can see myself doing this twice a week so that I have fresher coffee to look forward to each day. When you start with high quality beans, which you can count on receiving when you purchase Starbucks coffee, you are 80% of the way to an amazing cup of coffee. Go ahead and get the coffee bean grinder to get you the rest of the way to an absolutely perfect cup of joe. It takes a pinch of time, but it’s worth it.
How do you take your coffee, friends? Are you a bean grinder or do you think it isn’t worth the extra effort? Anyone out there tried the pour over brewer, yet?