My personal arsenal of coffee making contraptions. Most of which reside on the kitchen counter. These include the auto-drip, the espresso, the percolator, the French press, and the moka pot. This is not to mention the bag of beans from the local home-town roaster, the coffee grinder, and the can of off-the-shelf grounds.
Each one serves its own purpose, and there is one basic fact to understand about the coffee making process, regardless of the equipment: coffee is ground to increase the surface area from which to extract the oils. So the finer the grind, the stronger the end-result. From that, each one does the job in a different way with vastly differing results.
I use my automatic drip most often. This is the work horse of my kitchen before I head off for work. It offers me a decent cup as I get ready in the morning and during my commute. No fuss, no muss, and it delivers just the quality I expect from my can of Folgers.
On those mornings I ride my motorcycle to work, I don’t need more than just the one cup in the kitchen. For this I turn to my moka pot, a cool little stove-top pot that infuses hot water UP through the grounds, using steam as the force, to deliver one very small cup of espresso. It works fine with the off-the-shelf grounds. I mix the thick brew with some hot water from the teapot and, voila: Cafe Americano. Strong, robust, a quick kick, and off I go.
For those mornings (or afternoons) when I really want to savor a great cup of coffee, I reach for the French press. It takes more effort and more precision, but the results are spectacular. Worthy of that morning “porch swing moment.” I would never allow the grocery-store grounds to sully my press. Coarse, fresh roasted grounds and nearly-boiling water. Steep for four minutes, plunge, pour, and sip gingerly. Luxuriate.
Coffee over the campfire
Best yet? A pot of percolated coffee on the camp stove in the national park, miles from anywhere on the way to nowhere.
Last but least, the espresso maker. Noisy, difficult, tough to master, harder to clean. Used only when pressed into service by a guest, because they think it might be cool.