I've been having trouble with caffeine lately - my body just can't seem to process it as well as it used to - so I decided to switch from coffee to tea. The trouble is, I hate making tea! You have to wait for the water to boil and then wait five whole minutes for it to brew - all for just one measly cup of tea. I don't have that kind of time or concentration in the morning. The last time I tried it, I ended up putting salt in the tea, thinking it was the sugar. With coffee, you can set it up the night before and have the liquid heaven in your hand as fast as you can drag yourself to the kitchen and pour it.
I started looking around for faster ways to make tea, but then came upon this little gizmo:
It's a single cup brewer. It makes coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or even iced tea or coffee. And it makes one cup in about ten seconds.
This device has opened up new worlds of hot beverages to us. If one of us wants a cup of decaf in the evening, we don't have to go through the whole brewing process for just the one cup. Actually, we never did that - it was more trouble than it was worth. But now Adam has coffee almost every night. I can have coffee or tea, depending on my mood. Adam and I don't have to use the same brand of coffee. (We were both compromising before.) And when we have guests, we can offer everybody exactly what they want.
This is how it works. You fill the machine with water, and it holds quite a bit. It keeps the water hot enough to start brewing on-demand. (You can also use a timer to keep the water hot only at certain times to save energy, but I haven't tried that yet.) When you are low on water, it flashes this pretty blue light at you and you just dump some water in the reservoir. The things on the left side of the photo are "K-cups." I'd seen them in the store but had no idea what they were until we bought this machine. There are K-cups for coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. You stick the K-cup of your choice in a slot, put a cup on the tray and push a button. Ten seconds later you are done.
There are three downsides. When Adam wants to have a thermos full of coffee to bring to work, he has to brew two cups and pour them into the thermos. The brewer has five cup size settings, and one is almost large enough to fill a thermos, but since you're using the same K-cup no matter what size you pick, the coffee is just weaker. Unacceptable! Still, brewing two cups takes all of thirty seconds, including the time to change the K-cup and pour the coffee.
Next, the K-cups are expensive, they take up a lot of space, and you are limited to the brands available. There are a lot of brands to choose from, but you can't get Starbucks coffee or Lipton tea, which are our favorites. We hope that will change someday. To deal with the space issue, we got the handy-dandy dispenser shown in the photo which makes the process even more fun. Luckily we have enough kitchen counter space to accommodate this without any trouble. As for the expense, I'm currently bargain-hunting. We'll probably end up ordering them on-line, which is a bit of a hassle.
Finally, the K-cups don't allow for the art of brewing either coffee or tea. Adam has always enjoyed grinding the coffee beans to just the right consistency and using the perfect amount of coffee. With this machine, you have no control over the strength of the beverage. There is a way around this problem, too. You can buy a filter which allows you to use your own coffee grounds. It still doesn't make the coffee quite the same way as a regular brewer, but at least Adam is not limited to the brands available in K-cups.
Overall, we love this thing. When I use it, I feel like Jean-Luc Picard, and that's priceless:
(link to video)