Cloth Coffee Filters and Eggnog “lattes”
It all started with the eggnog.
I love eggnog, but the calorie content is just too darned high for me to drink it very often. And it’s a little too sweet and cloying even for me, unless it has a whole lot of alcohol in it to cut the sweetness; tossing a shot of brandy into it severely limits the hours and opportunities too, since during the holiday season my schedule has an annoying habit of requiring me to be completely alert in the evenings…
So a few years ago I discovered that I could put a little eggnog into my coffee instead of creamer, and suddenly I’d be drinking for mere pennies the equivalent of a $3.89 drink at the local SpendBucks. My very own eggnog latte…sort of. This has become one of my big holiday addictions. (As addictions go, I don’t suppose it’s so bad, really.) I’d gotten mostly away from coffee since spring, so I haven’t made any in ages, but the eggnog lures me…
So last week I bought some coffee, and today I bought a little thing of nice eggnog. (I found some from a semi-local, grass-fed dairy; unfortunately, I don’t like it as much as the brands I’ve gotten before, and it’s not even close to what my mom can make), And got out my coffeepot, which I haven’t used in months and months, to clean it out and start making coffee tomorrow morning. Only to discover that last time I cleared out the kitchen cabinets, whenever that was, I had either tossed (!?!) or moved (!????!) my unbleached coffee filters. Can’t find ’em anywhere.
Me being me, I am loath to go out and buy new ones. And the toilet paper-as-filter thing has never appealed to me in the slightest. So I looked around online and found a few sets of directions, none of which were complicated in the slightest…
So: How to Make A Cloth Coffee Filter (basket type)
- using a tight-weave cotton fabric (such as handkerchief fabric or unbleached muslin–make sure you pre-wash it!), cut three circles about 9 inches in diameter. (This is for my “standard” large coffeepot.)
- Using an overlock or zigzag stitch, sew around the circumference of the circle through all three layers.
- Press into the coffeemaker’s basket and spread out the way you would a paper filter. (I get best results from dampening and squeezing out the cloth before making the coffee.; I don’t know if it makes any difference at all, but it just sort of seems like the liquid more immediately soaks into the wet cloth without beading…)
- After use, compost grounds, thoroughly rinse out filter in hot water, wring well, and hang to dry. After every few uses, give it a good vinegar rinse. (Or make five filters and toss them in the wash Friday night. This would be easier.)
That’s IT. Seriously easy. The filter can be rinsed out well between uses and cleaned occasionally with vinegar; or machine washed; I’d be careful about using dish soap just in case some sticks around and your coffee winds up tasting like diswashing liquid. But YMMV.
This is the time of year when I really want the coffee…
(UPDATE: I’m not sure if it’s the filter itself or the coffee I bought, but it’s honestly not great coffee; then again, my coffee was never very good even when I used paper filters…I think it may be my coffee maker. The eggnog goes a long way to make it yummy, though.
One of the hardest things about trying to give up Dunkin Donuts coffee is the sheer knowledge that they just plain make better coffee than I do. I want a French Press. I don’t need a French Press. I am trying to consume less. I don’t need a French Press, no matter how much less electricity it uses…)
(Anyway, one might need to futz a bit with the fabric to get the “best” coffee with the right drip rate, if one is pickier about their caffiene than I…I’m not sure what’s going to give the best flavor…please let me know if you try this and how it works!)