About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Juan Valdez Needs My Coffeemaker

Our host for this week's Fun Monday is Wendy from Australia and she's asking the Fun Monday regulars to spread the word about our October 12 assignment. It's a good one--maybe even a bit risky judging from some of the signup comments she's gotten so far! Anyway, Wendy would like us to share the gadget(s) that we just wouldn't want to live without. You're also welcome to reveal gadgets that you have that were supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread but are total flops. Nice challenge,Wendy. I always welcome the opportunity to put on my Juan Valdez poncho and sing the praises of my Coffee Toddy brew system. I'm sure if Senor Valdez ever decided to branch out from his position as spokesperson for Colombian coffee and pitch coffeemakers, he'd be wild about the Coffee Toddy, too.

I began using the Coffee Toddy cold brew system many, many years ago and have stuck with it because of its great simplicity. First, I live alone so every day I struggled with making a small enough amount of coffee in a regular drip machine. I drank a cup with breakfast and then turned off the machine as I left for work. In the evening if I wanted an after dinner cup of coffee I wrestled with trying to re-heat the morning brew--yuk!--or pitching the leftover and making another pot. I could also use instant but liked real coffee too well to settle for that stuff. And with whatever kind I choose, it was never hot enough by the time I put in enough milk to get that pale tan color of coffee-milk that I preferred. So, I was always "nuking" my cup to heat it up, adding one more step.

I must have been in a cooking/chef stage when I discovered the Coffee Toddy because I ordered it from a gourmet supply catalog. My first Toddy came in this burlap sack just like in this photo. And what low tech genius that sack contained. In order to make a half gallon of deep, dark, intensely smooth and delicious coffee extract that I could keep in the refrigerator for weeks, all I needed was the Coffee Toddy, a pound of ground coffee, cold water and 24 hours! Here's how you do it:

1. Plug the drain hole in the white brewing container--using that small rubber cork.

2. Fit that round white pad (it looks like a complexion buffer) in the depression over the cork. This filter pad collects all the bitter acids from the coffee when the extract drains out, making a very smooth coffee that keeps the richness of even the more intense varieties without the bitterness and acidity that you get with brewing.

3. Add 1 pound of ground coffee to the white container. Then slowly fill the container with COLD water.

4. Cover the container with foil or saran. Let it set out on the counter for at least 12 hours.

5. When time to descant the coffee extract, remove the the rubber cork and set the white container on top of the glass carafe. The extract will slowly drip out and you'll end up with a full carafe of rich coffee extract. Store in the refrigerator for weeks.

6. When you're ready for a cup of "freshly brewed" coffee, just pour a measured amount of the extract in your coffee cup, add water and milk or cream (if you use it) and heat in the microwave for a couple of minutes to the desired temperature. At first you have to experiment to get the right strength for your taste. For a 12 ounce coffee mug I use 4 oz. coffee extract, 4 oz. cold water, 4 oz. 1% milk and heat for 3 minutes--perfect every time. No waste, no bother.

The only other thing you need for a great coffee experience is a special coffee mug. Every season I like to get a new one. This one I got last weekend at the St. James Art Show in Old Louisville. Going to this show is a fall rite for me and my friends. It's set up on St. James Court in one of the oldest parts of Louisville--great historic houses bedecked with fall flowering containers and landscaping. I chose the black mug from the Red Oak Pottery booth. My creamy coffee looks and tastes wonderful from this mug.

Now be sure to check out the favorite gadgets of other Fun Monday players. And let's keep it at least PG, people! :-)

(P.S. Can you believe I actually saw this title for a magazine article yesterday? "GIDGETS--Gadgets for Girls" Honestly Senor Valdez, I did!)


Swampwitch said...

RE: Your comment at my place...so glad I could be of assitance. Let me know when I can help again ! But, don't ask for help with the smoke alarm batteries. I have been known to throw the entire smoke alarm outside because I couldn't get it to stop screaming. Even with the batteries removed !

As for the coffee, just make me a cup and send it my way. I don't think I'm smart enought to follow the instructions. I bought a Keurig and it's ok, but you don't get that wonderful coffee aroma smell when it brews. Besides, my acupuncturist (sp?) told me to stop drinking coffee, so now I'm using if for tea and hot chocolate.

Peter said...

Hi Faye, great post about a product I've never heard of before, just might have to look into it.
In the meantime I'll just stick to my lazy "instant" brew.

Pamela said...

I'm with Swampy -- I don't know if I could follow the directions. heh!

You are sooo right about the cup. It has to be the right cup or it isn't coffee.

Jan n Jer said...

Now that is very interesting...I can almost smell the coffee. My hubs is my coffee maker every morning...let me tell you..he brews a mean cup of java. He mixes different flavors together and its different everytime. It's my favorite time of day. Thanks for sharing your Juan Valdez secret with us Faye! BTW Love your new coffee mug..it's so fall!

Sayre said...

If I lived alone, I would do this! My husband likes coffee A LOT and we have one of those big 12 cup coffee makers - which is empty by the time we go to work. If we had coffee sitting around in the fridge... well, it wouldn't be sitting around - it would be gone.

But for just me? I would get that toddy in a heartbeat!

Faye said...

swampwitch--what is it about smoke alarms that bring us to our knees? I think I'll just sleep with windows open all winter so can get out quickly if the house burns. . .

peter--at least go up a level to those teabag thingeys that are fill with ground coffee.

pamela--my directions are more complicated than the actual process. Agreed about the pleasures of a good pottery mug.

janis--specially mixed and brewed coffee would be the highlight of my morning too. The thing I like about the Coffee Toddy is that you can also make flavored coffee extract to have on hand when the mood strikes. I don't want snickerdoodle every day but sometimes nice in the evening.

sayre--you're right. It's so easy you tend to drink more. Or so it seems since I retired.

wendishness said...

Wow that sounds like a really neat little gadget, I don't have a coffee machine of any type because I'm a tea drinker and if I want a coffee, I'll go buy one at the local cafe. My husband is a coffee drinker and is begging me to buy a nice coffee machine, I might have to succumb.

And you're so right, the correct cups or mugs make all the difference to a good cup of tea or coffee...thanks so much for playing.

Debs said...

I only really drink coffee in the mornings at work - strange machine concoction.

I agree with the cup though, and like to have my tea in certain cups at home.

Lil Mouse said...

mm coffee. I have stolen a few sips here and there from my husband, but I gave up caffeine for the baby a long time ago.

ChrisB said...

I've never heard of that before; it sounds a brilliant idea and would be just right for my hubby who loves his fresh coffee.

Faye said...

wendishness--I think you could make a tea extract with the Coffee Toddy using same principle--loose tea leaves, cold water. I must experiment.

debs--I wish we could make tea as delicious as you do on this side of the pond.

lil mouse--the things moms sacrifice for those babies. It's a good thing they're as cute as they are. . .

chrisB--my coffee system is great if there's only one coffee drinker in the house. No need to go through that "Would you drink some coffee if I made a pot. . .?" convince

Gattina said...

I don't know this at all, but it certainly wouldn't be enough for me because I drink a lot of strong Italian coffee ! I drink at least 4 to 5 cups in the morning and 2 to 3 in the afternoon. I leave the coffee machine on in the morning. Afternoon I use Nescafé espresso.

wendishness said...

I guess it could work with tea, if you do experiment please let me know how it turns out?

Stephanie, Mama Dramatist said...

Yeah, send me "some dose" (as Bethany says).

The coffee and the cups, please.

Thank you.

The Church Lady said...

Faye, that is an interesting concept for coffee - one that I have never heard of! It sounds like you have it down to a science. And now, I feel like a cup of coffee, only it is after 9 p.m. and it will keep me up all night.

I am in love with my Keurig "single cup" brewing system. You can brew coffee, tea, hot chocolate or simply a cup of hot water in about 30 seconds.

The Church Lady said...

Faye - I forgot to mention to you that labs are easily trained and can be walked, but they need training from pups. My Cooper is not easy to walk. We had to purchase a special harness for him because he pulls so hard - - rather, he walks us!!

m (the misanthrope) said...

Faye - what a wonderful post! I gave up on brewed coffee ages ago because I'm the only coffee drinker in the house and I didn't want to fool with trying to make 1 cup's worth. I will have to elbow Senor Valdez out of the way and step right up to the Coffee Toddy counter!

And hello, my fellow mug-collector! I love coffee mugs and I have quite the collection, all of them souvenirs from vacations or other hijinks. Coffee mugs are great souvenirs - they are pretty and FUNCTIONAL (vs. dust-catchers) and fairly easy to pack, with due regard for their fragile handles of course. Your mugs are gorgeous!

And PS - thank you for your kind words on my art and writing! *sigh* Now I guess I have to keep at it ;-) (Just kidding - I do enjoy it, but sometimes it is hard to find time for hobbies when the rest of life is so demanding.)

Faye said...

gattina--I was glad to try your Italian espresso but could never get enough milk in it. Guess my preferences run to more "sissy" brews!

stephanie--you'd be happy with my "dose", especially in a nice pottery mug.

church lady--two endorsements for a Keurig--you and Swampy. I can see its advantage if you enjoy a variety of hot drinks. As to Cooper, I looked at the powerful body and am not surprised that you have a puller on your hands. That's not very pleasant for walking--very aerobic, though.

misanthrope--the tales we could tell about trying to protect an unusual coffee mug bought for a trip mememto. I just broke the handle off a favorite New Zealand mug recently.