Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Good Old Fashioned Percolator Coffee

Percolator heating up
Coffee snobs will tell you that percolator coffee is far inferior to other fancy methods of brewing coffee. We use a vintage Pyrex glass percolator to make our coffee, and we are very happy with the taste. The fact that there is no plastic contaminating our coffee is a big bonus.

We became hooked on the percolator after using a small aluminum pot on our camping excursions. Nothing can quite compare to coffee made over an outdoor fire. One day we decided to buy a glass percolator for home use, and we never looked back.

Starting to bubble up
You can find the vintage Pyrex percolators many places online in various sizes, and they are pretty reasonably priced. Replacement parts are also readily available, in case you break something, but we have used ours for years without any problems.

The only issue with percolator coffee is the risk of over-heating, which can make the coffee bitter. It takes some practice, but after you have the method down, you can make a pretty decent cup of coffee.

1. Add cool water too percolator.
Coffee is done!
2. Place the tube and filter basket in the percolator.
3. Add coarse ground coffee to the filter basket, 2 tsp per cup and put the basket lid on (no paper filter needed)
4. Place the glass lid on the pot and heat on Medium until it starts to percolate
5. Once you see bubbling in the top, turn to low and let it perk for 2-3 minutes.

You don't want to let the coffee boil, because this can make the coffee bitter or acidic.

The best coffees to use are smooth and low acid beans that are ground very coarse. We like to use fresh ground, locally roasted, Organic Fair Trade whole beans.

The glass percolator is easy to clean- all parts can go in the dishwasher, and stains clean up nicely with vinegar.

It takes more time than a drip coffeemaker, but we enjoy the ritual and love the clean, plastic and paper-free taste of old fashioned percolator coffee.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Saving Money on Natural Products

I'm sure we all would like to use more natural products, but many products labeled 'Green', 'Natural' or 'Organic' can be cost prohibitive.

I have done some experimenting with products, and in order to make it into our routine for good they must work well and be a good price. Here's a couple that I have found:

Tom's of Maine Toothpaste

This brand has many flavors to choose from but we prefer the Peppermint Baking Soda with Fluoride. We experimented with other natural brands without fluoride, but we noticed our teeth started to hurt after a while. This one works great and we have been using it for years with no cavities. After you have used a natural toothpaste for a while, if you use a conventional brand it will actually feel like your mouth is burning and have sickly sweet taste.

We preferred the original recipe, before the company sold out (google it for more info). The updated version was not as good, but they seem to have made some adjustments, and it is better now. It is more expensive than conventional brands, but we can buy it online in multi-packs and save money.

Seventh Generation Dish Soap

Soap is soap, and this one works just fine. I like that it is non-toxic, biodegradable, and free and clear of fragrances and dyes. I use it as dish soap and diluted for hand soap. I save money buy buying it online in a case of 6 bottles.