Sometimes, you need coffee to survive.
When it’s 3 p.m. at the office and you’re working on that project your boss gave you as punishment. When you were out until 5 a.m. and you’re supposed to meet your visiting parents for brunch. Or, like, every day.
Keurig has become short hand for fancy coffee, but I’m not sure why. It’s not that awesome, and I’m not jazzed about my coffee getting heated inside a plastic pod. I don’t heat my food in plastic in the microwave, because it encourages the release toxins (like BPA). Why is this any different?
I would rather use a regular coffee machine that doesn’t produce so much plastic waste as well. (Though they’re now recyclable in NYC.) But I’m also not a huge coffee drinker that needs three cups to get going. I have to admit, those little single serve packs in all the different flavors have their appeal. When my office got hot chocolate cups for the Keurig, I skipped over to the kitchen like a little girl.
This is all to say that when I was offered the chance to try out a greener single-serve machine, I jumped at the chance. (Full disclosure, they sent me a machine to try for free, but my review that follows is an honest one. You know me.)
The coffee system is called Blu Tigres, which provides artisan coffee pods for the Suncana brewing machine. Like the Keurig, it makes single servings of coffee. Unlike the Keurig, the coffee and tea comes in little biodegradable pods, sort of like the coffee got wrapped in a coffee filter that’s pressed shut into a disc. The pods come in a foil wrapper, which I was told that–depending on where you are–are also recyclable. You’ll have to check with your local recycler. I know, that’s not necessarily easy to do. But all the coffee varieties are by artisan roasters, and you can sign up for a subscription to get monthly deliveries of fair trade coffee.
Another painstakingly detailed review by someone who is obviously obsessive about coffee had great things to say about Blu Tigres. But because I use coffee mainly for emergency situations, I’m not a connoisseur. So I decided to get other opinions by planning a nice little brunch. I tempted my friends over on a Saturday with promises of coffee, freshly-made waffles, and mimosas.
The first girl to arrive was Annalee, the photographer for all the charming brunch photos in this post, entrepreneur and former finance professional. In other words, a big coffee drinker. It was easy to make her a cup. I had already primed the pump the day before, which you only have to do once when you first get the machine. Then, just choose your volume of coffee, from five ounces to 12, and press the brew button. A minute later, voila. Coffee. She took her Zoka French roast black, and declared it quite good.
Unfortunately, she was the only person to try it black. We were in the middle of a heat wave, and word got around that I was adept at making iced coffee. So I started brewing up cups of the Donut Shop French cruller variety and making my healthy, chocolate ice coffees for everyone, while pressing waffles, nibbling on blueberries from the farmer’s market and catching up with my girlfriends.
Here’s my recipe:
New York Heat Wave Healthy Iced Coffee
(All measurements approximate. Don’t stress.)
2 Handfuls of ice
1 Tablespoon of agave
2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 Cup of Donut Shop French cruller coffee
1 Cup of almond milk
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth-ish. Pour into smoothie cup with a straw and enjoy!
Is it a Keeper?
Yes. I am so keeping my Blu Tigres Suncana machine. First of all, I have 80 of these coffee pods to use, which will take me the next four years. But also, it’s a nice looking machine that makes a good cup of coffee, and easily.
I already tapped it for the emergency situation this weekend, when I stayed out until 5 a.m., had far too much to drink, woke up at 10, ran around all day, and then knew I had a full night ahead of me again. After dinner, I quickly brewed up a cup, drank it down, and was ready to go.
And I still don’t know how to use a regular coffee maker.
Photo credit: Annalee Bloomfield