Monday, July 17, 2006

Why you can't make 10 cups of coffee in a 10 cup coffee machine

Ever tried to make 10 cups of coffee in a 10 cup coffee maker? Sure, you can do this, but can you make these 10 cups of coffee while following the suggested directions? I can't.

My coffee of choice is Peet's Coffee. Peet's is known as the "grandfather of specialty coffee". The first store opened in 1966 in Berkeley, CA. (Two posts in a row involving Berkeley!) Today, the company has more than a hundred stores, mostly located on the West Coast. Peet's was the original inspiration for Starbucks coffee. The founders of both companies knew each other personally and Starbucks even bought their coffee from Peet's during the initial stage of their business. Anyway, I digress.

Now, if you want to brew your coffee following Peet's method, you need to use two tablespoons of ground coffee per cup. So, doing a little arithmetic, that works out to twenty tablespoons of coffee for a full pot of coffee. No problem, right? Well, give it a try. If your machine is like mine, you'll get a mouthful of coffee grounds in your cup. My machine uses a #4 filter, in which you can probably put twenty tablespoons of coffee, but if I try brewing a batch with that much coffee, the grounds will expand over the top of the filter and flow down into the carafe. Not really what I call a good cup o' joe. From my experience, the most coffee that I can reliably use without dealing with a bunch of grounds in my cup is around fourteen tablespoons.

So, that means that I can only really make seven cups of coffee in my coffee maker. And keep in mind that a "cup" of coffee is really only 5-6 fluid ounces, whereas a normal cup in the measuring cup sense is 8 fl. oz. My coffee mug at work holds 16 ounces, so in my case, the most coffee that I can make in my 10 cup machine is really only around 2 1/2 physical "cups".

Can you tell that I drink too much coffee?