Not Martha

daily photo: Feb. 21st

I’ve decided to start a daily photo project. I always like these on other sites and I could use the reason to use my camera more often (and hopefully learn more about how to use it without needing to take a few hundred photographs in order to get one I will use). Mostly, though, I need to rediscover a rhythm while using my new-ish laptop. I got it earlier this year and find myself dragging my heels on learning how to most efficiently use the shiny new software. I’ll do my best to make the photos pretty, but no promises. Ok, here we go.

chip in the edge of my Bonmac cone coffee dripper

Scott and I long ago gave up on making good coffee using a coffee maker and instead have been using a cone-over-the-mug setup for years. Recently we decided to upgrade from a plastic cone to a ceramic one. It only took me four days to chip it. I am the reason we cannot have nice things.

I am a fan of the cone dripper (aka pour over method) and highly recommend you try it sometime. I find that it’s easier to make good coffee, and it’s very convenient if you just want one cup. It’s also easier to wash than a coffee maker or a french press, which I highly appreciate as a lazy person. The one above is made by Bonmac and I bought it at Sweet Maria’s, who reports that “this humble Melitta-type cone beat all our other drippers in 2 different double-blind pour-over brewing tests”. Yay! And in a moment of synchronicity Ugly Green Chair pointed me towards this Cilio Porcelain coffee cone which does not have any branding on it, available over at Amazon*. Both of the coffee cones above hold a #2 filter, I prefer the brown paper ones, or a mesh filter.

* That link to Amazon is an affiliate link, meaning that should you choose to buy it I get a small percentage which I use to help cover my hosting costs. No pressure.

· comments [26] · 02-21-2011 · categories:dailyphoto · food ·

26 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rebecca // Feb 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Believe it or not, I’m just becoming a coffee drinker and have been thinking about getting perhaps a French press. This solution seems to fit mine and my husband’s coffee drinking habits perfectly! Thank you! I’m looking forward to seeing your daily photo.

  • 2 K.B. // Feb 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    That is by FAR the best way to make a good cup of coffee :)

    I recently bought the Cilio, to replace an ancient plastic version, but went with the larger size (#4), since the filters are cheaper, and you can make a thermos-full if need be. If anyone in Canada is looking for one, the Green Beanery sells them through mail-order – no affiliation, just saving my countrymen (and women) the time I spent trying to find them here!

  • 3 megan // Feb 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Rebecca – Welcome to the wonderful world of coffee! A french press can make very flavorful coffee and I used one happily for years, but I find the drip cone easier to wash. As I said above, I’m lazy :)

  • 4 Layla Maclachlan // Feb 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    great shot.
    I post a daily picture @
    Have a look you might like to join us.

  • 5 Meaghan // Feb 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I don’t drink coffee enough to warrant an upgrade from my red plastic (Whole Foods acquired) manual drip cone quite yet but I love it. My aunt, who was faithful to Peet’s coffee for years and years until she stopped drinking the stuff cold turkey, only used this method of making coffee. I inherited this tradition. I find it produces the richest, most delicious coffee I’ve ever tasted.

    Apparently there are some coffee shops in the NW who are making coffee like that, and maybe even one in Minneapolis (if I recall), but I have yet to find a place in DC area doing it. It’s so yum!

    Also – isn’t this gorgeous:

  • 6 megan // Feb 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Meaghan – There are a few very fancy cone methods that I’ve seen offered by indie coffee shops here (Seattle) and in Portland, I’ve been meaning to do a post about them (and why I stick to my normal, single hole dripper).

    That Clive coffee stand is breathtaking! Thank you so much for pointing me towards it.

  • 7 Ellen // Feb 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Gorgeous photo. And, I’ve been using my same Melitta plastic cone drippers for 10+ years. I sometimes gaze longingly at the ceramic ones. Your post reminded me why I can’t have them in the house – it wouldn’t take me more than 1 day to chip it.

  • 8 megan // Feb 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Ellen – Yup, luckily we kept our plastic one for the time when I inevitably shatter the ceramic one.

  • 9 Julie // Feb 21, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    We have a Beehouse dripper and love it! But by far my favorite home brew method is Chemex!

  • 10 Danielle // Feb 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I’m not a coffee drinker (or tea – crazy, I know), but I love the idea of the daily photo project. I need to get to know my camera better and I think I’ll give it a whirl.
    Thanks for the inspiration, like always! :)

  • 11 Lenore // Feb 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Sweet Maria’s is awesome! Their shop dogs are friendly, and it smells so good when they’re roasting.

  • 12 cindy // Feb 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    I had been looking in vain for a ceramic cone in Vancouver for the longest time but no luck. This was after getting inconsistent results with a plastic version from Daiso. I’ve since moved on to the Aeropress and love the ease of use – a quick rinse and you’re good to go.

  • 13 Lara // Feb 22, 2011 at 12:26 am

    I love the idea of a daily photo. I’m also a longtime fan of the manual pour cone–I like my coffee hot and it seems no french press or automatic can make the coffee hot and keep it that way until it’s ready like a manual pour. Extra bonus, it’s perfect for camping and I also brought mine with me to Italy so I could easily have a cup of American coffee while living here for 6 months. I have a small Melitta a friend gave me years ago, and a larger one that I ordered from the Blue Bottle Coffee Co. that fits perfectly on a vintage coffee carafe so I can make a pot of coffee for guests.

  • 14 Anne // Feb 22, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Great idea. This is going on my present list to get my husband.

  • 15 Seanna Lea // Feb 22, 2011 at 2:26 am

    I have a french press at home, which is great when I also have guests. For work I have the Clever Dripper, which is like the ceramic one you have only it is plastic and I can drain it right over my coffee cup. I love it!

  • 16 Jeanne // Feb 22, 2011 at 3:50 am

    I have been looking for something like this porcelain cone to hold the filters on the counter next to the coffee maker. Thank you! Will need to try the pour over method.

  • 17 Jaden // Feb 22, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Love Sweet Marias! I buy green beans from them and roast at home.

  • 18 E. Ryan // Feb 22, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I have an oddly specific question for you. I’m engaged and trying to determine the best coffee-making option for my future husband and I. What is deterring me from going with the drip cone process is that it’s individual. I’d have to make my coffee and then he’d have to make his, right? Do you and your husband ever find yourselves battling over who gets coffee first? (I know that sounds really silly) How quickly does it brew?

  • 19 Megan // Feb 22, 2011 at 8:31 am

    My ex is from Brazil, and this is how he and his mother made coffee. He left behind the cone when he moved out, and I never have been able to make a decent cup of coffee using it. I manage to make it, as I always say, with all of the bitterness but none of the flavor of coffee.

    The also make coffee like this at Intelligentsia coffee shops in Chicago. I watch them, and they don’t seem to do anything different than I do (except they use fresh fresh coffee).

    Any technique tips?

  • 20 megan // Feb 22, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Jeanne – Keep in mind that the pour over cone itself won’t work well as a holder for dry filters as the filters are wider than the cone itself, I just pulled out my Bonmac and a stack of filters and they don’t sit flat in it. So, don’t buy it just for storage!

    E. Ryan – Pour over cones that fit #4 and (maybe) #6 filters are also made so that you can do a pour over coffee for a small carafe. There was an episode of Alton Brown where he filled a large thermos using a larger pour over cone. I cannot advice you further on the best method for you, but I will tell you that we don’t fight over who gets the first coffee – most often whoever is making coffee gives the first mug to the other person. We did actually buy two porcelain cones so that we could make two cups of coffee at a time, but that all seemed like more detail than was needed for the photo of my chipped Bonmac. The pour over cone takes about two minutes to brew a cup.

    Megan – First, is it a cone with one small hole at the bottom? There are cones these days with larger holes that require some fancy technique to use them, and some cones with more than one hole that might not give the water enough contact time with the grounds. I also warm up the cup and my cone by running hot water through them just before I brew, it might not help with bitterness but the coffee in the mug stays warm longer. We also use, I’m embarrassed to admit this, Folgers coffee most often. All this said, I’m not a coffee snob and since I never managed to make decent coffee with years of owning a thermal carafe coffee maker I’m really happy with the pour over cone. Also, see Imbibe’s pour over coffee tips for lots of dimpling and stirring counter clockwise advice. Lastly? Maybe the cone is tainted by the bitterness of the relationship ending, ditch it and start over :)

  • 21 Iris // Feb 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I bought my ceramic three hole cone from the Daiso at Westlake Center. I also bought a pack of unbleached filters from there as well. It was about four dollars all together.

  • 22 CoffeeJitters // Feb 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Ah, yes, I can’t tell you how many french presses I’ve given away over the years. I love the coffee, but I just cant deal with cleaning it.

    I keep thinking of doing the pour over method as opposed to our coffee pot. Maybe I’ll give it a try.

  • 23 Robyn // Feb 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I was thisclose to buying a coffee dripper after reading your post, as I had never heard of such a thing. I don’t drink coffee all the time, so it would be perfect for me (no big coffee pot to deal with for 1 little cup). Low an behold, my aunt sent me one for my birthday this past Sunday. She had actually mailed it to me before I had seen your post. It’s all so weird and meant to be!

  • 24 Anna // Mar 1, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Since i’m officially trying to give up diet soda, this is the perfect solution for a cup of coffee in the afternoon at work! And, its much easier than dealing with cleaning a French Press at work.

  • 25 Megan // Mar 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    >Maybe the cone is tainted by the bitterness of the relationship ending, ditch it and start over :)

    Ha! Yes, the curse of the ex-mother-in-law. I’m sure that’s it.

  • 26 Nooch // Jul 7, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Coffee cones are the best method I’ve encountered to make a good cup of coffee.

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