Drip machines and percolators take up too much space, French presses are a hassle to clean and instant machines make coffee that tastes like crap. How to quickly make a cup of coffee that tastes great and leaves little mess? There are a number of options. The kitcheneers at Stack Exchange give you a few of them.
Title image by Sean Gallagher.
My household doesn't regularly drink coffee, but we occasionally want to provide coffee for our guests.
We have a coffee maker, but it's been sitting in the garage for ages. It's now dusty, and requires too much cleaning and counter space to drip back into our good graces.
What is the most simple, easy-to-maintain means of producing plain old coffee?
Lifehacker Answer: AeroPress
Normally we leave all these answers to the users from Stack Overflow, but since I've got a strong opinion on this one, I'll add my two cents as well. You'll see this mentioned below as well, but for $50, the AeroPress makes some of the best coffee you'll ever taste, and it's incredibly easy to clean up. You can brew coffee with an AeroPress in many different ways, but I've had my best cups using Ben's method from the World AeroPress Championships recipe page.
As a final note, freshly roasted, whole beans make a huge difference, and a burr grinder will serve you better than a blade grinder. Since you're not looking at spending much, a crank burr grinder is probably your best bet.
For more details from the Lifehacker perspective, see our guide to dropping the drip and making better coffee.
-- Adam Pash
Answer: Cone Filter
I'd pick up a simple pour-over coffee maker and cone filter at the local coffee shop (Melitta makes a few good products).
Insert a paper filter, add grounds, pour hot water through. Presto.
Answer: La Macchinetta & La Macchinetta Napoletana
If your guests like Italian coffee you can buy a Moka.
These are ubiquitous in Italy, where it is called la macchinetta -- the little machine. Every household has one, or often more then one, with different sizes. The classical one is sold by Bialetti.
Use is simple: fill with water, fill with coffee, throw on the stove, wait and pour. Maintenance is easy. With a Moka, soaping and overwashing are discouraged.
Also used in Italy: the macchinetta napoletana, known overseas as the flip-over coffee pot. See Eduardo de Filippo, one of the best Italian actors of all time, speak of the macchinetta napoletana's virtues (in Italian) in this scene from Questi fantasmi.
As Eduardo says, coffee making is "the poetry of life". Maximising caffeine content in your coffee is, well, something else.
Answer: The Cezve (AKA the Ibrik)
A cezve is an easily cleanable pot that allows you to make Turkish coffee. In my opinion, the cezve is the way to go when it comes to making coffee quick and easy and with minimal clean up. Check out these instructions on how to use a cezve (sometimes called an ibrik).
It requires a small filter (I bought a pack of 250 or so when I first got it 18 months ago and I'm only just running out now). The finished grounds are pressed into a "puck" which makes for convenient and dry trashing. See this video tutorial to learn how to use an AeroPress.
Do you have a quicker, cleaner and altogether better way to make coffee? Submit your answer at Stack Exchange or leave it in the comments. Stack Exchange is a place to trade expert knowledge on diverse topics from software programming to cycling to scientific skepticism.