January 19, 2012

After years of buying, using, and then throwing out one version or another of the “Mr. Coffee” style coffee maker, in the early 1990s, I became a convert and invested in a Krups Espresso machine.

It served me well for twenty years, but a couple years ago, it died and I was off on a search for a new alternative….and discovered that in the 20 years, the world of coffee makers had changed significantly!  The popularity of coffee houses, along with normal price inflation had forced the cost of espresso machines skyward.  The new “inexpensive” was in the $400 range; with prices escalating to the thousands.  The only good news was, one had a LOT of choices.

At first, not willing to invest that much money, I searched for alternatives and discovered the coffee pot had been replaced by the Keurig system…it was everywhere.  But space for the pot, as well as a tree of little cups on my countertop was not a welcome option…not to mention my suspicion of what it would taste like.  I imagined it much like the little cups of fake cream seen everywhere plus I wondered how “green” this product was.  A bit of discussion at the store and a tasting and I determined it was not for me… I went home with a brand new Krups –three times the price of the old one, but if it lasted another 20 years, it was worth it right?

WRONG.  It died in a year. So back to the store again – only to find that Keurig had multiplied as had the espresso machines and there were not many other alternatives.

Not wanting either, I finally bought a FARBERWARE Percolator on Overstock.com and now enjoy a fast-brewing, great-tasting, hot cup of coffee every morning – brewed not from a specialty bean, home ground, but from a can of Folgers – just like my mom used to serve!  I love it!

And this morning, the STRIB included an article about that Keurig I was suspicions of…it seems 46% of dollars spent on coffee or espresso makers last year went to the purchase of Keurigs-with consumers opting for convenience  rather than environmental impact. It seems the cups are difficult to recycle –in fact they are not bio-degradable.  Even Keurig is quoted as saying “we understand the impact of the K-cup portion pack waste stream is one of our most significant environmental challenges.” 

In this case, I think some things old should be new again, and the ease, low-cost, and quality of a cup of coffee brewed in a percolator has my vote!

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