When you know how to make coffee on the stove top, the old fashioned way, you’ll never be at the whim of the power company again! You can use an old-school percolator, or adopt the method I use for a great cup of coffee.
Remember Juan Valdez, of Colombian coffee fame? That commercial is the closest I’d been to a coffee farm until we moved to Hawaii.
The most famous growing region is Kona, on Hawaii Island, although other regions are making a name for themselves. Kona coffee is rich and robust, but if you’re shopping for Hawaii-grown coffee, watch the label. Many producers (not necessarily Hawaii-based) use the term “Kona coffee” when they blend just a small amount of the prized Kona beans with lesser quality beans from elsewhere.
If you want the real deal Hawaii coffee, look for a label that says 100% Kona coffee.
Coffee grows on small trees that flower into fragrant white blossoms known as Kona snow. Hillside coffee farms are a sight to see during this stage. Several months later, green fruit is clustered along the branch. The ripe, red coffee beans are called “cherries.”
Kona coffee is picked by hand, so only the red beans that you see here will be harvested; the green ones stay on the tree a bit longer to ripen. The coffee harvest can last months.
Once harvested, the fleshy red outer skin is slipped off to reveal the beans, which are encased in a slippery layer called parchment. Pop one into your mouth and you’ll taste a slight sweetness, though you won’t confuse it for your morning cup of joe.
At this stage, the beans are left in the sun to dry until the parchment layer becomes crispy, making it easier to remove. Beans are stored in the parchment stage until they’re ready to be roasted.
The parchment behind the bean in the image on the right, below, is empty. The green bean in the foreground is what roasters will turn into those rich, fragrant brown beans that keep so many of us going during the day.
Hawaii’s environment is perfect for growing coffee. In fact, I have a number of coffee trees far up the hillside where they’re hard to access. The coffee beans that go unharvested drop and germinate right there with no help from human hands.
Growing coffee at home
What if you want to try your hand at growing coffee? You can purchase both seeds and plants online. You’ll need someplace warm for them to grow; outside will be fine during the summer months, but during winter you’ll need to bring your coffee tree inside or keep it in a greenhouse.
Coffee trees prefer temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or above, but can tolerate nighttime temperatures of 50 or so. Coffee trees have beautiful foliage and can be pruned to maintain a height of 4-5′ or so, making them a good candidate for growing in an oak barrel.
Processing coffee beans at home is fairly time intensive. I’ve done it only once. I stored my beans in a glass jar before doing any roasting. When I pulled them out for roasting, it was obvious that they were “buggy” so I had to discard them. I’m not sure how to remedy that problem, since it seems that the bugs were there to begin with.
I do hope to transplant some of our coffee trees to a more accessible area soon, so I can try again.
Making coffee on the stovetop
Knowing how to make coffee on the stove top is essential for emergency situations. (Yes, essential. Am I right, coffee drinkers?) Turns out, it’s a great way to make coffee daily. Here’s how (and why) I make the switch.
First, a funny story. My husband gave me a Bialetti coffee maker for my birthday awhile back. Why? A young friend of ours was visiting and he’d mentioned that he wanted one. I agreed that I’d heard good things about them and would like to try one.
My husband heard “birthday gift.” So there I was with a brand new coffee maker that came with incredibly vague instructions in 20 different languages.
I had no idea how to use it. It sat on the counter — it’s purple! It’s pretty! — for a month or so while I continued to use my electric coffee maker. Then I moved it “for now” up into the cupboard, where it lived until a week or so ago.
Here’s the thing. It’s called an espresso maker. And I’m not much of a straight-up espresso drinker. I love a good latte, but making one at home is simply not something I’ll take the time to do. Especially first thing in the morning when I just need a cup of coffee!
Who can even think about all that early in the morning??
Forced to use a Bialetti coffee maker
Flash forward to our recent trip to Italy. While there is no coffee actually grown in Italy, those people are all about their coffee. There are “bars” everywhere, which is where people stop to get a coffee. And when I say “get a coffee” I mean order an espresso, stand at the counter, scarf a pastry, slam an espresso, and out the door you go.
It is not a slow routine to savor in Italy, and baristas will look askance at you if you ask to take it with you. (They will not, however, blink if you decide you’d rather have a glass of wine at eight a.m., which they also serve.)
Here’s where it comes full circle. We stayed in private homes (via Air BnB) and none of them had an electric coffee maker. Instead, I’d have to learn how to make coffee on the stove with a Bialetti coffee maker.
Best. Coffee. Ever.
And I’m certain I’m not even making it right! Of course, the first thing I did when we returned home was to pull out my own! [This is how I make espresso for my homemade kahlua recipe, too.]
How to make coffee on the stove
The beauty of the Bialetti coffee maker is that it doesn’t require electricity, so it’s great for emergency coffee making. I use it regularly on my gas stove, so I’m all set if we have a power outage. It won’t take any extra effort to make coffee when the power is out. It’s also easy to transport for camping trips. It’s off-grid coffee at its best.
Making Coffee in a Bialetti Coffee Maker
Here’s a step-by-step how to make coffee on the stove in a Bialetti.
- Fill the lower reservoir with water just up to the fill line.
- Place coffee grounds in the little filter funnel. How much depends on how strong you want your coffee. (This is where I’m sure I’m doing it “wrong” by some people’s standards.) I fill mine about halfway, which brews a really nice, strong cup of coffee. Filling the filter completely will net espresso.
- Screw the top on tightly. Too loose and it will leak. I use a high flame on one of my smaller burners. (The ticket is to make sure the flame doesn’t extend past the base of the Bialetti coffee maker.)
It takes my 6-cup espresso maker about five minutes to start perking. As the water in the lower reservoir is heated, it’s pushed up through the coffee in the filter and into the top reservoir.
4. As soon as you hear it start to perk steadily, turn off the heat. Let it continue to perk, then pour and enjoy.
While mine says it’s a 6-cup espresso maker, remember that espresso cups are tiny. One full pot works for me as a single cup of really strong brew. Yes, this Bialetti is aluminum. It’s what my husband gave me. [UPDATE: I’ve recently converted over to a stainless steel version.] When it comes to making coffee on the stove, it works perfectly!
Fancy Coffee Drinks You Can Make at Home
Hot Coffee Drinks
- Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte [Attainable Sustainable]
- Superfood Vanilla Latte [How to Just About Anything]
- Buttered Coffee [Dr. Karen S. Lee]
- Gingerbread Latte [Red and Honey]
- DIY Coffee Liqueur [Joybilee Farm]
- Coconut Oil Coffee [Natural Fit Foodie]
- Peppermint Mocha [Nourishing Simplicity]
- Cocoa Butter Coffee [Eat Beautiful]
- Dirty Chai Latte [This Organic Life]
- Pumpkin Spice Latte [Pure Traditions]
- Real Food Salted Caramel Mocha [Nourishing Simplicity]
- Frothy Coffee [Nourishing Simplicity]
- Pumpkin Spice Latte [Joybilee Farm]
Iced Coffee Drinks