This site is an archive of For the latest information about Susy and her adventrures, visit the Cultivate Simple site.
Thank you for all your support over the years!

Cultivate Simple 67: Good Morning and Good Bye

March 3rd, 2014

Tips for brewing a great cup of coffee!  We roast our own beans, head on over to see the process in this post I wrote a few years ago.
Coffee Beans

  • Figure out what kind of coffee you like, do you like dark and chocolatey or bright and acidic. Fine tuning your tastes will help you settle on the best coffee for your palate.
  • Buy beans in small batches or roast your own.
  • Use them up. Don’t let them sit around
  • Store them in an airtight container (don’t put them in the freezer). If you buy a large quantity keep some in a small jar for daily use so that the majority of beans will not be exposed to the air. We store ours in a Le Parfait Glass Jar

Camano Coffee Mill 1
Buy a good grinder

  • A burr grinder is essential. Uniform size won’t let the water get through the coffee faster than it should.
  • Only grind what you are going to use
  • You can get a really nice hand cranked burr grinder from Red Rooster Trading Company

Try different types of coffee makers

  • Espresso
  • Chemex
  • French press
  • Cold brew coffee
  • Vacuum Brewers
  • Moka pots
  • Drip coffee makers

chemex coffee
Maintain Your Coffee Brewing Device

  • Clean your machine
  • Filtered water
  • Drink after brewing. Don’t brew ten cups of coffee and drink them throughout the day. Better to brew twice and have good coffee all day.

roasting_coffee_at_home 1
Sources for green coffee beans:
Sweet Maria’s (this is where we buy our beans)
Dean’s Beans
Sweet Maria’s article about Getting Started Roasting Coffee at Home. Here’s their article about using a hot air popcorn popper to roast coffee. Finally a link to a great article on the health benefits of coffee.

If you really want to use up several hours, visit Coffee Geek or Home Barista and check out the forums. At 10 people, get 12 opinions.

Are you a coffee drinker?  How do you take yours: cream, sugar, black? 

21 Comments to “Cultivate Simple 67: Good Morning and Good Bye”
  1. Natasha on March 3, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I love coffee. I used to put a dash of coffee in with my cream, but since I’ve been married, I usually just use milk. I love a cup of good coffee in the morning. This post reminded me that I haven’t cleaned coffee maker in awhile. I anticipate tomorrow’s coffee will be delightful!

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  2. Lauren on March 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

    When I first got married twelve years ago we used a percolator to brew our coffee. As the years passed we tried espresso but it was too strong for my palette. For the past six years we have used a french press. We started with an inexpensive one from Ikea which held up surprisingly well. After using it for five years it met its demise when I was tapping it on the side of our compost barrel to knock out the grounds and it sadly shattered. Our current french press is made by Bodum but I plan to replace it as soon as we are near an Ikea. We buy organic whole beans and grind a few days worth at a time. I take my coffee with half and half and more cane sugar than I should.

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  3. Jeannette on March 3, 2014 at 10:09 am

    looking forward to this podcast. Love good coffee. Would love to roast my own with a fancy roaster some day but for now I’m happy with a local organic bean I find at Costco. Roasted with a popcorn popper just to try it out, did a pretty good job for $14! Recently switched to a metal filter called the Kone. I’m pretty happy with it though I get some grit. Also discovered the Aeropress and it’s great little gadget and perfect for travel, I was skeptical but it makes a darn good cup of coffee!

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  4. Nebraska Dave on March 3, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Susy, as you might imagine my coffee is regular Folger’s grind straight up black. It might surprise you that my introduction to drinking coffee on a regular basis was in the military at 21 years old. We always had coffee every day in house while I was growing up but I just didn’t have a desire for it. Well, in the military there’s no special grind, or storing in a special way. There’s no fresh pot made every couple hours or using filtered water. It’s made ten gallons at a time by filling the coffee maker with what ever water’s available and dumping what ever coffee the military provided in the basket and plugging it in. Some times the morning coffee was still hot and ready at supper time. Military cooks could care less about how tasty the coffee is. We were just lucky to have some. So that’s were I acquired my taste for coffee. I was employed by Uncle Sam in Germany as a team clerk. There was a lot of down time and not much to do, so the choices were drink coffee or smoke cigarettes or both. I chose the lesser of two evils and besides coffee was free. Yeah, I’m kind of cheap too. Anyway after getting used to military coffee, any coffee tasted like special grind that had been specially stored for flavor. So now after 45 years of coffee drinking, pretty much strong cowboy coffee boiled over the camp fire and drank black and hot is my favorite kind of coffee. No special brewing or storing needed. :-)

    Have a great coffee drinking day.

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  5. Allison on March 3, 2014 at 10:38 am

    You briefly discussed your Berkey – which reminded me that I needed to thank you both for introducing my family to this glorious product! We have been using ours for about 6 weeks, and its amazing what I notice in other filtered waters now. The filtered water at my office, which I always thought tasted pretty clear compared to the tap water, now tastes like chemicals thanks to the filtering power of our Berkey!

    So, thank you!!

    Reply to Allison's comment

  6. Tom Wolfe on March 3, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Espresso or cappuccino made with an old Gaggia Classic. Here is another place to get unique hand grinders from a Ma and Pa operation living in Idaho: As for roasting, I let the professionals do that; I doubt I’d be able to do any better and the cost savings isn’t enough to sway me.

    Reply to Tom Wolfe's comment

  7. Wendy on March 3, 2014 at 11:08 am

    My heart jumped up to my throat when I read this episode’s title, and I fast-forwarded to the end just to see if I was right! Believe it or not, I will miss hearing your guys’ voices every week–glad we’ll still have the archives to listen to! Thanks for all you’ve put into sharing the podcasts with us on a regular basis, but I’m glad you’re doing what feels right for you. I’m looking forward to seeing what changes and big decisions you all have in the works!

    A couple of questions for future blog posts–
    1.) What are some of your favorite podcasts that you listen to?
    2.) What is the best free, online way to start learning some basic code. I’ve been playing around with the Hour of Code app on my phone,but what would you suggest!

    Thanks so much!

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  8. Bonnie Fowler on March 3, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I prefer a dark roast with vanilla syrup and milk for a treat. I also often drink it black. I like that rooster brand grinder, I’ll have to check it out. I have used my grain mill in a pinch.

    Reply to Bonnie Fowler's comment

  9. misti on March 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    *sniff sniff* I was hoping that Goodbye was just a joke! :( I hope y’all come back sometime in the future as I really do look forward to listening every week.

    RE: water. Since I am on well water now where I live I really do notice how bad city water smells and tastes. We were at a hotel a few weekends ago and I really thought I was drinking pool water. ugh.

    Reply to misti's comment

  10. Shailaja on March 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Hello. I write from a country where coffee grows –India. As children, we were allowed only a quarter cup of coffee at breakfast, just enough to dunk hot, buttered toast (yummy!). Now, in my sixties, I have several cups of peaberry coffee with milk and sugar during the day! I have heard that adding a pinch of salt while brewing the coffee improves the taste (aroma?). I must try it.

    Reply to Shailaja's comment

  11. Reid on March 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Hi! Your podcast this morning on the way to work made me go and get a good cup of coffee. I go to a locally private owned shop where they roast their own beans in the store daily. I had a French Roast Sumatran. It was so strong and full bodied I had to go back in and buy a Blueberry muffin! That is the way I like my coffee. Bold and earthy. I agree with Susy about the bright coffee. I have tried it several times, but it is like a slap in the face! Sumatra is my favorite, or Indonesian blends. I mostly use drip coffee, but sometimes on the weekends take time to indulge in a pour over, like you talked about. The drip coffee maker I use has a stainless steel filter. It really does make a difference. You get that fine sediment in cup that is divine.

    I love making coffee in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It is a national wilderness area where you canoe camp. You portage from lake to lake. The coffee has a special flavor when you use filtered lake water. Mmmmm!

    On a side note: I LOVE CATAN! I just played it last night. Hands down the best board game ever. Your awesomeness factor just increased exponentially on the account of your game choice :) My wife and I would love to play with you some day.

    Reply to Reid's comment

  12. DebbieB on March 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I’ll definitely miss your weekly chats. The easy conversational and informative podcasts have been a lovely part of my Monday mornings. I’m sad, and yet, happy that you’re being true to yourselves and not continuing something you no longer enjoy. Thanks for all that you’ve done – I’ve learned a great deal, and you’ve brought a smile to many a Monday.

    Coffee – I’m the only drinker in the house, and I just drink regular strong grocery-store coffee and add sweetener and LOTS of milk to it. Here in New Orleans, my grandmere raised me on cafe au lait – she had a percolator, I remember that thing burbling on the kitchen counter. Strong coffee and steamed milk, with lots of sugar – it was mostly sweet milk with coffee for color, when I was a kid, and as I grew older, the coffee/milk ratio changed slightly. :) I don’t consider myself a coffee connoisseur – I don’t know the difference between “bright” and “dark”. I guess I should go to a tasting… or maybe go to a barista and ask if I could pay for tastes of different coffees?

    I doubt I’d ever go so far as to roast my own beans, being the only coffee drinker in the house, but I have started baking my own bread, and we’ve got seedlings going under grow lights – See, your podcasts have had a positive impact way down here in the Deep South!

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  13. Mary Schier on March 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I’ll miss the podcast, but understand what a huge commitment it is. I’ve learned a lot from it and actually bought a Chemex because of your recommendation. (Best coffee, ever!) Thanks for putting out all this great information. Best of luck in all your endeavors!

    Reply to Mary Schier's comment

  14. Meredith on March 4, 2014 at 1:50 am

    I love coffee! My favorite way to brew is with an Aeropress. You’d never guess to look at the thing what great coffee it makes. I usually dilute the brew so it’s more like an Americano. I use it at home and on the road. The only drawback is it only makes one-two servings. When I need multiple servings I fire up the Bunn but am really tempted to get a Chemex instead.

    Reply to Meredith's comment

  15. Dorothy Donatello on March 4, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I will really miss your podcast. All the wonderful information you gave all your listeners was priceless. Hopefully you will throw us an occasional podcast now and then. Lets face it a lot of us will miss your voices on that Monday a.m. when we tuned in. Good luck on all your future ventures.

    Reply to Dorothy Donatello's comment

  16. amy on March 4, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I do drink coffee occasionally with cream and maple syrup…..but my preferred hot beverage is always English Breakfast or an Irish tea with cream and maple syrup.

    Reply to amy's comment

  17. Tonya on March 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Oh no! I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but I see my fears are realized and you are ending the “Cultivate Simple”. I want to thank you for many hours of listening enjoyment and for all the knowledge you have shared. Over the past several years I have been trying to inch my family toward healthier and simpler choices. It is a process, not an event, and you have been instrumental in helping me along in this journey. Just after I found your podcast I was diagnosed with an early stage breast cancer. That, coupled with your encouragement have spurred my efforts to make healthier, more natural and simple choices. Some changes based on your podcasts: my husband no longer runs steaming water through plastic tubing in a coffee maker, instead he uses a Chemex. My (already frequent) use of Mason jars has skyrocketed and I am phasing out plastic containers. We bake all of our own bread. I will be increasing my vegetable gardening. I buy our meat, eggs and milk locally, pastured when possible. Whenever possible, I choose organics. I carry old, inexpensive flatware to eat my lunch instead of plastic utensils. Little changes, but they all add up. Thank you for helping me to re-examine my choices and for encouraging me to be more mindful. I’ll keep reading the blog so I can get my Cultivate Simple “fix”. Best wishes!

    Reply to Tonya's comment

  18. PennyAshevilleNC on March 5, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I will miss virtually hanging out with you! You have shared so many aspects of your lives and I am grateful to you. I have learned from you. Thank you for all of your time and energy, I’ll see you around the blog :)

    Reply to PennyAshevilleNC's comment

  19. Colleen on March 6, 2014 at 12:05 am

    I read the title of the podcast and I thought hmmmm…good bye.?… I will miss listening to your weekly stories, tips, updates, geeky stuff and whaaats for dinnnner. Will continue to follow your blog and support you in many ways.

    Thanks for all your time and creating amazing podcasts.

    I will take my coffee with cream, please.

    Reply to Colleen's comment

  20. Melanie in California on March 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Oh gosh. Just….gosh.
    I’m sad but not surprised at the podcast hiatus considering how full your lives are. Thank you for the effort and information you put into each episode.

    The blog is wonderful and I will remain faithful, but I will miss our weekly commutes together. Thank you for leaving the podcasts archived.

    All the best,

    Reply to Melanie in California's comment

  21. elizabeth on March 14, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    I’d love to start roasting my own beans.
    Right now we are just using Moka Express pots and a Aeropress.
    What brand/model espresso machine do you have and how did you choose it? Also what burr grinder do you recommend?

    Reply to elizabeth's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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