Cooking without a Kitchen Installment II: Coffee

To make up for my recent woeful neglect of this blog, I’m posting twice tonight.  I have a whole bag of excuses to explain my absence as of late, but those are no fun.  What is fun is the way I’ve been making coffee.

After a few weeks of searching for an American style cup of coffee in Turkey, I went to the Mecca of all Americana: Starbucks.  I cannot express the joy my caffeine addiction felt when I went to Starbucks for the first time in Turkey, (nor can I fully express the anger my stomach felt after I gorged myself on Starbucks and McNuggets that day).  I had been stalking Istanbul Starbucks locations on GoogleMaps for days before my trip.  I hold a certain level of disdain for Starbucks in the U.S. and prefer to make snobby homemade lattes with fair trade, shade grown coffee from Costa Rica, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Desperate measures indeed.  I decided to buy myself a little coffee-making kit from Starbucks because, hey, Starbucks coffee is a huge step up from the instant Nescafe coffee sold most places in Turkey.  I bought a lovely little French press and then ran into a problem: Starbucks was only selling whole bean coffee!  I was desperate, so I bought it, took it back to my dorm, and tried putting the whole beans in my French press.

FYI, whole beans + water does not = coffee, so I had to go back to the drawing board.  I consulted Google to no avail.  It told me to find a coffee grinder at the supermarket or local cafe.  I thought about putting an unnecessarily large amount of whole beans into my French press to see if maybe the water would pick up flavor from the high volume of beans.  I grew rather despondent as my Starbucks coffee beans teased me.
That’s when I took matters into my own hands – quite literally.  I ground my coffee by hand as if I were a caveman and only had access to simple tools.  (Sometimes this describes my life quite well.  See: my post on pasta in a tea kettle.)  I grabbed a ziploc bag and the cup I had bought from the grocery store and started crushing the coffee beans.  It kind of worked.


Here I am hard at work.



The result is a coarsely ground coffee.  The longer you spend grinding the coffee, the more like machine-ground coffee it becomes.  It never gets quite as smooth as it would in a coffee grinder, but it works.


The most ironic part of my whole coffee grinding adventure?  I bought new coffee from Starbucks this weekend, and the barista ground it for me…….



3 thoughts on “Cooking without a Kitchen Installment II: Coffee

  1. Sarah-I admire you for your resourcefulness! I’m of the mind set that desperate times call for desperate measures! I’ve recently developed a caffeine/coffee addiction of my own, so I would be right there with you!

  2. Brian and I encountered that non-ground coffee bean problem once. Ok, he did, and I happened to be there for it — I don’t see me ever jumping on the coffee bandwagon. I’ll stick to hot chocolate and apple cider. We also came up with a grinding method, but ours was a little messier than yours. (Good thinking with the bag.) We devised a mortar and pestal situation, using a metal bowl with tall sides and a metal soup ladle. We took turns grinding the coffee beans, and it was kind of fun, until a rather enthusiastic press sent a small amount ground coffee out of the bowl and into the carpet.

    Go you, though. Stay resourceful, my friend. 🙂

  3. Sarah! I loved this post (and the one about the pasta) – so much so that the thought of you grinding your coffee beans by hand had me laughing out loud.

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