Monday, February 1, 2010

First Things First - The Essential Coffee

The golden rule on a small boat is that you never bring anything onboard that cannot do two jobs. Coffee is an essential for me. I am talking about real coffee, instant doesn’t cut it. How instant coffee survives on the market is an entirely different conversation. Instant coffee is not on my boat and never will be.

I attempted to be a coffee snob, bringing the coffee grinder and whole beans on board. I reasoned that the coffee grinder could be used to grind whole spices, as a second chore. I never brought the whole spices on board. The coffee grinder was loud. My desire to be a coffee conessuer where not always appreciated by the couple on the next boat at 7 am. I finally relented, and returned the coffee grinder to the kitchen at home.

I have gone through a number of brewing methods. A friend of mine has an electric perculater, circa 1950. To me it always looks a little electrically unsafe and does seem to overload the breaker on the shore power on far too many occasions. The newer electric perculators all seemed too big for my needs. A stove top model meant giving up a burner on the stove. Since I had no stove, that was an easy choice not to make.

That left the drip filter. I bought the individual cone and made one cup at a time, illiminating the need for a separate coffee pot. That had its downsides. The process was slow. I made a cup and gave it to my partner Jeff. Then I would make mine. By the time my coffee was made and I felt ready to get ready to make breakfast, Jeff was looking for his second cup. Keeping coffee filters on board was problematic. They always seemed to get wet, crunched or lost. On the plus side, all you needed was an electric kettle. The electric kettle could make teas, coffee, cup a soup and warm dishwater. Yes, the electric kettle had no trouble justifying its place onboard.

Eventually I settled on the French press. The pot is small enough to be stored easily, it makes 3 boat sized cups at time and only requires the kettle. The resulting coffee is superior in taste to any other method, in my humble opinion. The down side of the French press was everyone else likes it, too. I had to replace my French press twice. I lent it to other boaters and instead of returning it they gave me money to replace mine. They would not give me my French press back. I must be honest, I do now, also carry a regular 12 cup coffee maker on board. There is a reason for that, but that story belongs in a different post.
Jamaican Coffee - This will not help you navigate to Jamaica, but will keep you warm until you get there!
1 ounce Jamacian dark rum                                
1 ounce Tia Maria
3/4 cup hot strong coffee 
Whipped cream fro topping                                                      


  1. I am in love with my morning coffee so I understand your trials. I have the coffee grinder and French Press as well. Why the grinder has to sound like a lawn mower engine I'll never know!

  2. This is fabolous Sharon. I love boats too. Have you ever tried a different type of boat like the Whirlpool Jet boats in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario? Its a bit extreme, but one of those opportunities I recommend anyone to do in life. Overall, your blog is great. I think employers will enjoy this and soon as you know it your career will be in set sail.

  3. Joanna-I spent my life on the water. I have canoed, water skied, white water rafted, learnt how to white water kayak. My last passion was scuba diving, but I often got seasick on the way to the dive site. I could not snorkle for the same seasickness. Then, I took a scuba trip on a sail boat. It was love at first sail.

  4. I love coffee too! Sharon have you ever tried Vietnamese coffee? It is so good! It is really thick and strong and then they add condensed milk, if you have never tried you need to!

  5. Coffee is a god-send! It makes my day! Coffee + booze= genius!
    This blog makes me think of the summers walking down by the water in Port Dalhousie, looking at all of the boats that I want to acquire when I have the finances. I enjoy learning the basics through what you have included, like the definitions. You always learn better through shared experiences! Keep it up!

  6. Wow! I did not know you were such a "Mermaid", Sharon. You need to teach me more about all these watersports. How nice they are. Coffee? I can't resist the smell of a good coffee. Have you tried Brazilian coffee? Great idea for a blog.

  7. Mmm coffee. I have to agree Sharon, the French press is superior to all other coffee making methods. The taste is so much better. Thanks for the Jamaican coffee suggestion too. I think I'll be trying that this Saturday morning.

  8. Lol its funny your writing about coffee, because you live breath and drink coffee!

  9. Ruby, coffee is the world's best motivator. You would be surprised how much homework you can complete after two extra large.