Heeeey, I'm back!* This blog is about how to eat good on bitch money.

*This is a lie.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gettin' Mingy in the Kitchie

Issue one! /McLaughlin
How (and why) to re-use paper coffee filters.

Maybe you have a coffee maker, in which case you should barter it for a parsnip or a couple of week-old radishes because coffeemakers suck. Or maybe you make coffee with one of those doom-dealing, bisphenol-A-leaching plastic Melita filter holders... like me!

If you can't barter your coffee maker because nobody wants it or because it is the last thing you have from your dear, departed great aunt Sal and if you don't have a gold filter for it, go to garage sales 'til you find one. You will find one. The worse the economy gets, the more truly useless things people try to sell. So saddle up and ride out to the more desperate and refi-ed-to-the-hilt of the subdivisions in your area and you'll be a goldfilter owner sooner than you thought possible.

Unless you use preground coffee flakes, the gold filter will let in grounds and the bottom fifth of your pot of bad coffeemaker coffee will be a stygian, bitter swamp. So you want to double up with a paper filter. (You don't use preground coffee flakes because that's disgusting. If you have any Folgers around, barter for some potato peels.)

Either way, whether you make grody coffeemaker coffee or you make Melita coffee like a civilized person, you still want to scrounge up a goldfilter. It will take the weight of the wet coffee grounds off your delicate paper filter and allow you to use it six or eight times, for a savings of $0.0007*.

Here's what you do:
  • Put your precious paper filter in your filterholder
  • Put your goldfilter in on top of it
  • Thow in your coffee and pour water over it or flip the Mr. Coffee switch
  • When the brewing process is complete, carefully lift out your goldfilter and discard or, preferably, compost, the sodden grounds
  • Leave the paper filter in the filter basket until it is completely dry (some say this step is a little obsessive, but the fact is, a wet paper filter is more fragile than a dry one, and if your paper filter tears, you won't be able to use it again, and that's anywhere from $0.0001* to $0.0007* down the drain! Just THROWN AWAY! Lost forever! Have you checked the Dow today? HUH?)
  • Carefully rinse your filter and allow it to air dry
*Actually, it's more than that you'll save, me hearty. Perpend:
The individual filter isn't worth much, granted. But coffee filters are a staple, the kind of horribly necessary thing you sometimes have to go into the store to buy. If you go into the store, the chances that you will spend money are much greater than if you do not go into the store. It is possible to go into the store and buy just coffee filters, but no one ever does. If you go into the store, you will buy, say, a pack of watermelon gum. That's a pack of watermelon gum you wouldn't have bought had you not gone into the store. Right? Right: it's simple logic. And that is why you should re-use coffee filters and why you should purchase the sort of toilet paper that comes in bales and lasts forever. You want that kind of toilet paper despite the fact that it's not recycled. The recycled stuff is always all fluffy and loosely wrapped on the cardboard tube, so that a roll lasts only about a fifth as long as the fat, dense rolls that come in bales. The stuff that comes in bales will keep you out of the store longer. Staying out of the store is very valuable. The toilet paper that keeps you out of the store is going to save you so much money, it's worth bringing on The Day After Tomorrow to get it.

Twice I have found paper coffee filters at estate sales. I bought them both times. Does it creep you out to think of anyone using The Paper Products of the Recently Dead? No problies, princess, more for me. In a month or two when the lights go out, you might find your attitude has undergone a change.

A Warning!
You may be tempted to buy a re-usable cloth filter from the store. Do not get the type made of muslin. After about five uses, they clog hopelessly, and no amount of soaking in vinegar or laundering will get them functional again. Perhaps, like me, you have a friend who is a genius with the sewing machine. Try not to torment this friend by asking over and over and over and over and over if she could please please please please make you a functional, non-clogging re-usable cloth filter. Bear in mind that talented seamstresses are much in demand these days. If you keep asking and asking and asking and asking, you may traumatize your friend, and then where would you be!


Anonymous said...

OK but Chiquitita, but what about the water you use to rinse out the filter? I need to know the math on that. I used to hear all the time when I was cloth diapering my heir that the amount of water used to wash the diapers cancelled out their use (which I know is BS because unlike coffee filters, plastic diapers are not biodegradable). But it did make me think in general about recycling efforts that involved use of water...maybe there's some research out there about that??

Nom, nom, nom! said...

Do you buy tap water at the store? No. Well, then! There, now!

I'm not TAAAAALKing about saving the earth, I'm only talking about not STAAAARVing to death omg.

I have to go to Zumba, now!

Robin P said...

I. Don't. Reuse. Coffee. Filters. Om. Nom. Seems. Unnecessarily. Frugal. Gold. Filters. On. Their. Own. Are. Useless. Yours. In. Coffee. Rob.

Nom, nom, nom! said...


Nom, nom, nom! said...


Robin P said...


Robin P said...

How interesting that Blogger (owned by slightly-evil Google) only understands comments that have proper punctuation. Otherwise it truncates (another fun word) the run-on sentence after some pre-set number of alphanumeric (another fun word) characters = 48 characters.

Here is my entire message from above, with line breaks in it:


Nom, nom, nom! said...

Naw, I don't drive out of my way to get to garage sales--I just hit the ones I see on Saturday on the way to the farmers' market and on the way back. No gas money spent. And plus, entertaaaaaainment! These things are fun as hayill, and I don't have to pay for cable or satellite because I buy the Videotapes And DVDs Of The Recently Dead for $.25/pop.

So where do I get the valupak filters? You're not talking basket filters, are you? Because those stupid things don't work, you need that little seam thing they have on the melita ones or they don't drain right.

Robin P said...

Om Nom, I am turning out to be too declassé for you. First, powdered milk, and now cheapie coffee filters. Oh, well.

Wally's World (= Wal-mart) has BrewRite© basket- style filters. They are about 97¢ for 200 of them. Buy them and separate the first group of them from the scrum (about 50 of them), peel them away from each other, flatten them out, and put them in a loose plastic bag.

Take one filter, fold it into quarters, then open it up, upside-down-umbrella-style inside a #2 Melitta cone filter on a cup. Pour water just off-boil onto it and into the cup to pre-heat it. Wait a few seconds to touch it, then make certain the filter is sitting smoothly in the filter cone.

Add lots of good coffee to the filter, wet the coffee with some water sprinkles so it doesn't fly around at first pour, then pour the same just-off boil (205 degree F or so) water through the good, copious coffee grounds, taking care to circle around the edges of the cone as the cone gets filled, thus pushing more of the grounds towards the center of the coffee, where the water runs through more of the coffee. Only fill the cone once. Let it drain completely.

The 12 ounce cup will be about half full of very strong coffee. Fill the cup the rest of the way with hot, or even boiling water if you want it hotter. You will find that the filter drains fine without the little ribbed seams.

But, if you MUST have cone-style filters, Wally's World to the rescue again! Look for their PureBrew© style cone filters ("from the makers of BrewRite©"). They are much cheaper than the Melitta brand, about $1.50 for 100 of them. They only have the #4 size, but these can be trimmed with scissors (there is that word again!) to fit a #2 Melitta plastic cone.

All of these filters are white "bleached" paper filters. I like miniscule amounts of bleach inside my body. I tell myself that it helps me to sterilize my internal organs. Actually, the pre-heating water likely removes any if it is there in the first place (I tell myself in true OCD fashion).

This is how Uncle Rob rolls!

Anonymous said...

I don't make coffee at home, but I do wonder sometimes, if Neil Diamond does. And does he sing the old hits when he brews?

Anyway, I get coffee from the coffee shop like a proper lady. Or sometimes a 50 cent cup from a bodega work jus fine. I only drink less than half anyway
But if I did make coffees at home, Nom, I'd take all your advice!

Anonymous said...

And, by the way, cloth diapers are ridikulous! You don't throw rinse out poop, people! You throw it in the trash! You see people rinsing out their doggy poop bags? Nope! I would rest my case right now if I had any sense, but since I don't I'll go on to say that I jus love your blog and hope you will blog more!

Can you tell me how to cook meat in the toaster oven? I know times are hard, but some questions still need answering.

bblwrx said...

What kind of meat, "anonymous?" (Or do you know?) (Where did you find it? That might help us narrow it down.)

Robin, thank you! I still have a ton of basket filters from the last time I bought basket filters (new!) (at Big Lots!). I will try your excellent, totally obsessive method.

"Anonymous," agreed: cloth diapers s the k!

Robin P said...

bblwrx, I don't know if you are Om Nom, or not, but you are welcome in any case re Uncle Rob's Obsessively-Brewed Cup of Coffee Using Cheapo Filters Which Work Just Fine, Thank You ©.

And, because I am feeling so useful and generous this morning, I'll even try to help out "anonymous" (boo, hiss to cowardly posters) re the toaster-oven/meat question: toaster ovens are great as toasters, but sort of worthless as ovens because their metal sides are usually so thin that they leak a lot of heat. I personally would only heat thin cuts of meat in a toaster oven because anything else would take too long and not give very good results. Put them on the flat aluminum pan they give you with the toaster oven. You could cover it in foil to make clean-up easier.