Introduction: $1 One Cup Coffee Maker

Have you used a one cup coffee maker? They're pretty amazing. Put in a pod, shut the lid, push a button, and suddenly, your afternoon is  taking a turn for the better.

As nice as these appliances are, they have a couple drawbacks.  One is that they take up precious space on the counter. Another is, they aren't cheap. And I have no idea what the pods cost.

On the plus side, there is nothing like a cup of coffee anytime you want one. 

Here's an easy, inexpensive way to enjoy that cup of coffee anytime you want it. All you need is very hot water and a few things you probably have around. 

This method works best at home, unless you have a way to make hot water at work. 

Bonus: if you live with a hot tea drinker, there is usually hot water available. (Make sure you refill the tea kettle, though)

Extra bonus tip: This method travels well. Put your favorite coffee in a ziplock plastic bag, pack a few coffee filters and the strainer and say goodbye to stale hotel room coffee. Just use the hot water pot that is usually provided.

Step 1: The Tools You'll Need for the Job

Here's what you'll need:

A tea kettle, a stainless steel sink strainer, coffee filter, coffee mug and 2 tablespoons of coffee. 

The sink strainer can be had at a dollar store for, that's right, a dollar. They're usually in the housewares section.

There are a couple sizes available.  If you're in doubt about the size, take one over to the coffee mugs they have for sale there and see

if it fits.

Make sure you wash it before you use it.

Step 2: Let's Make Coffee

Turn on the tea kettle. Steamy is hot enough. 

Place the sink strainer on the mug and insert a paper coffee filter. You'll have to play around with the filter to get it to fit well.

I'll leave you up to your own devices on this part.

Step 3: Get Out the Coffee

Now, place 2 tablespoons of coffee in the filter. 

I don't know if you think that's a lot for one cup, but any less and it can be a little light. It works for the size cup I use.

Step 4: Now You're in Hot Water

Slowly add hot water. A steady stream seems to work best. It goes fairly slowly. It should take about a minute.

Step 5: No Job Is Finished Until the Paper Filter Is Gone

When you've reached the level in your cup that you like, gather the filter up, give it a light squeeze against the strainer and into the trash, or compost pile, it goes.

Step 6: Time to Enjoy

Just a note here: because you've been pouring very hot water into your cup, it will be warmer than you're probably used to.

Be kind to your lips; go slowly.

If you find your brew is a bit strong, the fix is easy: just add a little hot water.

Something I noticed was how good my coffee tasted prepared this way; better than from the drip coffee maker.

Tip: If you set your cup down and forget about it (I know, improbable) and it gets cool, a little hot water will perk it right up.

Economics: I enjoy this method and use it every day, but two tablespoons seemed like a lot and I wondered what it was costing

me to make  coffee this way. Here's the breakdown: there are 75 tablespoons in a pound of coffee. I use Grandessa German

Roast coffee from ALDI. (A little plug here; this is good coffee for the price). It comes in 1.1 pound packages (1/2 kilo).

$4.99 per pound divided by 75 tablespoons equals about 7 cents per tablespoon times 2 tablespoons per cup equals about 14

cents per cup. Even if your coffee costs $10 per pound, you're under 30 cents a cup for some really good coffee.

I must pass along kudos to my mother-in-law who introduced me to this method and may have developed the use of the sink

strainer for making great coffee. It's the only method she has used for years.