I live in a tiny apartment with a tiny kitchen. But man do I love coffee. I love having my coffee machine out and plugged in and ready to go at a moment's notice. I love having my ground coffee right next to my coffee machine so I don't have to think too hard in the morning when I brew my (first) pot. I also like having a place where I can jot down ideas, to-do lists, or grocery lists right near the coffee pot so that I can write things down while I'm waiting for my pot to brew. With so little space, it was really difficult to get this put together, but there happened to be a completely unusable space right next to the end of my kitchen counter...and it turns out a lot of people have a similar unusable space!
What you'll need:
- a side or end table of your choosing
- a coffee machine
- a cool tray (I collect old Graniteware and this was a great place to display some of my favorite pieces)
- a small bucket or pencil cup
- a notebook
- several extra placemats
- an empty 2-lb. coffee can
- an empty 16 oz. coffee can
- a coffee scoop
- coffee filters to fit your machine
- coffee (duh)
- a small bowl or something to put your rings/watch in when you cook (I used a little finger pot my kid made at school)
- any other coffee or tea-related items that you want to have nearby - I also have Earl Gray tea bags, a bag of loose leaf tea from a specialty shop, a tea steeping mechanism, and a can of Pumpkin Spice coffee from Trader Joe's
- Optional: coffee-related artwork
- Optional: clock
- Optional (not pictured): a mail sorter for the wall above your command center
The first thing you'll do is position your table near the kitchen and close enough to an outlet that your coffee machine cord will reach. If it doesn't reach, you'll need to get an extension cord or a power strip to accommodate that.
I like to use spare placemats underneath the coffee machine and other things. It ties it all together and also keeps the placemats handy for when I have guests.
Step 1: Command Center
This part is pretty simple - get an assortment of pens, pencils, and other things you find handy to keep around (scissors, lighters, keychains, etc.) and put them in a pretty bucket or cup holder. Slide your notebook against the wall behind the bucket so it's available but not in the way.
Step 2: The Coffee Station
This is my favorite part: the place where the coffee is!
First, take your large coffee can and clean it out and dry it well (set it out to dry overnight, it's HARD to dry these things with a towel). Then simply cover it with pretty paper, fabric, or paint it...or just leave it as it is, if you like the label that's on it already. Take out a small stack of coffee filters and tuck it into the bottom of the coffee can.
Now take your smaller empty can, clean it and dry it the same way as above, and fill it with the coffee of your choice. I usually buy giant bags of coffee from Costco and just stash the extra in the bottom of the pantry until I need to refill my small coffee can. Cram your scoop in there so that the lid will close.
Slip that smaller coffee can into the larger coffee can, on top of the coffee filters. If the lid for the larger can won't close, take out some of the filters and try again.
Now place the large coffee can inside your tray and arrange some tea bags around it in an attractive fashion. Place other items around it that appeal to you - I don't always drink Pumpkin Spice Coffee from Trader Joe's, but I like the way the can looks so I leave it there. I have another tiny Graniteware bucket that is the perfect size for my loose-tea infuser. And I have a bag of nice loose leaf tea from a local place that I love.
This basically leads to a total no-brainer routine in the morning: your coffee and filters aren't stashed away in some weird place or in a cabinet or something, and you don't have to think too hard about it. Just open the big can, take out the small can, remove a filter, add a few scoops of coffee, and put it all back together. It takes about thirty seconds.
Step 3: Your Coffee Machine
The coffee machine should be on top of a plastic placemat, or some other surface you don't mind getting wet (because it probably will get a little wet underneath it). Make sure it's placed in such a way that you can easily reach all of the components.
Clean your coffee machine regularly! You'd be shocked how much better your coffee will taste after you've run a cleaning agent (buy one specifically for coffee machines or use vinegar followed by several water-only brew cycles) through it.
Hang some artwork and a clock and you're good to go! You now have most of what you need to start your day in one small area, and you're not even eating up any counter space with it. Way to go, you!