My daily grind: everyday coffee good enough for a coffee snob


Coffee … How I love thee … Those who know me know it’s my drug of choice and companion of many a long day and night. Without it I doubt I would have the willpower and energy to stay awake the countless hours it took to create my other day job: motibodo. Even its tagline, “Espresso for workflow” was inspired by it (thanks again Patrick! :)).  Who knew way back when I started this addiction that coffee was a “superfood” in waiting?


Granted, I used to drown my beans in sugar and cream but these days I’m secure enough to prefer my coffee black.

Yup: straight up black.


If you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing black coffee with notes of burnt rubber and cigarette ash, don’t judge me yet! One major difference to experiencing a great cup is the sourcing of great beans.

Garbage in = garbage out. Finding a reputable coffee snob shop and asking them what beans they recommend for home brewing is your first step to coffee nirvana. If they’re worth their beans, after they recommend a few they’ll ask if you have a good grinder at home. If you don’t own a good burr grinder have them grind your beans for you. Ultimately, if coffee is something you really enjoy, I would recommend investing in a good burr grinder. If you’re just testing the water, having them grind a bag or two is fine.  Just make sure to consume them within a month or so of the roast date and ask for a grind between drip and french press.


So what do you need to make an excellent cup of coffee at home? Thankfully, not much.

1. Hot water
2. Great coffee grounds
3. Coffee maker??

It’s no secret that I’m a big Geek and love trying everything twice (slow learner yo). This means our kitchen is riddled with many many different coffee-making apparati (super shout-out to my ever-patient and loving wife, Quin: you’re the best!). After spending lots and spending little, my favourite daily coffee maker is … <drumroll please> … the Clever Coffee Dripper**.

[UPDATED 140311: We crowned the Bonavita Immersion Dripper the new king of coffee makers. Read the full review here.] 


Why, you ask? The humble Clever Coffee Dripper, also known as the CCD (which pairs well with my OCD), has a novel silicon stopper at the bottom which allows your coffee to be fully submerged in hot water. When you place the CCD on a suitable mug, the stopper opens and allows your freshly brewed coffee to drip through a paper filter, producing a clean, fresh cup of great coffee.  This simple but ingenius design single-handedly blends the best of two beloved techniques: french roast (full submersion for great extraction) and pour-over (no fear of over extracting). It requires the least fuss and pampering (pour and wait) while keeping clean up a cinch (toss filter and rinse). Bonus Asian rice points: at $22 it’s a steal!!

What’s not to love?


Typical morning have me rushing the boyz out the door to get them to the bus-stop. If I don’t get my morning cup of coffee *nobody’s* happy. Once I’m brushed and changed, morning coffee routine is thusly:

+ turn on water kettle (filled the evening before so I don’t have to think*)
+ While kettle is heating place paper filter into CCD and grind coffee beans
+ Pour hot water into CCD: steep 3 minutes
+ if I remember, after about 1.5 minutes (ie. halfway through the steep time) stir grounds gently with a chopstick
+ after 3 minute steep, place CCD on travel mug to drip

After a minute or two of drippity-dropping I’m off with my joe in hand with the boyz out the door.


I love my Clever Coffee Dripper so much we have 3. I should confess, though, that 2 have broken feet but were successfully repaired with sugru and epoxy respectively.

For all this love I still have a wish list for a better CCD. First off: upon aging all our CCD’s tend to leak a little at the silicone gasket (hey: no age jokes). It’s easily prevented by making sure the silicon gasket is seated properly before resting your filter in place but yeah: no fun to find your wonderful morning brew slowly escaping onto your kitchen counter.

Second: it’s plastic. My aged versions are showing visible signs of discolouring and stress fractures. Performance isn’t hampered yet, but I would *love* to see a quality glass or stainless steel version which would pretty much last forever. Until I break it.

This being said, mine are all the older, “original” versions and the “New improved” model may address some of these minor quirks (it claims to use better plastic etc). And hey: my 2 year-old Clever Coffee Dripper is still going strong so I really don’t have much to complain about.


Are there better ways of making coffee? Perhaps. But I really don’t want to be bothered with a pour-over, chemex, vac-pot, pocket-rocket espresso machine or even aeropress when I’m barely awake and need my fix before rushing out the door. Another time and place and yes: I may spoil myself. But for my usual mornings: I need coffee. Stat.

This is my daily grind.

* I’ve tried running the kettle on an electric timer but found I never actually made it into kitchen right when the water was finished boiling. Instead of reboiling almost-hot water, the eco-friendly in me decided I could fill the 5 minutes it takes to boil water with grinding beans and putting away dishes.

** Of course just when we publish this article a new coffee maker comes out that gives the CCD a run for our daily grind! After a year of testing, it’s replaced the Clever Coffee Dripper as our daily coffee maker. Links and full review of the Bonavita Immersion Coffee Dripper here.


OCD CCD Coffee brewing tips:

Clever Coffee Dripper, there are 3 variables you control which make pronounced differences to your caffeinated beverage experience:

  1. Water temp: Start with water that’s just-off boil (i.e. Wait 10 seconds after your kettle stops violently boiling). Coffee too bitter? Try waiting a minute or two after boiling stops before steeping.
  2. Bean/water ratio: Start with 22g beans/360g water (yields 300g of brewed coffee). Too weak? More beans. Too strong? Less beans.
  3. Steep time: Try a 3 minutes steep in the CCD before placing it on a cup to drip. Longer for stronger.

Aside: if it takes more than a minute or two for the CCD to finish dripping into your cup you need a coarser grind (the not-so-secret 4th variable).


Recommended Brewing Gear:

Clever Coffee Dripper with Filtropia #4 Coffee Filters

Any kettle will do, but if I didn’t already have one, I’d be tempted to get the long-necked cordless Bonavita Hot Water Kettle

Wanna grind your own beans?  Pickup the Encore Electric Coffee Grinder or, for a cheaper hand-cranked alternative, this Stainless Steel Grinder will give you consistently great brew results. If you want to grind fine espresso, I’d recommend heavier-duty models, but that’s an entirely different post 🙂

** Of course just when we publish this article a new coffee maker comes out that gives the CCD a run for our daily grind! After a year of testing, it’s replaced the Clever Coffee Dripper as our daily coffee maker. Links and full review of the Bonavita Immersion Coffee Dripper here.


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