Unitasker Wednesday: Coffee unitaskers continue

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

For this week’s unitasker selection, I wanted to keep with the April theme of coffee-inspired unitaskers. And, when looking for such unitaskers, my kitchen seemed like the perfect location to find candidates.

I may talk the talk and walk the walk in other areas of my life, but not where coffee is concerned.

Let me illustrate my point: I use the Aerobie AeroPress coffee and espresso maker with a tiny filter to make my coffee. It requires ground beans, which I grind in my Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder, and hot water, which I heat in the microwave or in my teapot. Except for the mug and a splash of milk, this is the entirety of my coffee-making needs. But is this where my coffee gadgets and doodads stop? Oh no.

In my cupboard is a coffee scoop:

Since I pour my coffee beans straight from the bag into the top of the coffee grinder and my coffee grinder only grinds the specific amount of beans you set it to grind, I don’t use a coffee scoop. Additionally, if I did need to measure ground coffee, I would just use a measuring spoon (one cup of coffee requires two tablespoons of ground beans in the AeroPress).

The coffee scoop is minor compared to the Nespresso Single-Serve Espresso Machine sitting on our kitchen counter:

This space hog was our primary coffee maker until it died in 2009 and we bought the AeroPress. We found out, however, that it could be resurrected for very little money, so we had it fixed. The reason we keep it is because it’s great at parties where everyone can choose the exact type of espresso they want and get a customized drink in seconds. (In contrast, it’s difficult to make enough coffee for a group of people with the AeroPress quickly.) But, since becoming parents in 2009, we have only thrown one party where people have used it. One.

We might use it more regularly to make a quick cup for ourselves if it didn’t require ordering special coffee pods from the manufacturer to use in the machine. It’s not like the Keurig machines that have pods available at the grocery store or at Costco. We have to plan a week in advance to get a fresh cup.

Keeping it and not using it is ridiculous since our exact Nespresso model is no longer in production and its value has soared. They sell on eBay and Craigslist for significantly more than what we spent on the machine. We would actually make money if we sold it. I need to sell it. I do.

Do you have coffee unitaskers taking up residence in your home? Are you harboring items you never use? Is there a coffee machine on your countertop that you haven’t touched except for once since 2009? No? Just me?

38 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Coffee unitaskers continue”

  1. posted by jodi on

    LOL, in our house coffee “clutter” is very subjective depending on who you ask.

    My husband has a separate container for whole beans, which he grinds every few days…storing the grounds in another container. This is a bit frustrating as we don’t use sugar in our home with the exception of his coffee, so the two containers (and special scoop) and even the sugar itself are coffee-only items.

    Then, we have the filters, (4-cup coffee pot so we have to buy paper filters), a special coffee cup that warms his coffee on the coffee maker plate (if you remove the pot)and even a special bottle in the fridge that he keeps “coffee milk” in. (“Coffee milk” is simply regular milk poured into his special bottle).

    Then there is the counter/cupboard space it all takes to store everything.

    As a non-coffee drinker it all seems like clutter. =)

  2. posted by Elaina on

    I know the coffee clutter pain. We just moved, and thankfully, we purged most of it in that process. When my husband and I moved in together, we had 6 coffee creation devices: 1 french press, 1 drip coffee maker, 2 coffee grinders (one became a spice grinder though), 2 espresso makers, and that doesn’t include all of the special scoops and coffee ground pods that came with various devices, nor does it include all of our tea accoutrements. Now we’re down to 1 teapot and a few accessories, 1 coffee grinder (the spice one died), and 1 french press.

  3. posted by Julie on

    For a couple of years my primary coffee maker was a Melitta one-cup (like a Keurig) which was perfect because I would make my one cup every morning. We also had a regular 12 cup drip coffeemaker stored in the pantry for the occasional party. Then after 15 years together with me being the only coffee drinker, my husband decided to start drinking coffee. (Mid life crisis? I can’t explain it.) So we pulled out the 12 cup and now we make a half-pot every morning. And the single cup Keurig is still on the counter. I should sell it. Or at least store it in the pantry.

  4. posted by WilliamB on

    I find the 2T. measuring spoon to be very useful. I don’t use it for coffee – I loathe the stuff – I use it as another measuring spoon. I use it at least as much as I use any other measuring spoon. (I also use the 1/2T. spoon, the 2/3c. and the 3/4c. cups a lot.)

    How do I know how useful it is? When my previous 2T. measure disappeared, I felt it’s loss keenly until I replaced it.

  5. posted by Mike Hathaway on

    The single serve coffee machines while they might look like unitaskers for a family with only one coffee drinker are a life saver. My keurig machine saves around $1.75 a day as I no longer visit starbucks in the morning. There are no dishes as with an aeropress where you have to boil water then use the press then pour into your coffee / travel mug. My machine turns on in the morning on a time, I get my copco reusable travel mug filled and off to work. It shuts off automatically later in the morning. The only dish to clean is the mug. There are refillable pods for these machines, but frankly after trying it I needed the more simple pod in coffee out solution. The only reason I no longer call it a unitasker is it makes my wires tea and hot water for whatever we are doing in the pitches (hint jello is a snap)

  6. posted by Pete on

    I have more coffee making devices than I care to think of. I have a Kuerig, a french press, two pour over cones, a twelve cup drip machine, a fifty cup percolator, a vacuum pot, and a stove top espresso maker.

    Add to this a couple of burr grinders, a coffee roaster, a scale, and two vacuum carafes.

    I feel a little silly about the lengths I go to get my caffeine fix.

    On the other hand, you should come over for coffee sometime, I make a really excellent cup. Except if you put cream and sugar in it, then I will get huffy and insulted.

  7. posted by Jill on

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned owning a milk frother. I own a Cappucino Creamer from Frabosk. You put the milk in, pop it in the microwave (or heat it on the stove), and froth the heated milk up. Having lived in Germany for 6 years I am passionate about coffee and love my cafe au laits. I even have four cafe au lait mugs and saucers. That said, I last made a cafe au lait about a year ago and only on the weekends.

  8. posted by Leslie on

    I used to have one machine that did it all. I would load the beans, add the water and set the timer. The grinder was so loud, I didn’t need an alarm clock. I would wake slowly to the sound of beans grinding and then enjoy the smell of coffee as it brewed. Loved waking to it. It died, one part at a time until we had to replace it.

    Currently we have an electric tea kettle and a coffee press. Neither are unitaskers.

    For those occasions where we need to make more coffee, I buy from our local coffee place. The container is recyclable, I only have to get one when we are expecting a large number of people and they will take the empty container back. This allows us to support local business (on occasion) and we aren’t cluttering up the house with rarely used large coffee makers.

  9. posted by Amazonite on

    I laughed when I read your post; we have a ‘coffee station’ in our kitchen for all of the coffee-related machine and other paraphernalia. This consists of one cabinet-top which has a Keurig machine, a Hamilton Beach Brewmaster coffeemaker, a grinder, four containers of coffee (whole bean and ground), a pottery bowl of K-cups, filters, and a coffee scoop. My husband and I are both voracious coffee-drinkers. We make a 12-cup pot in the HB machine each morning, and it is empty by the time we both leave for work. The Keurig is for coffee at any other time of day, so we don’t have to waste most of a pot of coffee when someone (usually my husband) wants a cup or two.

  10. posted by Rick Lobrecht on

    I also use a French Press to make my coffee. A scoop came with it. Since the French Press goes with me to the office (with coffee ground at home) the scoop also goes with me. It’s not clutter for me, it’s the only measuring spoon in my office.

  11. posted by JustGail on

    You all are making me feel like a coffee underachiever! We have 1 electric percolator, and for when that’s too much trouble, a jars of instant coffee (regular and decaf), which is heated in the microwave. Somehow, we never got into the cappucino, espresso or other “fancy” coffee routine.

  12. posted by chacha1 on

    We have a whole coffee shelf in the cabinet over the cooktop. There’s the stash of coffee beans (decaf and regular), filters, scoop, and grinder. Plus instant coffee for emergencies. Right underneath on the countertop is the drip brewer. It’s the only small appliance on our counters … we have our priorities.

  13. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    Just went to the kitchen to make tea and spotted a French Press in the cupboard. I didn’t even remember we had one. I’m laughing so hard at myself right now …

  14. posted by infmom on

    Those one-cup machines are also responsible for millions of plastic cups ending up in landfills. It may be convenient, but it is not a responsible way to make coffee.

    I used to use a 4-cup Kitchenaid drip coffee maker (for which I bought a gold filter so I didn’t have to keep buying the paper cones). Unfortunately, since I am the only coffee drinker in the house, nearly every day I poured out a partial pot of coffee. My kids gave me a French press and a Capresso coffee grinder and that worked beautifully.

    Then I discovered the Aeropress. Be still, my beating heart. I am now working with my second Aeropress (the first one’s rubber stopper wore out and I could find no way to buy just a replacement stopper for any kind of reasonable price, so I bought a new press).

    When we have company I’ll use either the big French press my kids gave me for Christmas one year, or get the drip coffee maker down from the cupboard over the fridge.

    Erin, do you not use the measuring scoop that came with the Aeropress? I used to have several coffee scoops in the kitchen but now I only have two, the Aeropress one and another one I use to measure for the other coffee makers. The rest went into a bag to be donated to Out of the Closet.

  15. posted by Zac Hunter on

    Guilty! I have 2 french presses, 3 pour over cones AND 2 grinders. Truth be told, they ALL get used regularly. We drink a lot of coffee, and it is something we love so we don’t mind a little coffee clutter and redundancy in that department.

  16. posted by Marianne on

    I have a very cheap coffee maker. Put the filter in, put water in, use the coffee scoop to add the right amount of coffee, press on button.
    I would be lost without my coffee scoop. It rests in the coffee container. Where else? So you do have 2 coffee machines but no room for a scoop? :)

  17. posted by Amanda on

    Erin, if it was a different Nespresso model I’d be willing to take it off your hands, has my fiance has been admiring them.

  18. posted by Jess on

    This made me laugh so much because I always think all of our coffee goodness is too much. We have: 1 standard drip coffee maker, 1 bean grinder, 1 french press, 1 espresso machine that comes with various espresso unitaskers. We use the drip one (plus bean ginder) most often because of its ease of use, then the espresso machine and french press when I’m feeling fancy every 4-6 months maybe. We also have mugs specific for Irish coffee, which we’ve used once for its purpose (a couple of other times for mulled wine), but I HAD to have, and will not part with, and nor will I part with all of our coffee goodness.

  19. posted by jodi on

    Leslie, where did you find a coffee maker that takes whole beans and grinds them then brews the coffee without having to manually move the grounds? I have been looking for something that does that (to unclutter my hubbys coffee paraphanalia) and finally decided I needed to invent it because i was sure they didn’t exist. PLEASE tell me where I can get one!

  20. posted by Tanya on

    I love my coffee scoop. It has a flat base for tampering. Also, it’s two tbsp, so if my regular 2 tbsp spoon is in the wash, I just you this, and vice versa. It really takes up no extra space, since it’s just thrown in with my measuring spoons. It’s one advantage over my 2T measuring spoon is that it has a super long handle. Using it as a measuring spoon as well as coffee scoop makes it a multitaserk we in my book.

  21. posted by Karyn on

    I’m not a coffee drinker, so I don’t have any coffee-related Unitaskers in MY kitchen. :-D

    …a good thing you didn’t ask about TEA related Unitaskers…

  22. posted by Cathy on

    I’m laughing…my husband is a coffee nut, and we have a variety of coffee unitaskers. Luckily, since we’re realtively uncluttered, they don’t take up much space and it’s become something for me to chuckle at when I open that cupboard.

  23. posted by Bibliovore on

    Neither my partner nor I drink coffee, but we still have some coffee paraphernalia: a plastic filter holder that rests over a coffee cup, its accompanying filters, and a tiny bag of ground coffee in the freezer, for the occasional guest who wants some. We also have a coffee scoop, but that lives in the cat-food bin because our cat gets 2tbsp of dry food at each meal.

  24. posted by Georgie on

    My espresso machine heats the water, grinds the beans AND froths the milk :P
    One coffee unitasker that I do want is a knock bin (for getting the used coffee out of the group head) because there is no easy/mess-free way to get it in the regular bin and I easily use it 3 times a day, more so if I have a day off work.

  25. posted by Georgie on

    Oh and the problem I have with pods is you’re screwed if the company decides to stop making them or goes out of business. I don’t think I’ll ever have trouble getting whole coffee beans!

  26. posted by Georgie on

    Jodi, there are heaps of fully-automatic espresso machines – DeLonghi make a lot, Saeco, etc. Not sure about drip filter if that is your preference (personally I think drip filter and percolated coffee are awful).

  27. posted by Karyl on

    http://www.organize.com/cuisipro-peanut-butter-and-jelly-spreader.html

    Above is a link for a $10 peanut butter and jelly spreader. I have to admit it is cute and I wanted it. But! It is 10 freakin dollars! And, I have a small kitchen and am alawys paring down. As soon as I saw it I thought of you. :)

  28. posted by lila on

    @ jodi

    Cuisinart makes a grinder/drip coffee maker combo. Here are a few options. I’ve seen it in-store and on sale at Canadian Tire.

    http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/8/KitchenBath/2/Appliances/CoffeeMakers/PRDOVR~0430513P/Cuisinart+Grind+%26+Brew%AE+Coffeemaker.jsp?locale=en

    http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002IASYA8/associatizer-20/

  29. posted by Sara in Brooklyn on

    I keep the coffee scoop with the coffee beans & grinder, right near where I make the coffee. I use an electric kettle in that area, so someone else (thanks, sweetie!) can make breakfast while I make coffee. Keeping the coffee scoop with coffee/grinder is well worth the tiny extra storage it takes. The measuring spoons live in a different drawer near where they’re used. We also use the Aeropress, and I measure/scoop the beans into the grinder, rather than measuring the ground beans (much less messy, but that was a bonus result). Everything but the kettle goes back into that pull-out pantry area immediately – first time in my life where counter real estate isn’t devoted to varied coffee prep paraphernalia!

  30. posted by Sharon on

    We’ve wanted a separate area for the coffee & tea paraphenalia for ages. Now we’re remodeling, and are creating the perfect spot. We call it the caffeine altar. We make coffee and/or tea several times a day, so it makes sense to have that activity, mess, and paraphernalia isolated in one corner of the kitchen.

    When it is done, it will have space for: cups, mugs, frothing pitchers, grinder (maybe two, one for decaf), tea kettle, assorted teas (I buy the compressed cakes of puerh, tea tool, teapots, travel mugs, and of course the espresso maker and knock-box. We are looking for a small strip sink like they have in restaurants and bars for rinsing things and a faucet for filling things.

  31. posted by thechunger on

    I have the exact same Nespresso model, and recently found Ethical Coffee Company that sells pods specifically for Nespresso machines on Amazon. The cost is $0.50 per capsule as opposed to $1+ per capsule from Nespresso. The quality of coffee isn’t as good, but it’s close enough that it’s breathed new life into my machine (I had stopped buying Nespresso capsules a while ago):

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B006DQZ04Q/associatizer-20/

  32. posted by LittleRedDragon on

    My Dad uses a cafetiere (I think in America this is called a french press) which I suppose could be said to be a unitasker – except that he’s found that it’s also ideal for cooking boil-in-the-bag kippers.

  33. posted by Karin on

    Oh yes. In the kitchen cupboards we have 2 sizes of French press; a stove top espresso machine; and a large plug in espresso and cappucino machine. I did get rid of an unused filter machine a while back. And what do I use? None of these. I use a drop-in re-usable filter in a cup.

    And now – now – I want to buy that Aeropress!

  34. posted by lucy1965 on

    Okay, Sharon has made me laugh (which I needed this morning: my father had cancer surgery yesterday) and I am now officially dubbing our set-up in the breakfast room “The Caffeine Altar”. Thanks, Sharon!

    (For the curious, it’s a second-hand baker’s rack with canisters on the shelves and our mugs, the sugar bowl, the Aeropress, and a Breville programmable kettle on the main work area. In the morning I bring in a small glass bowl that holds the used grounds and tea bags until I clean up, at which point they go into the compost bucket in the kitchen and everything else is put in the dishwasher.)

  35. posted by clothespin on

    For those of you who love the single serving brew coffee systems… may I suggest the Toddy cold brew system? You make a coffee concentrate with it, it keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks, and then you dilute and heat it up one cup at a time. Works great for families with only one coffee drinker in the family! It’s also much lower acid, so is great for those of us with those sorts of issues, too. Plus, the coffee just tastes great. And… only have to make a big batch once every couple of weeks, makes great iced coffee too, and no little plastic cups to put into the trash. I LOVE my Toddy…

  36. posted by WilliamB on

    @Karyl – I would make such a mess with that two-ended spreader. Whatever I spread first, would be on my clothes as soon as I switched it around.

  37. posted by Matt on

    Having reading about it, and had the pleasure of using the original Aerobie (flying ring), I had to check out the Aeropress. I received it last night, set it up quickly at work this a.m. and very shortly thereafter had my first Aeropress triple espresso! All I can say is awesome! Great espresso! Easy, quick and inexpensive!! Thanks Erin!

  38. posted by Grace on

    Way late chiming in (new to the site) but I’m with WilliamB and Tanya — I love the 2T coffee scoop (though some coffee scoops are non-standard size). No way is this a uni-tasker. It’s 1/8 cup, so great for halving a recipe that uses 1/4 cup and way easier than measuring 2 T. I use it all the time. But not for coffee because there are two of us, so we use 1/4 cup in the drip maker.

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