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Hurricane Irene Knocks Out Coffee Prep – What To Do?

September 09, 2011

Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc on the East coast two weeks ago, causing problems for coffee drinkers. The under-reported story deals with how some folks were forced to undergo caffeine withdrawal during the power outages. Reporter Tracy Beckerman was one of those, writing about her predicament in her local New York state paper. Tracy recalls how her family had planned for an emergency by stocking up on bottled water, six ice-filled coolers to preserve the food from the fridge, and a multitude of batteries. However, she neglected to consider the coffee maker, of which she had a grand total of ten! “Hey, some women buy shoes. I buy coffee makers”, she writes. It wasn’t until the actual power outage occurred that she realized not one of them was non-electric – they all required a working power outlet, without which they just looked nice, but were worthless. Even with ten pots, she lacked a French press. Not being an instant coffee drinker, Beckerman couldn’t even make that substitute. With the roads blocked by trees, she remained coffee-less until the next day, when thankfully power was restored and she was able to brew her large pot. She didn’t say whether or not she would get a French press to have on hand for the next emergency. She had stated that before the outage, eleven coffee makers was a little over the top. Why would a French press have saved her from coffee withdrawal during a power outage? If she’d had a gas burner or even an alcohol burner, she could have heated water for the press and enjoyed good coffee. What she didn’t consider, however, is that she still could have made an iced coffee. Any glass jar can be filled with water, ice and coffee grounds. After the grounds steep for a few hours, most any kind of filter will work to strain them out, or, without a filter, one can just pour the brewed coffee from the top, being careful to keep the grounds on the bottom of the jar. Even though cold brew might not have appealed to her during the storm, at least it would have provided some kind of coffee. Better than a French press in a power outage is a tabletop brewer which works with an alcohol burner and makes coffee anywhere without hot water or electricity. Brew on, powerlessly!






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