I have been given two large bags of a popular brand of coffee beans, I would like to buy a machine to use them but do not want to spend a lot of money, is a standard coffee filter machine suitable please? I have heard I might need a grinder? Many thanks
There are many ways to brew coffee, and several that are on the "inexpensive" end of the spectrum. Your tone sounds like you're not very into coffee, so to that end here are my broad recommendations in that will give you an adequate cup with minimal fuss and expense.
You'll need two basic pieces of equipment:
A grinder. You can buy an inexpensive electric rotary grinder that will be adequate for most purposes -- one example from Amazon. You can also use it for grinding spices or seeds. If you already have one, you will get some odor holdover from one grinding mission to the next, but it's probably fine if you're not very picky. 10-15 quid new, or even cheaper used from a thrift shop etc. You can even mash them up with mortar and pestle.
Some brewing mechanism. The cheapest and simplest are probably drip brew (e.g., pour-over or auto-drip), but I online a few more down below. Your options are manual pour-over (my recommendation) or auto-drip:
- Manual pour-over. My pick would be a manual pour-over coffee cone, such as this one, a plastic cone holder for like 5 quid. You put the cone over a mug, put in a paper filter, add medium-grind coffee (even as fine as the rotary grinder will give you will be okay), and slowly pour water over the top until brewed.
- Auto-drip. You can find a really cheap auto-drip machine, for instance this one from Amazon, for like 10-15 quid, or even cheaper used. Water goes in the reservoir, paper filter in the basket, add some ground coffee, press the button.
That's one solution for decent cup of coffee for as little as 15 quid all in (grinder, coffee cone, paper filters), or perhaps 25-30 for an auto-drip solution.
See also questions tagged as pour-over for how-to information.
Other inexpensive, though somewhat more fussy, preparations include...
Assuming you are looking for the cheapest overall price, you can buy a pour over brewer for just a few dollars plus the cost of the paper filters. This is often used in some fancy/kitchy coffee shops. Otherwise a cheap coffee machine does basically do the trick as long as you find one that accurately heats the water.
On the other hand if you want coffee with the oil left in(the paper filter removes the oil) a french press or percolator will be your cheapest option, or if you want to be able to do fancy "coffee shop" drinks (eg latte's, americano's, etc) then you have to bite the bullet and pay for an espresso machine, which tend to run a little more, and again you have to pay attention to the temperature that the machine runs at.
Go to a second-hand-store, consignment shop or flea market.
Buy a grinder and a coffee-maker. Or a grinder and a pour-over-filter holder, or a grinder and french-press. Depends on you, depends on what your second-hand store has in stock. Coffee-makers are dirt common at most second-hand stores, grinders a little less common but hardly rare. Or you can just buy a grinder and make Turkish-style coffee in a pot, assuming you already own a pot (of course, you can get special pots for the purpose, but you are looking for cheapest, so...)
Clean both throughly. Depending on the water in your area, this might include "find citric acid, mix some with water, and run though the coffee-maker, followed by a few pots of plain water to flush it out."
I find the commented suggestion to "sneak the beans into your local grocery store and grind them" oddly foolish - if you successfully "sneak them in" then you're more likely to get nabbed while "sneaking them out" and good luck proving you didn't steal them. Either ask if you can pay a small fee and use the grinder or buy a used grinder, and sell it when you no longer have a use for it; or find a neighbor with a grinder you can make use of, perhaps in exchange for some of the coffee.