Tag Archives: cooking

how to survive: making coffee without the fancy machine

how to survive: making coffee without the fancy machine


a few weeks ago a very kind person from home sent me a nice fresh bag of “Haitian Blue” from noble coffee, along with small filters. when discussing my request for coffee a few weeks ago, i vaguely remember thinking i could probably rig something up to make this all work.

this is a brief look into the finagling that NC and i do in our attempts to experience some level of what feels “normal” and/or familiar to us.

step one: boil water on the gas stove. i use filtered drinking water but as its being boiled, tap water could work I suppose, but with the hardness of our water i thought it might cause a funny-tasting end result.

step two: get a tea strainer, small coffee filter, and a good course-ground coffee. open filter and sit in tea strainer. spoon two heaping tablespoonfuls of coffee (or your usual coffee/cup ratio preference, personally i like strong, rich coffee). place the prepared strainer over one of two cups soon to hold brewed coffee.

step three: when water is at a rolling boil, turn flame down to low just to keep the water hot. especially if using a pathetically thin, heat-conducting tin sauce pan like me and most other Indian house holds seem to use for tea.


good quality coffee, filter, and tea strainer over pathetically thin tin saucepan

step four: use ladle to spoon hot water over strainer into glass.

step five: repeat step four, rotating between two glasses with each new ladle of water of coffee. this may be especially important for the first few passes through your grounds as they will likely be the strongest.

step six: toward the end of the brewing it seems to get more difficult for liquid to filter through the coffee so, as my impatience got the best of me, i stirred/scraped the grounds in the filter. I don’t know if this actually made it go faster but it gave me something to do while waiting for my coffee.

step seven: pour in desired amount of milk and enjoy.

–main point of making this western-style coffee vs. Indian: DO NOT add heaps of sugar. one teaspoon per cup is permissible, only if completely necessary. more than that and you may as well just go buy a Coke and warm it up because you’ll miss the whole point of using quality coffee 🙂


sunset orange…

sunset orange…

…that is the theme color of our new home.

our official move-in happened on the 6th of June and we spent the first week sitting on the bare floor asking each other what we were going to do, what we should eat, and making lists of things to buy.

that first week we didn’t even have a gas connection despite the presence of the stove, so we ate out, ordered in, and lived like college students again for a few days.

slowly we got everything in place, got a 12kg gas cylinder, gave-in and bought a refrigerator (in hopes of selling it when we leave), had beds and basic kitchen supplies lent to us by some generous colleagues, and found a few nearby shops for everything else we could possibly need for a small, Indian apartment.

now that we generally have the things we need, life has been fairly routine and unexciting as we typically come back from work and lay around trying to resolve the constant question of what we should cook and whether or not we need to walk all the way to the grocery store first. this is typically followed by NC’s adventurous and creative cooking, leaving me the task of washing dishes and countertops. not that i’m complaining! i’m more than happy to clean (most of the time) if someone else does the mentally taxing task of deciding what and how to cook.


this is from the front-door, our living area consists of two cotton mattresses arranged as a sitting area. you can see the kitchen in the back, and the open door is my room. just around the corner of the orange wall to the right is NC’s room.


an enlargement of our very nice kitchen. though this will seem very small to those Americans in the audience, it’s actually quite spacious by Indian standards, and I consider us lucky that it’s so open and breathable with room for the refrigerator!



my room!! small, but more than enough for me w/ a window and a nice shelving unit for all my STUFF (below)!


…and that concludes the brief tour of my new place. when i get the chance (and remember), i’ll try to post some photos of the outside. for now, this is your window into my very Indian life 🙂