Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday encore ~ And it only took 16 years to figure this out

It's been almost a year since I finally uncovered the secret to making a good cup of coffee in New Mexico. I wrote about this life-changing discovery in two posts last summer, which I've combined for this encore.

I love my morning coffee. My day does not begin officially until I've had an entire pot. But here's the rub – the coffee I make has always tasted pretty bad compared to that you will find in other kitchens, and it's never hot enough. I've tried different coffee makers, different coffee beans, different coffee cups, now I even make it with bottled water. Still, my coffee never makes the grade. It's drinkable, it kick-starts my day, but it doesn't ever make me smile and say, "ahhhh, now that's a great cup of coffee."

I was bemoaning my coffee conundrum one recent morning while on vacation, as I sat at the breakfast table sipping the perfect cup of steaming hot java, fresh from a bottom-of-the-line Mr. Coffee maker. "Why doesn't my coffee ever taste this good or get this hot?" I whined. After much deliberation by a group of knowledgable adults, we decided to blame the altitude. The altitude?

The 7MSN sits over a mile above sea level - 6,253 feet to be exact. Water boils at a lower temperature up here, hence the water inside my coffee maker never reaches the proper temperature for making the perfect cup of coffee...or something like that. Clearly, science was never my best subject or I might have figured this out 16 years ago when I moved to Albuquerque (altitude 5,280 feet).

So what's a high-altitude-living rancher-woman to do? Google "high altitude coffee maker," that's what. And lo and behold, there really is such a thing! Have I mentioned lately how much I love the internet? In fact, Bunn makes several high-altitude models. Who knew and why didn't they tell me? Just when I thought life couldn't get any better, now I'll be able to get a decent cup of coffee around here. It won't be like having a Starbucks on the will be better.

The long-anticipated moment of truth

Seems like whenever I have to head out to pick up a critically important package, it rains, the dirt road turns to slop, and the trip turns into a minor adventure. I suppose this is nature's way of making me appreciate that which I am about to receive.

Smooch faithfully accompanies me on these package pick-up trips. She gets just as excited as I do about big brown boxes.

But no trip is so important that we can't pause for a moment to share our news with our neighbors.

We're on the way to the post office! The package is here!

Leave it to a blasé bovine to burst my bubble.

Smooch's excitement turns to caution when she realizes the package is bigger than she is.

I have been awaiting this delivery for 19 days, but really for 16 years...since I moved to New Mexico...where the altitude is high and the coffee is bad.

The moment of truth occurred at 6:00 this morning. In a side-by-side taste test where I pitted my $35 Mr. Coffee against the $100 Bunn GRX-B High-Altitude brewer, the results are in...

The new machine is worth every penny. The coffee comes out the perfect temperature and tastes like ... well, like coffee! Stop on by for a cup if you're ever in the neighborhood.


  1. I love my coffee and love my Bunn, just like yours but not the high altitude one. It took me years to invest in a Bunn and I could kick myself for not having gotten it earlier ... my husband says coffee runs in my veins! LOL

  2. What a coincidence, I was just reading this post last night! As far as the coffee maker and altitude go, who knew?

    I can hardly believe it's July 31st already!

  3. I'm happy you found the perfect coffee maker, 7MSN. I swear I learn something new every day...and I'm 70! Personally, I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't have my morning coffee. Bottoms up!

  4. I'll be darned! Wonder if it would help here too. I am in Amarillo (about 3700 ft). I just love my Mr Coffee. The other coffee makers I have had pour so badly. How is the Bunn for not slopping? My husband needs one that pours well too.

  5. The high desert - we had the same issue in El Paso with cakes - had to use those high altitude directions.

    Glad the coffee is good, I'll be by in October. :)

  6. Glad you found the perfect coffee maker! Yes, how interesting!

  7. I remember this post. I also know that a sucky cup of coffee is just not worth drinking. So glad you finally got it figured out!

  8. I'm so glad you solved your coffee problem! That new machine sure looks nice. So does this mean you'll be up blogging even earlier? :)

  9. Wow I never knew there was such a thing, but we are not high altitude, and mostly our coffee tastes different depending onthe water.

  10. Sarah Morgan7/31/10, 9:58 AM

    At 7.500 ft my tea isn't quite the same but on the bright side I never burn my tongue:-) I love the ice chest in the back seat along side your package. The ice chest is a requirement when we go shopping in the "big city" of Santa Fe.

    - Sarah Morgan

  11. Who knew? I'm not a coffee drinker - never learned to like the stuff - but if I were, I'd want it hot and tasty. I'm glad you've had a year of enjoyment!

    Maybe I should start drinking tea when I get up for a jolt of wakefulness?!!!

    Nancy in Iowa

  12. I am so happy you are now able to have a perfect cup of coffee. My three sons gave me a Keurig coffee make for Mother's Day and since then my coffee as been perfect. I had an issue with coffee that starts to taste stale after an hour or so. I too am unable to start my day with at laest three cups of coffee.

  13. I would have never thought to even google high altitude coffee maker.....brilliant. There are some things that are just worth the money!

    on a different note.....I made Hungry Rancher chicken tonight :) mmmmmmmmmmm! I used chicken breast tenders instead and I use scissors to just cut them up into the pan! And my husband is a rice snob so won't eat instant rice....however I would. Thanks for sharing that recipe!

  14. PS: love the new header: both the photo and the layout......

  15. I like the changed photo on your heading or whatever it is called! That's the photo I saw on PW's site that lead me to your site 6 days ago...... Beautiful!

  16. Tina from Tillamook7/31/10, 10:05 PM

    Love the encore post of your coffee maker woes. So glad you found a great solution!
    Woke up this morning to a coffee maker that DID NOT WORK!!!
    We are 15 miles from the nearest town - thank goodness for a french press pot...OK, when all else fails.
    Made me realize how much we appreciate that really GOOD cup in the morning!!

  17. We're at 4000 ft. -- does that qualify as high altitude I wonder?
    By the way, I have a print of that pic on your coffee mugs hanging in house! Actually, I have several others of hers, too. Love her style.