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My husband drinks coffee, and I prefer green tea. I’m not taking any moral or health-related high road here; I simply lost my craving for coffee* a few years back after a nasty bout with the flu, and it never returned.

That said, if I find myself in a place with wonderful coffee (Seattle! Miami! Anywhere in Italy!), I will happily drink it, and spend the rest of the day feeling extremely alert. I never pass up a Vietnamese iced coffee—the smoothest rocket fuel in the world—and on a morning at the Cafecito Bogotá, in Greenpoint (aka “Greenpernt”), Brooklyn, it would be wrong to order anything else with a tortilla colorado or a supremely satisfying chángua bogatana, basically, a breakfast chowder with poached eggs.

If there were an outpost of the Cafecito on our corner, in fact, the problem of replacing our counter-top drip coffeemaker, which recently bit the dust, would have solved itself. But no.

We thought about getting one of those pod coffeemakers like the Keurig. They are wildly popular (no fuss, no muss), but when we had the chance to use one for a week, the novelty soon wore off. The machine took up precious kitchen real estate—our outdated Krups was dinky by comparison. And even though it is blessedly idiot-proof, “I feel like I’m living in a hotel,” said Sam. He missed the ritual of grinding fresh coffee beans. I missed the most aromatic alarm clock ever.

Oh, and one of those single servings disappears far too quickly, for it turns out that almost everything I said earlier about my coffee consumption was a big fat lie.

I’m a coffee cadger.

I’m not interested in having my own. What I love is when Sam offers me a taste of his, made with just enough good milk from the Ronnybrook stand at the Union Square Greenmarket and just the tiniest amount of sugar, which the Food Police will be marking with a skull and crossbones—again—any day now. The oversized cup he uses looks like it’s meant for sharing, and I return to it off and on (“like a bird feeder,” interjects Sam, not unkindly), until I walk out the door.

A cafetière, or French press, was the obvious solution, but still we hesitated. Sam is a leisurely coffee drinker, and those glass beakers cool off fairly quickly.

How did we ever live without the internet? I stumbled upon Bodum’s Columbia Thermal Coffee Press (about $78 at and ordered one immediately. It is brilliant. Made of double-walled stainless steel, this French press makes delicious coffee and keeps it really hot for a good hour, and drinkable for a while after that—a boon for anyone who likes to linger over toast and a (real) newspaper in the morning. Comfortingly low-tech and energy efficient, it’s also sleek, stylish, and easy to stow away after breakfast in a tiny apartment kitchen.


*I’m not kidding. The cartoon below, given to me by a dear friend and which I still find hilarious, has been a fixture on various bulletin boards and refrigerators in my life since the late ’70s.


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