DIY Space: “Space Coffee” Brew Directions

Mission Essential Equipment--the coffee machine NEVER breaks!
Mission Essential Equipment–the coffee machine NEVER breaks!

It’s time for my own contribution to DIY Space.  Some say God was tired on the first day, then created and brewed coffee to drink so he could work the next five.  Our good fortune, then, and we humans continue working in the heavens imbibing in coffee as well.  So, yes–In Space Everyone Drinks Coffee.

Coffee is the lifeblood of any operations team and doubly so for space.  Working 24/7 operations requires alert people.  For me, though, coffee only gave me a mild pick-me-up–it’s one reason I can easily drink the quad-shot espresso brews.  If I felt sleepy during my operations shift, I would stand up and talk with my crew.  That worked for me to keep me awake.

But during the whole shift the coffee still flowed and kept most folks alert.  And yes–it would be from a machine which looks pretty much like the brewer above.  And, sadly, Folgers cigarette ash–I mean coffee grounds–were used.  So I brought my own “space coffee.”

This recipe is actually a riff off of “cold-brewed coffee,” which is quite smooth and splendid–as long as you get good beans.  My wife and I are very happy with the results.  The key to brewing it is time, and not heat.  If you plan ahead, you’ll always have coffee available.  There are special coffee cold-brewing “kits” available, but personally, they are a little tricky to clean.

Sadly, the coffee doesn’t last as long as it should in our house, because we like the dark, thick, and smooth consistency of the resulting pure coffee concentrate.  There are others who prefer to add water, but I shall overlook that heresy.  So, here you go–the space coffee brewing procedure I’ve written just for you (just don’t overlook the warnings and cautions):

***IMPORTANT:  I updated the ratio of water to coffee.  The new numbers reflect how our family REALLY likes our coffee.***

“Space Coffee” brewing procedure

Warning:  A hazard exists which could result in user injury or death.

Caution:  A hazard exists which could jeopardize user results.

Note:  Supplemental information to possibly improve user understanding and procedure results.

This procedure describes the steps for making cold-brewed “space coffee.”  Proper completion of this procedure will result in a smooth-tasting cup of coffee with almost no acidity.

12-24 hours is the needed time to complete procedure.

Required items for proper implementation this procedure are:  ground coffee beans, a coffee bean grinder (for whole coffee beans), a mason jar, clean water, a long-handled spatula, a strainer (preferably a size 6 coffee strainer), a coffee filter, a mixing bowl with pour spout, a pitcher with a lid, and a regular coffee mug.

Step 1:  Grinding the coffee

CAUTION:  Coffee beans bought in a grocery store, especially those stored “gallon-sized” plastic containers, will result in unpleasant flavors in the resulting coffee.  Any coffee roaster brand beginning with the letters Yub, Nes, Max, or Gev should be avoided for the same reason.  Dirty dishwater may be a better alternative to those brands of coffee.

NOTE:  If using whole beans, grind whole beans with coffee grinder. 

1.1. If using ground coffee beans, go to step 2.  If using whole coffee beans, continue to step 1.2.

1.2. Pour proper amount of whole beans into coffee grinder.  The proper amount is determined by the amount of coffee you wish to make.

WARNING:  Care is required when using a coffee grinder.  Coffee beans are the only ingredient required to be in the grinder.  If a user’s fingers are in grinder during the coffee grinder’s operation, the resulting coffee grounds will have salt, calcium, iron, and some hemoglobin.  The coffee, while fortified, will be, in a word:  unusable.  And the user’s fingers will be shorter. 

1.3. Use the coffee grinder and grind whole beans until coarse coffee grounds are noted.

1.4. Continue grinding whole beans, producing the proper amount of coffee grounds.

1.5. Continue to step 2.

Step 2:  Brewing the coffee

NOTE:  The proper amount of coffee grounds to water is typically 1 part coffee grounds and four parts water (however for concentrate, it’s 1 part coffee grounds to 3 or 2 parts water).  This means 1 cup of coffee grounds can be brewed with as much as four cups of water–but 2 or 3 parts water makes a more concentrated amount.  The measured amounts in this procedure are for a basic cold-brewed coffee concentrate.

2.1. Pour 1 cup of coffee grounds into mason jar.

2.2. Pour 2-3 (to your taste) cups of water into the same mason jar.

NOTE:  Stirring is optional, but helps to mix the coffee grounds and water.  Step 1.4 is the only suggested time to stir.

2.3. Thoroughly mix coffee and water in the mason jar with a spatula.

2.4. Tightly cover the mason jar.

2.5. Let the coffee sit and brew in a cool area of house for as long as 24 hours.  Brewing time can be as short as 12, but a longer brewing time yields more flavor.

Our coffee filtering setup.
Our coffee filtering setup.

Step 3:  Filtering the coffee

CAUTION:  Failure to mount strainer over mixing bowl during this procedure will result in “coffee everywhere.”  This means the user has wasted coffee and people will cry.  Good job! 

3.1. Set coffee filter in strainer.

3.2. Put the strainer over the mixing bowl.

3.3. Open mason jar full of brewed coffee.

3.4. Pour the jar’s contents into coffee filter.  The coffee should be filtering through filter and strainer into the bowl.

3.5. Once coffee is strained, remove the filter and strainer.

3.6. Throw the filter away.

3.7. Pour coffee concentrate into the pitcher.  Once all coffee concentrate is in the pitcher, put lid on the pitcher.

3.8. Store the pitcher of coffee concentrate in refrigerator when not in use.

Step 4:  Making a hot cup of coffee with coffee concentrate

NOTE:  There are many different variations for this part of the procedure due to differing user tastes in coffee.  Some coffee drinkers may find using a ratio of three parts water to one part coffee concentrate “too watery.”  Other coffee drinkers may find a one to one ratio of coffee concentrate to water just right.  There may be drinkers who enjoy the coffee concentrate with no water at all.  Milk can be used in place of water.  This part of the procedure assumes coffee drinkers may want water added.

4.1. Fill a regular mug 1/3 to 1/2 full of coffee concentrate.

4.2. Fill the rest of the mug with hot or cold water. Stir.

4.3. If temperature is satisfactory to user, go to step 4.4.  If user prefers hotter coffee, put coffee in microwave, set it on high, and set timer for 30 seconds.

4.4. Drink the tasty coffee.

For those who need video instructions, DIY Tryin has it ready to go for you below.  They are essentially doing it as this recipe describes, however:  please note Patrick describes their first try as a little weak–add more coffee grounds.




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