The Coffee Bar Is Open

I admit it. Rhonda and I have a serious Starbucks problem. Our gold cards are both on automatic reload, and I think our monthly coffee bill is probably second only to our slip fees. Once you’re used to quality coffee, it’s hard to ever again be satisfied with a can of Folgers. Every morning, Eagle Too is filled with the sweet aroma of freshly prepared lattes. And while we may live on a boat, we don’t care to give up all of our little shoreside luxuries. Even when out on the water sitting peacefully at anchor, it’s a morning ritual to fire up our little Honda generator (we call her Jennie) and set the coffee brewing.

One of the things I love about the layout of the Hunter 376 is this perfectly positioned alcove in the center of the galley. It’s just the right size to hold the equipment for our personal coffee bar.


When we first moved onboard, we brought our old coffee and espresso maker from home. It fit nicely in the available space. But while it did the job, it suffered from a major flaw that rendered it unsuitable for a Life On The Hook™—it had a lot of glass. We knew it was not a matter of if, but when one or both of the carafes got tossed across the cabin and smashed.

A lot of thought and much comparison shopping with tape measure in hand went into the selection of our new brewing equipment. First, it had to fit in the available space. Next, we wanted no glass. Better to go with a coffee maker that has a steel thermal carafe. Not only is it more rugged, but it also keeps the coffee hot for a couple of hours after brewing without spoiling the flavor the way reheating it does. We also wanted a real 15 bar pump-driven espresso maker. They’re quicker and use less power than the cheaper steam driven machines. That means less runtime on Jennie.

In the end, we settled on the Bonavita 5 cup coffee maker, and the DeLonghi ECP3220 espresso machine. With its pre-infusion mode, the Bonavita really pulls out all the flavor of custom roast coffee. Several times a week I treat myself to a pot of 100% Kona that we order from Hawaii, and trust me, this machine turns it into caffeine-laced nectar. The five cup size seems perfect for our purposes, but if you drink a lot of coffee and have the additional room, they also make an 8 cup model. The DeLonghi pumps out a rich double shot with beautiful crema less than 90 seconds after I turn it on. It’s also a cinch to clean, something I can’t really say about our trusty old Krupps machine.

Best of all, with a little shopping, we were able to purchase both for less that $250 total. We found the best deal on the Bonavita through Amazon. We found the DeLonghi at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and it appears to be a special model that’s only sold there. You can find the similar ECP3420 model at multiple outlets, but it’s $30 more for a little more stainless steel trim. Functionally, though, they’re the same machine. I was willing to forgo the extra piece of shiny metal for the $30 savings.

Yes, quality coffee is one of the things that keeps the crew of Eagle Too in good spirits and at peak performance. I can’t wait until later this year when we should be idling in the Rio Dulce with ready access to freshly roasted Columbian and Costa Rican beans for the Eagle Too Coffee Bar. Mmmmmmm…. 🙂

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