More reasons to own a cast iron skillet

If you’ve read my book Family Feasts for $75 a Week (did you see it in Redbook? shout out!) you already know I’m a huge fan of the cast iron skillet.  I’ve got two, and I’m always delighted to find more ways to use them.

  • Here’s a recipe for Quick Skillet Granola that does just that.  Who’d have thought you could have homemade granola in less than 10 minutes?
  • Also, today at I’ll show you how to roast coffee beans in a cast iron skillet on the barbecue grill!  That’s my youngest daughter holding handfuls of yummy coffee goodness in this picture.

If you’d like to try some of this yummy coffee, comment below and tell me about the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had.   On Friday morning, I’ll pick one commenter to receive a genuine ziplock bag of Ethiopia-grown, Owlhaven-roasted coffee.   Make sure you use a valid email address to comment so I can contact you if you’re the winner.

OK, ready?   Best coffee:  where, when, what, and why was it so awesome?


    1. J. Johnson says:

      The best cup of coffee I’ve had was at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA. It was a freshly brewed cup of Blueberry Crumble, with just the right amount of cream and sugar added. Perfect!

    2. Anytime I get a cup of Starbuck’s early in the morning at the airport when I’m going on a trip is the best cup of coffee ever!!

    3. My memory of the best cup of coffee was at a bed n breakfast in NC on a “get away” trip with my husband. They had wonderful food and dessert. The company of my hubby and a tasty cup of warm coffee in the mountains on a snowy day….perfect!!

    4. Believe it or not, I think the best coffee is around a campfire, early in the morning with friends or just the hubs, bundled up in a sweatshirt and jeans, watching the fog slowly lift, seeing deer darting across, being at peace. Yeah, that’s my kind of coffee.

      (And by the way, the bacon sizzling in the cast iron frying pan lends a lot to that ambiance!)

    5. Nat Alea from OK says:

      I love German coffee and living there for 9 years it was awesome to get a fresh brewed cup. They grind their coffee super fine so it is such a smooth taste.

    6. I think the best cup I’ve had has been at a local coffee shop in the town where I live called The Mill. I used to go there a lot in college, but not so much now that I have 2 little ones under the age of 3!

    7. Best cup of true coffee? It has to be at home. Coffee always tastes best when sipped while taking a moment to myself in comfy clothes.
      When I go out, I rarely order coffee and if I do, I like those gas station cappuccinos that come from a powdered mix. My husband calls them Red-neck-a-chinos. Ha ha!

    8. Incidentally, (And I am not trying to get entered twice; if this one wins you can pick a different one) I saw a study once that they** swapped out the aluminum pots for the folks in an African village and gave them cast iron to use instead. The result was a significant reduction in anemia! I can’t remember where I saw that study but I have never forgotten it.

      **Whoever “they” are…

    9. The best cup of coffee I ever had was at a café in San Francisco. They served Illy, and whether it was the Illy beans or the location I’ll never forget that amazing stuff.

    10. The best cup of coffee I ever had was in Kampala Uganda. We had been there for a little over four weeks, drinking instant (YUCK!) coffee. Between homesickness, real sickness, and adoption stress I wanted a REAL cup of coffee so bad. We happened upon a coffee shop that had real cream and real fresh brewed coffee. It was hands down the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.

    11. Cafe Au Lait from Cafe DuMonde in New Orleans with lots of sugar with a beneiget. So good!

    12. The best cups of coffee I ever had were in Ethiopia. We were blessed with two coffee ceremonies. Nothing like fresh roasted coffee in the birthplace of coffee.

    13. The best cup of coffee I had was on a camping trip with my husband. We went to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks in early June one year. It was our first trip together and we didn’t know that early June is usually pretty cold that high in the mountains. There was actually snow in one of our campsites and we were sleeping in a tent! We usually drank instant coffee in the mornings but after the coldest night (I think it was around 30 degrees) I couldn’t stand that coffee anymore. We hopped in the car and traveled around the park until we could find some fresh brewed. When we found it we just stood in the shop drinking in the warmth. Although it was cold it was a fun adventure and I’ll always love the memories from that trip.

    14. i lived in manila, the philippines for a year and we had a starbucks within walking distance. every time we went in, it was a little “taste” of home. and, usually the best coffee (or coffee drink) i’d had 😉

    15. Oh wow. The best cup of coffee I’ve ever had might be a toss up. It is either the first cup my husband brewed for me our first morning at home after our honeymoon. We were just sitting and relaxing and enjoying a roommate-free life and being married. Or it is the first cup he and our daughter “made together” the first morning after we returned from the hospital. And now I’m tearing up with thankfulness for the amazing man God blessed me to have as my husband. At any rate, coffee is one of his favorite things in life. He makes a delicious cup of coffee whether it’s in our home, over a campfire or at one of our family member’s homes. It helps that the first cup of coffee generally arrives with a kiss. 🙂

    16. I would say starbucks because it is a special treat. Not only because it’s a splurge but the closest one is an hour away!

    17. Lacey Wilcox says:

      So I just recently had a precious baby girl about 2 weeks ago. After going nine months without coffee, I was OVERJOYED to have a cup of coffee. The hospital’s coffeeshop was closed that evening, but first thing the next morning, my sweet, sweet husband surprised me with a snickers latte: it was absolutely DELICIOUS!!! 🙂

    18. Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco. I don’t even LIKE coffee and yet we drank it like water our whole trip. Yum yum yum.

    19. My favorite is a Stumptown Coffee, roasted in Portland (have you tried it Mary?). Since I have the luxury of living in such a coffee-crazy area, I am spoiled with “the perfect cup” just about every day. I make Stumptown at home in my coffeemaker. But, there is nothing like a latte that is expertly made, with a nice, strong espresso and a tight, velvety layer of foam. With those lattes, you don’t even need a sweetener, because the sweetness of the milk it brought out so finely.

      I think I enjoy/ appreciate coffee the most on the rare occassions when I have to make a road-trip early, early in the morning, on the road, with a simple, strong latte at my side. Or, coffee paired with dessert with friends. 😀

      Am I a little obsessed? 😀

    20. I personally don’t drink coffee but my husband loves rich dark roasts!

    21. I was 15, and in Rome. I was on a school trip to Florence and we took a train to Rome on Ash Wednesday for an audience with the Pope (John Paul II, I got blessed by a cardinal!). Then there was a train strike, and we were stuck in Rome. Imagine 50 teenaged girls all tired and hungry. I had the tiniest expresso. It was amazing.

    22. Tina Lowry says:

      I love my cast iron skillet, too. Just the fact that it can go from stove to oven thrills me beyond measure. I had never thought about roasting my own coffee before. I’m going to give it a try.

    23. Not being a coffee drinker, I say this on behalf on my husband.

      Any cup of coffee I can get my wife to share with me is a great cup of coffee!

    24. Without a doubt the best cup of coffee I ever had was right after my first child was born. I had never really been a fan of coffee, but after being in labor with my daughter for 15+ hours and finally giving birth close to midnight, I awoke in the morning with a voracious appetite. I wolfed down the pancakes, bacon, and orange juice, and then much to my surprise, I raised that hospital brewed cup of joe to my lips, and it was good! I’ve been hooked ever since!

    25. My brother-in-law sold coffee for a little place that roasted their own beans. So any time I made a cup of that coffee, it the best.

    26. Best cup of coffee I ever had well I thought it was my starbucks coffee, I live pumpkin spice…but then the other day my daughter made me a cup of coffee with some chocolate coffee, not sure the flavor…I had purchased it for hubby and my daughter made a pot on our first school day to help wake us up…best cup I had had all year!

    27. Michele Hiatt says:

      My favorite coffee is from Starbucks, but since we live in the country the closest is an hour away so it does not happen often. My husband says the best coffee he had is in Ethiopia when he went to pick up our boys.

    28. My best coffee was an espresso in Venice, Italy. My hubby had to go there for a business trip and since we were planning to start a family soon, figured this was our only chance for a long time for me to go to. I flew out to meet him so we could have a little vacation. After flying all night, he met me at the airport and took me to an espresso shop so I could have a true Italian espresso. It was amazing and we just can’t find the same thing here. Maybe it had more to do with being in Italy than the taste of the coffee!

    29. Jennie Cunningham says:

      The best? Cafe con leche in Spain 9 years ago with my husband. Yum! The fresh roasted coffee in Ethiopia 2 years ago when we brought home our now 6 and 3 yr olds was pretty good too, but I was feeling too icky to really enjoy it.
      Have you tried using a hot air popcorn popper to roast?

    30. For real, the BEST cup of coffee I have ever had was the first one I had in an authentic coffee ceremony in Ethiopia when we travelled to pick up our daughter. I am not just saying that b/c you posted about ET coffee, there is just no comparison to that coffee ceremony coffee….mmmmmm 🙂

    31. Best coffee? That’s a lot of pressure. I drink a LOT of coffee. How about I tell you about the first time I had fresh Ethiopian coffee, given me by an Ethiopian woman living in Senegal that I met at a women’s retreat. I let her stay with me in Mauritania for Thanksgiving and she gave me a kilo of the best Ethiopian coffee I’ve ever had. Mmmm. It was heavenly. Could yours be as good? 😉

    32. My favorite coffee comes from the Guatemala. We buy it from the local farmers just outside the city, but they brew their own the best! To sit in their huts/house and have coffee made in a little tin kettle over a fire, with the grounds and sugar…yumm

    33. The best cup of coffee that I ever had was on the way home from a sleepless sleep study with my then 3 year old daughter! It was the best because it kept me awake, and since it was in a drive-through, let her sleep. As our family grows, we notice that our cofee maker keeps growing too!

    34. Deb in Indiana says:

      The best cup of coffee I ever had was purchased with a donut and a t-shirt at the camp store on top of Pike’s Peak in December.