How to make brewing coffee easier

Making coffee is a morning ritual that people who have good vision simply take for granted. However, people who have lost some vision can find that everyday task very challenging. Everything from filling the coffee carafe to starting the coffee brewer can be difficult.

Almost all coffee carafes are made of glass. Water in a glass container is basically invisible for a low vision patient. It is very easy to fill the carafe with too much or too little water which will ruin the pot of coffee. We have a number of suggestions to make filling the carafe with the correct amount of water. Usually people make the same amount of coffee every day so they would use the same amount of water in the coffee pot reservoir.  We mark the glass carafe with a high contrast tactile marking at the water level that our patient usually would use to pour into the reservoir.  That way a patient would have an easier time to see at what level to stop filling the carafe with water. Another, almost foolproof, strategy is to use a separate container that only holds the right amount of water to be used to brew the coffee. We tell a patient to fill that container in the sink and then simply pour the water right from the container into the coffee pot reservoir. That way no guessing whether there is too much or too little water.

Finding a tiny button to turn the coffee maker on is often a problem. We apply a high contrast button to the “start” button. Most of our patients can both see and feel the button making it much easier to turn the coffee maker on. With some patients we make diagrams to help orient them to the right location of the “start” button on their coffee maker.

With some simple strategies, a person with low vision can once again make coffee as easily as a person with good vision. Making coffee should not be a mission impossible but, instead, an everyday task that many people do every day.