HOW TO: Make Really Good Coffee at Home
We wanted to dedicate some time to sitting down and writing out some recommendations for any who may be interested. Beyond striving to produce high quality beans, we want to help as much as we can with educating any customers who are interested in making their at-home coffee better. These are our honest recommendations, many of which we use in our own homes.
The most important functions of a kettle are ease of use, control over pouring speed (flow rate), and control of direction. This is why gooseneck kettles are the industry standard for making pour over coffee, they allow for all these things, ultimately helping to bring out all the flavors in your ground coffee to make the tastiest cup possible. The difficulty in not using a kettle like this is "uneven extraction" which means you will either under-extract (sour flavors) or over-extract (overwhelming bitter flavors)...you can also do both these things at once if the grounds are receiving uneven amounts of water.
The Nicest: $149 The Fellow Stagg EKG, Electric Pour-over Kettle
This is the best of the best, the premium standard in the industry. It has the best flow-rate, incredible temperature control, and look at it...it's beautiful.
The Best Deal: $99 Bonavita
If you're looking to enhance your pour over game, the Bonavita is your next step. With temperature control, and good flow-rate control, it is certainly good enough to make a great cup of coffee, which is why you will find these in many coffee shops.
The Bargain: $22 Chefbar Tea Kettle
This is about the cheapest price you'll find for a gooseneck kettle, especially one with good features such as a heat resistant handle, a decent capacity at 1.2 liters, and a dedicated hole at the top for a thermometer if you want to track water temperature by hand.
We believe grinders are the most important element of at-home brewing. Your grind uniformity is the biggest dictator of a good extraction (aka really tasty coffee). When looking for a grinder, consider its grind size settings (make sure it has grind size settings...some don't), make sure it can grind a large enough quantity for your at home brewing set-up, and lastly make sure it has a high quality set of burrs (the mechanism that grinds the beans). Given its significance to the process, this is the item in your at-home arsenal that we encourage you to invest in.
The Nicest: $139 Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
Every barista has an Encore at home - if you're passionate about coffee, we believe this is the grinder for you. This is a measurable step up in quality from the grinders below it in price. In terms of price vs. value, this is your best option.
The Best Deal: $50 Bodum 11750-01US Bistro Burr Coffee Grinder
The Bodum is just about the lowest price you'll get for a conical burr grinder. Having used this grinder before, we trust that it can make good coffee. Though on the smaller side, it has all features you'd want in a grinder.
On the Go, But Still Very Nice: $57 Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill
Made by one of the longest trusted brands in coffee, this option is ideal for anyone who wants to bring their coffee on the go. If you travel often and are looking for quality coffee at a good price, this is a go-to...and if you have the patience, it is just as good of an option for at-home use.
Manual Coffee Makers
If you're looking to control your whole coffee experience and seek the highest quality possible, manual coffee-making is the way to go. This is not the quickest or most convenient solution to getting coffee, but it is perfect for those with a real passion for the coffee-making process.
If you're looking for an all-in-one starter kit for making pour-over coffee, this is your solution. The V60 is an industry standard for pour over; this is an item that even the best of the best in the coffee industry turn to.
The CHEMEX is perhaps the most iconic coffee brewer because of its beautiful design and functionality. The CHEMEX is very similar to a V60 in its function, the big difference is its filter which is more heavy duty. This means there will be a slightly longer brew time, the filters are more costly, but it will provide a slightly cleaner cup of coffee. We appreciate this coffeemaker for that fact it both brews and holds your coffee. Also...if it's gonna be sitting on your counter, this one brings the curb appeal.
If you're looking for a simple pour over process, meet the Clever Coffee Dripper. This option, though technically not a pour over, will still provide pour over quality coffee due to the paper filter process. If you want to get technical, this is considered a full-immerson brew method much like a french press, but different from the french press, it processes through a filter providing a cleaner cup of coffee (aka more distinct flavor).
Automatic Coffee Makers
It can be both hard to find and expensive when looking for a convenient and tasty cup of at-home coffee. There are a few things to look for when selecting an automatic coffee solution: temperature control, quality shower head (for even extraction), and some kind of programability if that's something you're looking for.
The Nicest: $298 The Breville Precision Brewer
The Breville Precision Brewer is a top of the line automatic home brewer, SCA(Speciality Coffee Association) certified. It has adjustable and precise temperature control, 6 pre-programmed settings, excellent shower head that mimics a pour over, as well as the ability to customize your own brewing method. It comes with a thermal carafe to keep your batch of coffee hot. It also has a generous 60 oz capacity.
The Best Deal: $150 The Bonavita One-Touch Coffee Maker
It's right there in the same, this automatic coffee maker is simple. It features an optional pre-infusion and a quality shower head which both aid in an even extraction, and a thermal carafe for keeping coffee hot. This automatic home brewer also earns SCA Certification.
The Bargain: $80 Cuisinart DCC-3200
The Cuisinart is a quality coffee maker for someone who isn't too concerned with controlling their brew. It has a few nice features like scheduled brewing, a thermal carafe, small batch settings, and a couple different brewing styles ("strength control").
Having a scale to measure weight might be the most important item in your set up, without it you're flying blind. Whether it be high quality or more affordable, simply owning a scale is essential to at-home brewing. Spending more on a higher-end scale will give you faster speed and more precise accuracy. The scales listed below are specifically tailored to coffee making.
The Nicest: $150 Acaia Black Pearl Digital Scale
This is the top of the top...of the top. It is simply the best scale out there and the price reflects that. Its response time, waterproof design, and app integration puts it head and shoulders above any competition. This may be a bit overkill for a typical at-home set up, but if you're looking to get into the weeds of brewing science, this could be the scale for you.
The Best Deal: $56 Hario V60 Drip Coffee Scale and Timer
The Hario V60 Scale is the scale you'll find in all of our employee's homes. It is everything you would ever need for a home coffee set up. It's reaction time is a little slower than the Acaia Pearl, but nothing you'd notice if you hadn't used the Pearl before. It is simple in design and functionality, making it a joy to use.
The Bargain: $20 ERAVSOW Coffee Scale with Timer
For the price, the ERAVSOW is a great scale. It doesn't have the name recognition or popularity of the Hario, but if you're looking for a scale at a really good price, this does everything you'd need it to do. It will be slightly slower and less accurate than the Hario, but nothing that would hinder your brewing.
It is our joy and privilege to serve really good coffee, and we are always happy to answer your coffee-related questions to the best of our ability. Our hope is to be helpful and aid our customers, friends and family in getting the most out of the coffee we work so hard to produce. Feel free to comment below or reach out via social media or email at firstname.lastname@example.org