When I started Coffee For Everyday Use, the focus and premise of everything I planned on sharing centered around giving people the tools & resources they needed in order to make coffee at home. While it’s incredibly easy to run to the local coffee shop, place an order, and be on your way, there’s something both therapeutic (and cost-effective) about not having to leave the comfort of your own home to get good quality coffee. But, making good coffee isn’t a thing of chance. It happens with conscious effort and attention as you brew. I believe that begins with choosing good equipment.
Before we get into what you’ll need to brew coffee at home, I want to make something very clear: good brewing equipment doesn’t have to come at a high cost. While most of the high-dollar options on the market truly do produce great results, if you aren’t looking to get into coffee vocationally or even as a high-level hobby, you don’t have to break the bank with your setup. As you’ll see, my goal here isn’t necessarily to point you towards what the pros have; it’s to provide you with the most cost-effective options to get you started on your coffee-making journey.
Tools For The Job
If you don’t have the tools you need to do a job, then you can’t really get the job done appropriately and effectively. So it is with making coffee in your home. At the heart of every at-home coffee corner, there lies a few main pieces of equipment: a grinder, a kettle, a scale, a timer, and a brewer. Each of these devices serves a specific purpose, and quite frankly, a necessary one as you seek to make coffee. Let’s look at their uses before we recommend anything.
It’s no secret that fresher products create fresher and more vibrant results. Choosing to grind your coffee on-demand at home over purchasing pre-ground coffee will both ensure that what you’re using to brew will be at the most optimal state and your whole bean coffee will have a longer life.
Brewing coffee requires hot water, and in order to get water up to the optimal temperature safely, you need a device designed for that purpose: the kettle. Now, while a regular stovetop tea kettle can work for some brewing methods, you don’t necessarily have great control over the water flowrate. So, the best design for brewing coffee is the gooseneck kettle. Gooseneck kettles produce a steady water flow, can be restricted by the tilt of the device, and keep water at the most desired temperature while brewing.
You can have all the best equipment, the best beans, and the best water, but when it comes to brewing great coffee, everything is for naught if you aren’t regulating each component. We regulate how much water and coffee are going into the equation by weight, which means you need a scale. Using a scale is a simple way to measure what you’re doing so that you can replicate the good actions and make notes to avoid the bad ones.
Logging data helps you reproduce results. Just like keeping track of your weights going into your brewing equation, measuring time gives you a correlation between how long or how short portions of your brewing take and the other variables at play within brewing. There’s nothing complicated about using a timer; it performs a super simple function to give you a point of reference.
While it may seem elementary to mention that you need a brewing method in order to brew coffee, it actually is the foundation of everything you do in the process. It determines how much coffee you can actually brew, what recipe you need to use, and if you need further equipment beyond the device itself.
Equipment You Can Afford
Now that we have the explanations out of the way, we get to get into the nitty-gritty of why we’re here: how can I purchase good and affordable equipment? I believe that if you budget $150 in total for your coffee set-up at home, you can get everything you need to last you for years to come. Here’s what I recommend. I’ve included links to the tools for you to add to your Amazon cart right now! All prices are accurate as of 02/18/20.
Grinder: Capresso Infinity, $72
This is the grinder with which I started my at-home coffee brewing journey. It’s fairly adjustable, allows you to have varying grind sizes within the overarching categories, and is easy to get your hands on.
Kettle: Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle, $45
Bonavita is one of the most trusted affordable brands for at-home brewing. I’ve used this variable temperature model for years and only sold mine because I received another kettle as a gift. It holds your temperature steady on the base for right around an hour and allows you to set your temperature right to the degree.
Scale: Kitchen Scale, $12
While there are many smart scales that allow you to track all portions of your brewing, if you’re not a coffee professional and/or are making less than five pour-overs a day, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a scale.
Timer: Your Phone
I didn’t really need to include this as an option, but for real: your phone serves as a great stopwatch that you don’t have to shell out any extra money to use. If you want to spend $5 on a kitchen timer, be my guest, but it’s not necessary.
Brewer: Hario V60 Bundle, $20
This one is an all-in-one bundle, which saves you even more money! It comes with the V60 conical brewer, a decanter, and filters. The V60 is one of the easiest brewing methods to use, so it’s a great first step in at-home brewing.
So, before shipping and taxes, that brings you to roughly a total of $149. Use that extra dollar to buy yourself a candy bar to treat yourself for coming in under budget. With these affordable tools, you can make good coffee at home.
Next week, we’ll continue talking about Making Coffee At Home with a continuation of this post: brewing tools that I love using. We focused solely on the reasonably priced equipment this week, but next week we’ll dive deep into the nerd-dom of coffee gear where money won’t restrict our conversation.