Last week, we began a series on making coffee at home. In this series, we’ll cover everything from equipment to brewing guides, products to consider to products to avoid. Our goal in this series is to provide you with resources on how to make the most of your coffee making while at home, especially since written posts and media typically sticks with you (based on most research at least).
In our last post, we primarily looked at the tools you needed, specifically how you can get great equipment for under $150. This week, however, we’re throwing caution (and the budget) to the wind. While the products we discussed and recommended in the last post are more than enough to produce high-quality coffee, there are some of you (like me) who want the latest, most updated pieces of equipment that very well could be on display in the MoMA next season.
Coffee nerds and professionals alike tend to keep up with both the consumer and commercial sides of the industry. Websites like Sprudge, Daily Coffee News, and Perfect Daily Grind provide articles and blurbs about the different products hitting the market that all claim to change the game for coffee making. Specifically, on the consumer-focused end of the spectrum, it seems like once a month I hear about a new product that needs to be on your at-home coffee bar.
Let’s revisit the main tools you’ll need to brew coffee at home: the grinder, the kettle, the scale, the timer, and the brewer. Each performs a basic function and serves a mostly singular purpose, but with feature additions and internal upgrades, you can get café-quality equipment without having to shell out café-level cash.
I geek out over good brewing equipment. If it can save me time, provide consistency, and looks cool, then count me in. So, naturally, I keep a log of what pieces I want to add to my arsenal, even if it takes a couple of months or longer to save up for it.
There are two main grinders that I can’t get enough of: the Baratza Encore, and the Fellow Ode.
This is the grinder I currently own and absolutely love. It’s such a workhorse. It produces a consistent grind size time after time and can handle brew after brew. It’s easy to clean, take apart, and put back together again in a short amount of time.
While these bad boys aren’t the cheapest, they’re certainly the most affordable of their class. Baratza has become synonymous with quality and durability, and after working on multiple different models of theirs, I can totally agree with that statement. Having 40 settings and still coming in under $200 makes it an easy choice if you’re looking to upgrade!
Now, let me first say this: I haven’t used one of these. No one except for the insiders has used this since it’s officially releasing in July. But, this still piques my interest based solely on what it advertises it will do. Fellow Products is no stranger to having museum-worthy releases, and this grinder is no exception.
Coming in at $300, it won’t be cheap. It’s not for the casual home barista, and also not for the home barista looking for an espresso grinder. Fellow advertises this bad boy purely for filter coffee and has modeled it after the café-standard Mahlkönig EK43. With vertically-aligned burrs (AKA the coffee has more of a chance to be ground into uniform particles), it’s one of the only consumer grinders coming onto the market that boasts the precision of commercial grinders.
If you’re looking for a powerful, sleek, and controllable kettle for your at-home set-up, the Fellow Stagg EKG is your new best friend.
I mean, just look at this thing. The angles, the symmetry, and the overall aesthetics are unmatched. The base has three main buttons/controls: a dial that controls temperature, a hold switch, and a Celcius/Fahrenheit toggle. It has a 1200W power current, meaning that it heats up lightning-fast.
I’ve never had a more consistent flow rate than what I get in this kettle. With the gooseneck being slightly higher on this kettle than others and with a flow restrictor, it makes for smooth operation with any brew method.
If you want even more control, the Stagg EKG+ provides connectivity with other products and applications. (More on that in a second)
Part of the brewing process means collecting and recording data, which comes as a result of scales and timers. There are dozens of scales on the market that boast how great they are, how their features are superior to others, and how in-depth you can go through connected apps. This scale, however, tops them all (in my opinion).
Now becoming industry-standard on both espresso and brew bars across the world, Acaia products have taken the café by storm within the past few years. Their smart scales connect to apps that record brews, measure flow rates, and connect to other products. They released the second model of their popular Pearl scale, which is geared towards filter coffee use.
This is where the Stagg EKG+ comes in. With their innovative Brewmaster and Brewguide apps, Acaia allows users to connect via Bluetooth the EKG+, the Pearl Model S, and the Baratza Sette 270wi for a seamless data-collection experience. So basically, you can record weight, temperature, grind size, and time, compiling it into one “brewprint” (what they’re calling the brewing recipe you follow) to save for future use.
Being one of the least expensive pieces of the puzzle, the actual brewer is still pretty key. It determines how you employ your variables appropriately. If you want to step up your brewing game, this is the next move for sure.
Best known for its porcelain and mugs, notNeutral knows how to create a gorgeous product. The Gino is a flat-bottom dripper, which requires a little more attention when you’re brewing. The result is a clean, clear, and bold cup that has marked sweetness and brightness. The possibilities are endless with the Gino; you can experiment with different pour patterns, brew ratios, grind sizes, and brew times to change the flavor profile completely.
The Gino is also the perfect centerpiece for any modern coffee bar. The glass design with its tapered walls fits right in with the other pieces of equipment listed above.
Coffee gear this beautiful is worth geeking out, gracing the Insta-feeds of the well-known coffee influencers and personalities across the industry. As you continue in your coffee journey and strive to go deeper, I hope this helps you see what’s out there for you if/when you want to upgrade your equipment.
Come back next week as we dive into the science of brewing, now that we’ve solidified our equipment. Happy brewing!