Good coffee tastes amazing, can be a great comfort, and is fun and easy to make well with the right tools. Coffee is also good for you, having been shown to make you smarter, help you lose weight, keep you alive longer and kickstart your exercise routine. Today we're going to knock down coffee's barrier to entry by telling you exactly which gear you need to get your hands on for a great brew.
Keurigs don't make good coffee, and certainly don't help the environment, and hitting up Starbucks every day definitely isn't helping out your wallet. Beyond just having better coffee, there's a lot of money to be saved in brewing it yourself.
If you're inspired by our recommendations and enthusiasm and want to learn more, Lifehacker has a stellar and comprehensive guide to everything coffee.
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If you're coming into this article uninitiated and decaffeinated, then you might be balking at the cost of these grinders. I've been there. It's expensive, and intuition is telling you that you can just grab a junk grinder and save your cash for a great coffee machine. It turns out the grind is actually the most important part of the coffee making process. You can make great coffee with a cheap machine, but nothing will save you from a bad grind. Here's a great resource for what your grind should look like. The Virtuoso is also Gizmodo's recommendation (and everyone else's).
You can get by and save money by picking up a manual grinder instead, which is also a good portable option, but how long are you really going to want to put in that extra effort? We will however take the opportunity to recommend this Bodum Bistro Grinder as our portable choice. Gizmodo is also a fan.
- Bodum Bistro Grinder | $35
You don't need this attractive, ridiculously convenient electric kettle, but once it's on your kitchen counter you'll wish you had picked it up years ago. It's actually intended for tea (and brilliant for that task), but the single button press operation will work perfectly for the zero effort achievement of your desired coffee temperature. Maintains heat for 30 minutes and shuts off automatically so you don't burn the place down. Also Gizmodo's recommendation.
The Manual Method
Aerobie AeroPress | $26
The AeroPress costs $26, is easily the most idiot proof (and arguably the best) way to make coffee, is the #1 bestseller in coffee presses on Amazon and has its own Amazon store, took 24% of the reader vote on Lifehacker, and has been consistently recommended by Lifehacker, Gizmodo, and countless other publications. Hell, there's a world AeroPress championship. As an added bonus, it's also the best way to make coffee while traveling, and you can even use it to make iced coffee.
I can't recommend enough that you also pick up the Able Fine Disk Filter. It's ridiculous that this filter is more than half the price of the AeroPress itself, but it's a buy once have forever purchase, and I hate paper filters.
Lifehacker suggests you also pick up the Brew Control app for your iDevice if you're serious about getting those coffee to water ratios and your AeroPress timing exactly right. Gotta start training for that championship.
- Brew Control [iOS] | $2
The Automatic Method
When the Bodum Bistro won Gizmodo's Best Automatic Coffeemaker Battlemodo it retailed for around $100 more than it does now. That was a barrier to entry that knocked it off many a radar in favor of the competing Bonavita model that goes for between $130-$170, depending on whether you get the thermal carafe (you should). Now the Bodum is available for slightly cheaper than the Bonavita, thermal carafe in tow.
Temperature and water distribution are where auto drips all fail, but the Bodum has no trouble jumping both those hurdles. Water is run through borosilicate glass and sprayed out shower head style, the filter is permanent and easily washable, the carafe keeps your coffee hot for hours with no electric heating element, it's a fun machine to watch do its thing, and it will probably be the most attractive gadget in your kitchen. It's thoughtfully, beautifully designed, and makes 1.2 liters of great coffee.
Upgrade? Is the Technivorm Moccamaster better than either of these machines? Maybe. It also starts at $300 and you're going to have pay up for a better model to get something you like looking at.
- Technivorm Moccamaster | $300
We're going to be adding a lot more about beans in the future, and we're really excited to get your opinions in that department, but for now I'm going to recommend you get out there and try as many varieties as possible, because while some beans are definitely better than others, taste is a subjective thing. Tonx and MistoBox are two subscription services that deliver fresh beans right to your door.
You can put a price on great coffee, but not peace of mind. The Zojirushi Travel Mug will protect the (potentially) thousands of dollars worth of electronics in your bag from total destruction by your beverage. It's minimal and minimalist, and will keep its contents hot (or cold) for an insane amount of time. Also Lifehacker's recommendation.
If you're planning to strive toward the ideal cup, you're going to have to get precise, and you're going to need a scale for that, and this is the best one.
- Lots more about beans
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