There are three different kinds of coffee drinkers. Some people who hate the taste but down it because they need the energy boost. Others mostly like when it’s flavored. Some people don’t seem to have much of a preference. Lastly, you get the lovers – from the knowledgeable enthusiast/hobbyist to the self-proclaimed connoisseur.
If you find yourself floating toward the lover spectrum, here are some devices bound to up your coffee experience (and catch the attention of your visitors). And perhaps you already own some of these.
A manual coffee grinder
A bag of ground coffee will lose its flavor faster than a bag of whole beans. This is because grounds are more “open” to oxidation and air moisture. For maximum freshness, consider getting a grinder. A manual one may be more wallet and environmentally friendly.
The kind of grinder you purchase will depend on your needs. Say that you’re choosing between two grinders. One of them may be more portable and great for travelling but lack grind settings. The other may not be as travel friendly but have more grind settings, thus making it better for your kitchen or break-room.
Regardless of which you pick, however, you will end up with freshly ground coffee. And you might just find satisfaction in how the grinding sounds resemble the coconut “horses” from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail, which is always great!
Exercise your arms and demonstrate to your friends the strife and accomplishment that comes with grinding fresh whole coffee beans yourself.
An airtight storage container specifically for coffee beans
Unless you intend to grind and brew the entire bag of whole-bean coffee, you’ll want to snugly protect those babies from humidity, direct sunlight, and the air itself. Not to mention that grinding your entire back kind of kills the whole point of buying your coffee in whole bean form. Consider designs with lids that out any excess air. If your clumsiness worries you or you need extra durability, opt for a stainless steel container instead of a glass one.
Finally, be careful with measurement specifications. Just because your coffee beans weigh 10 ounces doesn’t mean that they can fit a container advertised to be 10 fluid ounces! So just remember to keep in mind the size of your coffee bean bag and the size of the container when deciding what to buy.
A pour over with dripper stand
While a dripper stand isn’t required when using a pour-over, it could really elevate your aesthetic game! Watch the coffee brew and travel into your cup. Making pour-over coffee requires practice, steady hands, and your full attention (so you don’t use too much water and flood your coffee cup). But once you master it, it’ll be like the Keurig experience without the non-recyclable pods, electricity, and fancy water filter maintenance.
Just be sure that the size of the dripper stand accommodates your pour-over. Check the product descriptions and and your pour-over for measurements and specific brands.
A french press
French presses allow the coffee grounds and water to mingle together throughout the whole of the brewing process (as opposed to the filter-as-it-travels-down mechanism of pour-overs and coffee machines). The simple set-up resembles a tea pot. And yes, you can also use french presses to steep tea!
You choosing coffee prepared by a french press instead of a pour-over indicates a preference for bolder flavor. Maybe you’re a creative who likes adding things to your steeping coffee grounds for innovative flavor combos. It’s also probably no surprise that you are okay with some fine bits of coffee ground in your cup.
Generally when using french presses, you’ll need to monitor brewing progress to avoid over-steeping the coffee. You’ll also have to do a bit more to clean everything out. On the upside, this method pretty affordable and requires no electricity.
The vacuum-siphon coffee maker
This brewing method is probably the most extreme one on the list! The siphon coffee maker combines the bold-flavor-steeping action of a french-press and the smooth, filter-down of a pour-over in an almost-magic physics spectacle. The tight-vacuum seal allows the vapor created by heating to push the water from a bottom chamber into the upper chamber containing the coffee grounds. And once the steeping process is complete, you’ll enjoy watching the perfect cup of coffee drain back down into the bottom chamber after shutting off the heat.
A lot of units use a Bunsen or alcohol burner. It isn’t unusual for this fancy device’s prices to fall somewhere near or within the hundreds. If you’re interested in a less intimidating price and set-up, consider a stove-top coffee siphon. As the name suggests, it doesn’t require a special burner. It’s more affordable and falls in the $50-$60 range, depending on the size and filter accessories you end up buying.
At the end of the day, there isn’t one ‘right way’ to make great coffee. Outside the brewing set-up, there are so many things that make coffee enjoyable. These things can even go beyond the energy boost and taste of a good cup. When you share a drink with others, there are also the conversations, energized ideas, shared silences and aromatic bliss. Integrated into your life, brewing coffee can easily become a morning ritual that gently wakes your senses and an awesome learning process.