We all love our favorite coffee shop in town and have a soft spot for that amazing local roaster. But sometimes it’s nice to wake up in the morning and brew a high quality cup of coffee while at home, still sleepy-eyed. But, how can you make your home brew coffee go from “fine” to “AMAZING!!” What pieces of coffee brewing equipment do you need to up your caffeine game at home?
As it turns out, you don’t need a full-on coffee shop to make your dreams a reality. There are only a few coffee making supplies to stock up on before you’ll be sippin’ pretty in no time. Remember: No one’s judging your bedhead when you make delicious coffee at home!
5 must-have pieces of coffee brewing equipment
These coffee tools and equipment will put you on the right path towards delicious home-brewed coffee.
1. A coffee storage system
Coffee begins to lose its freshness as soon as its done roasting, and your beans’ arch nemeses are air, moisture, heat, and light. Unless you work through a pound of coffee beans at rapid-fire speed (i.e. two weeks or less), you want to invest in a coffee storage system beyond the bag it was purchased in. A coffee container, whether made of glass, ceramic, or non-reactive metal, can put you on the right track. More than anything, your coffee storage solution should be airtight and opaque.
Remember to keep your beans out of the fridge/freezer (moisture is bad news) and stick to cool, dry places with these coffee storage containers (countertops work great!). We use the CoffeeVac for our coffee bean storage at home, but we’ve also heard great things about the following systems, too:
- Coffee Gator Stainless Steel Container
- Airscape Coffee and Food Storage Canister, 64 oz
- Bean Envy Airtight Coffee Canister
2. A trusty kitchen scale
You can’t brew coffee at home well without the help of a scale. Coffee outcomes depend heavily on bean weight accuracy. Since beans vary in size, it’s not recommended to use a “teaspoon” of coffee per “X oz of water,” or to determine the amount of coffee to grind based on “bean count.” We’ve seen it all, but know that the easiest way to confidently brew a delicious cup of coffee on your own is to have your own digital kitchen scale. That’s why it’s one of the essential pieces of coffee brewing equipment to have at home!
We mostly brew with the Oxo Good Grips 11 Pound Stainless Steel Food Scale, which we already had for kitchen weighing. But we understand if the roughly ~$50 price point feels a little excessive to newbies. We like how accurate and user-friendly the scale is—you can even easily switch the measurements between grams and ounces. We don’t use the pull-out display function often for coffee, but it’s nice to have when we snag the scale from our coffee hutch to use for other kitchen measurements.
Other digital scales for coffee worth considering:
- The OXO 5lb Scale
- Accuweight’s 207 Digital Kitchen Multifunction Food Scale for Cooking
- InEviFit’s 13lb Digital Kitchen Scale
3. A coffee grinder, ideally burr + electric
We all know not to buy pre-ground coffee, right? RIGHT! We’d hate for your coffee to go stale at home, so we highly recommend that you keep your coffee in bean-form until right before you’re ready to brew. This will not only improve the quality of the output significantly, but also help your beans stay fresher longer. You want to buy a grinder that’s ideally electric, has size variance (you can grind at size 20 for pour overs vs. size 14 for AeroPress, for example), and is a conical burr grinder.
Why a conical burr grinder instead of an electric blade? I love David’s take on the debate between blade vs. burr coffee grinders:
“When you’re getting started in coffee making, most people make the chasm leap from buying ground coffee to grinding fresh with a blade grinder. These remain the most popular and best-selling coffee grinders, and for good reasons: they’re simple, they’re cheap, and they do the job well-enough.
But: Don’t let a coffee snob know you use a blade grinder… Snobs (like us, at times) look down their noses at blade grinders. The reason is simple: variability.” —Read more
We started out with a Burr Hand Grinder but quickly got tired of the extra elbow grease needed to grind the beans down daily. We upgraded to the Baratza Encore (full review here) last Valentine’s Day and have never looked back! Other high quality grinders to consider adding to your collection of coffee brewing supplies include:
- Capresso 560.01 Infinity Conical Burr
- Breville’s Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder
- OXO’s Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
4. A hot water kettle, preferably electric
Similar to the need for exact coffee measurements, you also want to pay close attention to the exact temperature of the water that you’re using. When looking for the perfect coffee kettle for your kitchen, make sure it checks off these boxes. 1) It’s gooseneck (this allows you to control the pour more precisely). 2) Its electric (cuts a few steps out of the water-heating process). 3) It has variable temperatures (so you can easily heat to the preferred temp to achieve an optimized extraction for a given home brew coffee method). Reason #3 is essential in our home because I love to make AeroPress (recommended water temp of 185), whereas David’s brew of choice is pour over (recommended water temp of 205).
Our Bonavita Gooseneck Electric Kettle ticks off ALL the boxes and we’re super-satisfied with having it in our coffee making supplies. Read David’s in-depth Bonavita kettle product review here. Other excellent electric coffee kettles include…
- Fellow Stagg EKG, Electric Pour-over Kettle For Coffee And Tea
- Willow & Everett Electric Gooseneck Kettle
- Aicook Pour Over Kettle with Integrated Thermometer
5. Your brew method of choice—AeroPress, Kalita Wave, Chemex, etc.
This is the fun part—it’s up to YOU to determine what coffee making supplies will result in the cup of ‘jo that makes it worth getting out of bed in morning. There are a bunch of different ways to prepare your coffee (we talk about the four easiest methods to brew coffee at home here), so we recommend a healthy effort of trial-and-error to find which tools work for you.
Pro tip: Handle all of your coffee tools and equipment with care, lest you knock over your glass Chemex after only using it twice. ;'( LEARN FROM MY ERRORS!! Hehe
Some quick links to get you going:
- Kalita Wave
- French Press by Coffee Gator
- Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker
These coffee making supplies are worth the investment!
David did a great study on the ROI of home brewing coffee, and we found that even after the upfront investment in these different pieces of coffee brewing equipment, we were able to pay it off in less than three months! We’re really happy with the set of coffee tools and equipment we’ve stocked our kitchen with (we even have a *slightly* ridiculous hutch dedicated solely to our coffee habit!).
What coffee making tools are we missing? We’re always trying to up our game, so we’d love to hear any feedback from fellow low-key coffee snobs!
Signing off + why you can trust us
Life’s too short for bad coffee. We—like you—are on a journey to better understand coffee, from crop to cup. David geeks out on the science behind it, whereas Megan simply enjoys all the tastes and feels it can give you. Together, they hope to share their new findings as their friend group’s resident low-key coffee snobs (and that all starts with having the right coffee brewing equipment at home!).