If you’re suddenly working from home full time and cut off from your favorite cafe during the pandemic, it can feel daunting (but essential) to solve how to make coffee at home. Lucky for you, most items can be easily bought and shipped online (Thanks Amazon), and though you might experience some shipping delays, you’ll be set up for making your coffee at home in no time.
Read on to learn how to brew coffee at home during the COVID-19 pandemic for beginners.
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Still support your local coffee shops!
If and whenever possible, we still recommend that you find ways to support your favorite local cafes and coffee shops. This could look a lot of different ways—You can buy gift cards for future spending, gift a loved one freshly roasted bean delivery, buy your own beans via delivery or pick up, pop by for a quick take our cortado, or more.
While we definitely make most of our coffee at home (the economics work in its favor), we still value coffee shops for so many reasons that simply cannot be replicated with a home brew station. A sense of community, a meeting place, a change of scenery—not to mention access to more state of the art equipment ( 👋Victoria Arduino espresso machines 👋) and the general pleasantries of supporting family-owned businesses in your town.
Get out there (safely, six feet away and such…) and support your local coffee shops!
What you need to know about making coffee at home
It is possible to brew coffeeshop quality coffee—and sometimes even better coffee—at home. You’ll just need to stock your kitchen with the right equipment (more on this below) and be prepared for a learning curve (don’t worry, it’s not that steep).
While you can just as easily use a Keurig machine or another basic coffee maker to get your at-home coffee fix, we recommend more hands-on//involved strategies for making coffee. The steps might seem arduous at first, but we’ve all got at least *some* extra time on our hands, right?
The key to making amazing coffee at home is precision. And lucky for you (and me!), there is affordable coffee equipment out there to do just that.
6 essential pieces of equipment to make coffee at home during COVID-19
Since coffee is a must-have and you have time to invest in new ways of making it, here’s our at-home coffee kit recommendations for first-timers.
1. A Digital Kitchen Scale
We’re big fans of digital kitchen scales for just about everything. Not only does it make baking and portion control a helluva lot easier, it makes brewing coffee at home during the pandemic easier, too.
Without measuring exact amounts of beans, it is pretty hard to make a GREAT cup of coffee at home. Eye-balling and guessing is for the birds. Buy an electric scale that can switch between ounces and grams and ideally measures in decimals, not fractions.
Pro tip: Get an electric scale with a pull out display. It comes in handy, particularly when you’re adding yummy ingredients to giant mixing bowls.
Recommended electric scales:
- OXO 1130800 Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale (Or the glass version, here) $$
- Hario VST-2000B V60 Drip Coffee Scale (This is our go-to for coffee-only measurements) $$
2. A Coffee Grinder
No settling for electric blade grinders. It’s time you invest in either a hand burr grinder (takes more effort and elbow grease, but works great and is very portable—for future camping trips or travels!) OR upgrade to an electric burr grinder.
Electric burr grinders will cost you more up front, but they will allow you to master brewing lots of different coffees at home (French Press, Aeropress, espresso, etc.). Thanks to the precision in its grind and the ease of switching between different grind sizes, an electric burr grinder can make your coffee making at home a more convenient experience. We talk more about the importance of variability when grinding coffee beans at home here.
Remember: Using fresh ground coffee is always worth the extra effort and will more closely replicate your coffeeshop experience at home.
Recommended coffee grinders:
- Baratza Encore (Read our in-depth product review) $$$
- JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder with Adjustable Setting $$
- Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill – “Skerton” $$
3. An Electric Kettle
The next essential tool for making bomb coffee at home during COVID-19 is a hot water kettle. To be more precise in both your ability to pour water consistently and to heat water to ideal temps for different coffee extraction methods, we have to recommend that you only consider electric, gooseneck kettles.
Why don’t we recommend a standard kettle that you can always (and simply) bring to a boil? Well, for example… In our house, I (Meg) love to drink AeroPress coffee, which requires a recommended water temp of 185 degrees—not quite boiling. David, on the other hand, drinks a pour over coffee almost every day, which requires a hotter 205 water temp.
Our electric kettle makes the process of switching between brew methods uber easy, beyond the benefits the elongated gooseneck spout provides in steadying the water flow.
Recommended electric kettles:
- Bonavita Gooseneck Electric Kettle (Read our in-depth product review here) $$
- Fellow Stagg EKG, Electric Pour-over Kettle For Coffee And Tea $$$
- Willow & Everett Electric Gooseneck Kettle $$
- OXO BREW Adjustable Temperature Electric Pour-Over Kettle $$$
4. A Way to Actually Brew Your Coffee
We love trying and testing new ways to make coffee at home (that was why we started this website in the first place!), but have come to prefer a couple brew methods more than others. You can view my more in-depth analysis of the easiest at-home coffee brew methods here, but here’s the TL;DR version, in order from most-fussy to least-fussy:
- Kalita Wave
- French Press
- An Electric Coffee Machine (We love our Bonavita 8c)
You might also level up your skills by learning how to brew a Chemex or cold brew. Seize the opportunity to learn a new brew method with your increased time at home. Once you’ve got the hang of the few steps, you’ll be rocking your morning coffee routine in less than 10 minutes, easy.
Here’s a handy chart we use in our house because I personally haven’t memorized numbers since we all had land lines in the ’90s…
Don’t forget to buy coffee filters for your coffee brewing at home, too!
5. A Mug That Makes You Happy
It might not be *100% essential* to your coffee tasting as good as a fresh pour from your favorite local haunt, but there’s something special about enjoying the vehicle as much as the contents. Especially during the pandemic, we need to find joy in small and simple ways, so we absolutely recommend that you drink your home-brewed coffee from a mug you love.
You can bet that we’ll be drinking ours from our fave double-walled mugs, but every now-and-then, we switch it up and drink from our Foxlee wedding favor mugs just for fun, too. 😊
The final piece of the brewing-coffee-at-home puzzle is…. the coffee itself! You can buy lots of different coffees online or in your grocery store, or you might use this time to support those local roasters by purchasing freshly roasted beans straight from their shops.
For those new to buying beans, we recommend light roasts whenever possible so that you can better taste the flavor nuances. We also generally love single-origin roasts that are natural, versus wet, processed whenever possible.
Making coffee at home isn’t rocket science 💘
With the right combination of tools and time, you can become the master of home brewing coffee during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coffee clinks to all—stay safe and sanitized out there!