What to Buy
How to Set Up the Best Home Coffee Station
Whether you prefer your caffeine as a shot, poured over, or brewed cold.
Few things can bring an immediate flash of joy to your day like a good cup of coffee. It may sound a bit dramatic, but whether you’re savoring a DIY pour, a barista’s seasonal special, or a reliable drip from the deli down the block, those first couple of sips have the potential to turn your day around. Coffee gets us through those long days when caffeine feels like a necessity, and plays a central role in how we connect with others (who doesn’t love a good coffee date?). And with a few of the right tools, it’s totally doable to brew a great-tasting cup from the comfort of your kitchen.
If you’re a coffee drinker but aren’t sure where to start when it comes to making your favorite drinks, we’ve got you covered. We scoured countless customer reviews, compared different brands, models, and methods, and talked with a few coffee experts to set you up with everything you need to create your own coffee station at home.
If you prefer to buy whole coffee beans instead of pre-ground portions, you’ll want to make sure you have the right grinder. “The grind is the most important part,” Cody Westbrook, a barista in Brooklyn says.
There are three main types of grinders: blade, burr, and manual. Blade grinders are exactly what they sound like; they chop up the beans with a spinning metal blade that sits at the bottom of the container. Manual grinders are operated by hand-spinning a crank and the grind is determined by how long you spin it. Burr grinders—which can come with either flat grinder wheels or conical grinder wheels—work by crushing the beans against a static surface with the grinder’s wheel. They also typically have multiple settings, which allow you to choose the appropriate coarseness for the drink you’re making or the machine you’re using. “Burr grinders are better than blade grinders in every way,” Westbrook says. “Blades chop the beans up, burrs keep [the grounds] all the same size.”
If you’re unsure of the kind of grind you need for a specific drink or the machine you’re using, he breaks it down by category:
For espresso: You want a very fine grind. It should feel like a powder.
For a pour over: You want it to be less fine than espresso. You should be able to somewhat see the individual pieces of the grounds.
For drip: You want this even less fine than pour overs. The bean particles should be obvious and visible.
For French press or cold brew: The grounds should be extremely course. The particles will look kind of like flakes.
5 Grinders Reviewers Swear By
1. Baratza Encore Burr Electric Coffee Grinder,
Having received a love letter from The New York Times earlier this year and no less than four stars across multiple retailers, this Baratza burr coffee grinder is an easy choice for anyone looking for a quality coffee grinder. Even better? It’s on sale.
2. Hario Coffee Bean Hand Grinder, $65
If you’re more interested in a manual grinder, try this hand-spun option from Hario. Designed similarly to a pepper mill, you can control the grind by the length of your spins. Also, if you like to bring your coffee beans on vacation, it’s small enough to easily fit into any carry-on.
3. Fellow Ode Brew Coffee Grinder,
If you’re looking to splurge on a top-tier grinder, Fellow’s Ode grinder is known for bringing cafe-quality grounds to your kitchen. A burr-style grinder, it has 31 settings and a guide on the lid to help you get the perfect grind every time.
4. Baratza Sette 270 Grinder,
If you primarily drink espresso and want to stop going to the coffee shop every morning, this might be a worthy investment. With three programmable grind doses, it’ll perfectly measure out the right amount of grounds so no beans are wasted or missed. You’ll be making your own cortado in no time.
5. Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale, $299.99
Another one with an integrated scale and multiple grind settings, OXO’s conical burr grinder makes getting a perfectly measured and uniform grind easier than you’d think.
Now that you’ve got your beans sorted, you might be wondering what kind of brewing device or machine is right for you. Are you more fit for a moka pot or a French press? Should you go for a big pot of drip coffee or do you lean towards a single-serve pour over?
What it really boils down to is the kind of coffee drinker you are. If you’re someone who enjoys making specialty drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, or flat whites, it makes sense to invest in a machine that’ll let you pull shots of espresso and a good milk frother. If you prefer a straightforward large batch of black coffee, a traditional drip coffee machine is probably more your speed. If you’re someone who enjoys slow mornings and doesn’t mind waiting for things to steep, a French press or a pour over is perhaps your bread and butter.
“Early into the pandemic, when most places were still closed, I was complaining to my girlfriend about missing espresso and she bought me a moka pot,” David Potters, a writer and former barista in Queens, says. “I had varying degrees of success with it and honestly found it to be very temperamental. If I was going to do an at-home set now it’d be a pour over.”
To help make this decision a little easier, we’ve rounded up a handful of our favorites espresso makers (both stovetop and electric), pour over setups, cold brew carafes, coffee pots, French presses, and accessories that’ll help you get the cup you want without leaving your home.
For When You Want a Shot (of Espresso)
6. Bialetti Mini Express Moka Set, $49
My roommate is a big at-home espresso maker and a compact -cup moka pot is her go-to device. Not only does a pot like this Bialetti Mini Express take up minimal space in the kitchen, it also allows for a quick two-shot pour for anyone who wants to make two drinks at once (or who needs more than one espresso shot to get their mornings going).
7. Stainless Steel Moka Pot, $45.95
This classic moka pot is larger than the Bialetti Mini but operates in a similar fashion. Just fill the bottom chamber with water, add fine grounds to the middle chamber, set it on the stove, and wait for the top to be filled with hot, freshly brewed espresso.
8. Wacaco Portable Espresso Maker, $129.90
This portable espresso maker (dubbed the “Picopress”) is ideal for anyone who is often on the go. It works with manual hand pressure—meaning no batteries or chargers are needed and the essential part of the process is operated by you, not a machine. Just dial in the correct grind size and tamping, and practice your espresso pull (typically 20 to 25 seconds in, when the color of the espresso changes from a deep brown to blonde).
9. Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, $749.95
If you want a cafe-quality espresso machine, Breville has an option that’ll cost you less than the professional-grade Italian machine you’ve most likely seen at your local coffee shop. With a built-in grinder, this machine will take you from the whole bean to a freshly brewed pour in under a minute. It also has an attached milk frother and a stainless-steel milk pitcher so you can practice your latte art.
10. SMEG Automatic Espresso Machine, $849.95+
If you want something powerful and sleek, SMEG’s matte white automatic espresso machine might check your boxes. Including six pre-programmed beverages (espresso, light espresso, coffee, long coffee, ristretto, and light ristretto), all you’ll need to do is load your beans, choose your drink, and press the button.
For When You Want a Classic Drip
11. ZWILLING 12-Cup Drip Coffee Maker, $199.99
This 12-cup drip coffee maker from ZWILLING includes a stainless-steel boiler that’s highly resistant to water corrosion, features a warming function that’ll keep your pot warm for up to 30 minutes, and a cleaning alert that notifies you when it’s time to descale the maker. No wonder it has a five-star rating.
12. OXO 8-Cup Coffee Maker, $199.99
If you don’t need 12 cups, try this smaller-scale coffee maker from OXO. If you’re brewing a full pot, the double-walled and vacuum-insulated carafe will keep it hot between refills. Additionally, if you’re looking to brew a single-cup pour, it has you covered, too. Just flip the well cover to elevate shorter mugs or remove it to make space for taller mugs.
13. Breville Precision Brewer Coffee Maker, $299.95
This impressive pot from Breville includes multiple filter options and six different brewing modes. Don’t know what kind of pour you’re in the mood for? You’ve got options from cold brew to strong.
14. Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup Drip Machine, $189.99
Known for making a full carafe in about six minutes, this Bonavita 8-cup drip machine is ideal for anyone looking for a simple appliance they can rely on.
15. Technivorm Moccamaster 10-Cup Coffee Maker, $359+
One of the most highly rated coffee makers on the market, this machine from Technivorm brings a barista-level brew to your kitchen in just four to six minutes. Are you someone who needs more time to get through a pot? Try their [coffee maker that comes with an insulated carafe] (https://food52.com/shop/products/7703-technivorm-moccamaster-10-cup-coffee-maker-with-insulated-carafe) instead.
For When You Want Your Coffee Iced
16. Hario Cold Brew Coffee Bottle, $34
Cold brew is my ideal way to consume coffee—not only is it easier for when you’re on the go (no more accidental burns from hot coffee jumping out from your lid), but the brewing method also allows for a bolder flavor and extra-bitter bite. Just drop your freshly ground beans into the mesh pocket in this wine-bottle-shaped coffee carafe, add water, and let it brew for eight hours.
17. Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $24.99
If you’d prefer to have a variety of size options for your cold brew, Takeya’s comes in both one- and two-quart options. The fine-mesh coffee filter keeps the grounds from slipping through and settling at the bottom of the glass and the air-tight lid will keep the batch fresh for up to two weeks.
18. OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $51.99
If you have a day to spare for brewing, try OXO’s countertop cold brew coffee maker. Fill the brewing container with your grounds, pour water over the perforated lid, give it a good stir, and let it sit out at room temperature for up to 24 hours (but no less than 12). Once enough time has passed, press the switch and let the fresh cold brew fill the glass carafe that you can pop into the fridge. Have limited space? Try the compact version.
For When You Want to Practice Patience
19. Fellow Clara French Press, $99+
A member of the Fellow coffee product family, this insulated 24-ounce French press has built-in ratio guides, enhanced filtration mesh to avoid grit buildup, and an all-directional lid that allows you to pour without having to line up the spout first.
20. Bodum Chambord French Press,
If you’re looking for something efficient and a little easier on the wallet, try this reliable French press from Bodum. With nearly five stars and over 16,000 reviews, it’s a classic piece you know you can depend on.
21. Palmpress Collapsible Coffee Press, $49
This palm-sized version of a traditional French press is a fantastic option for anyone who’s always moving and trying to cut down on their plastic usage. Fill it the same way you would any other French press (add your grounds and water) and then place it on top of your favorite mug and manually press down, pushing the brew into your cup. It truly couldn’t be easier.
22. Hario V60 Pour Over Dripper, $25+
If you like the almost ritualistic process of the pour over, this dripper from Hario is for you. Just place your paper filter inside the dripper, add your grounds, pour boiling water, and wait.
23. Fellow Staff Pour-Over Set, $99
If you’d like to make bigger batches of pour over, Fellow’s set hits the mark. Including a 20-ounce glass carafe (that’s roughly two cups of coffee) and 30 paper filters, you’ll be ready to enjoy a freshly poured pot in minutes.
For Help Perfecting Your Pour
24. Hand-Held Milk Frother, $9.99
If you’re a fan of foam but don’t want the fuss of a fancy steamer or frother, try this small, yet powerful, hand-held milk frother.
25. Hot & Cold Milk Frother, $51.95
Are you a fan of both hot and cold foam topping off your drinks? You might need this frother from Gefu. Just add hot or cold milk to the glass container, place the lid on top, and use the handheld pump to start spinning. You’ll have a jar of ready-to-pour foam in minutes.
26. ZWILLING Digital Kitchen Scale, $49.99
If you’re grinding your own beans and don’t have a machine with a built-in scale, it’s a good idea to keep a kitchen scale handy. “Every roast is a different weight and grind, which impacts the scoop size,” Westbrook says. “A good rule of thumb for a 12-ounce cup is to stick with two tablespoons for drip coffee or 30 grams for pour over.”
27. Apace Living Coffee Scoop Set, $14.99
You might be thinking, Can’t I just use a standard spoon to scoop my beans? You’re right. There’s nothing wrong with using the nearest spoon to scoop beans from the container, but having a designated two-tablespoon scoop helps eliminate any guesswork if you don’t have a scale on hand.
28. Fellow Gooseneck Pour Over Kettle, $165+
If you’re making your cups pour-over style you’ll need a good kettle with a precise spout to help. This electric goose-neck kettle from Fellow has everything you need for a detailed pour, including a knob that allows you to set the water temperature.
29. Opaque Airtight Coffee Storage Containers, $28+
Whether you prefer to grind your beans in batches, buy pre-ground coffee, or want to keep your beans as fresh as possible, these airtight storage containers will help you do just that. (So long, stale coffee beans.)
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