A list of my personal coffee gear – a long answer to What type of coffee you like?
Being able to brew a decent cuppa joe at home is more essential than ever, in times without access to my company's professional WMF coffee machines – about 7.5k€ if you buy them, a little out of my price range, and see the note on cleaning further below. 🏡 🍵 😋
Let's start with a simple list of my gear, including current prices (from amazon.de).
|Aerobie AeroPress A80||29€|
|Accessory: Fellow Prismo||29€|
|Kettle: Uarter 2000W||42€|
|Coffee Grinder: Graef CM 800||111€|
The mentioned prices should give you a hint whether you want to go down this specific rabbit hole. Keep in mind that people spend a whole lot of money on their hobbies, or coffee-2-go for that matter – so just regard drinking a decent cup as your hobby, then it's all normal and not snobbish at all. 😀
Finding the brand of coffee you like is all up to you – taste is subjective by nature, and that also includes milk and sweeteners.
However, there are a few guiding principles: get it as fresh(ly roasted) as possible, get whole beans, grind them right before brewing your cup, and get 100% Arabica only (cheap coffee is of the Robusta variant, or a blend). Spoiled coffee beans are uneven in shape and color, and are brittle with a lot of crumbling – avoid. One kg of non-specialty coffee beans will go for around 15€ in Germany, and a little more for fair-trade brands.
The AeroPress is hailed by many as the way for brewing single cups of coffee. It is certainly cheaper and way more sanitary than the usual fully automatic coffee machines for end-consumers, which normally develop a nice population of mildew and other gunk in their insides, unless you religiously clean them every day. For the AeroPress, you need 15 seconds of rinsing under running water.
I evolved to the AeroPress via several simple electric coffee makers, an espresso machine, a fully automatic coffee maker, back to the simple things with various french presses, to finally settle on what I use now.
As for dosage, I typically go for 25 g coffee per cup of about 400 ml beverage. With the AeroPress, you get a pretty concentrated brew, but adding more hot water after filling the cup gets you to your preferred strength. And there's a lot of other variables involved: dark or light roast, grind size, water temperature, extraction time. You have to experiment in the beginning to get to your personal favorite recipe.
Because volumetric measurement definitely torpedoes repeatability of recipes, and extraction time is quite important, you also need these two things (possibly also as scales with an integrated timer):
You'll also find plenty of videos on the net showing you how to use an AeroPress, including all the variants and special recipes people came up with.
The Fellow Prismo is an accessory to replace the original filter holder, featuring a pressure-sensitive valve and including a stainless steel filter. Using it you can make espresso-style coffee with the AeroPress, but I got mine because it is a way to use the so-called ‘inverted’ style of AeroPress recipes, without the involved hazard of juggling hot brown water around.
Using a good grinder is just as essential as using good coffee. You can ruin great coffee with a bad grinder, e.g. one that produces particle sizes from dust to grainy, all at the same time. And no grinder on this world can make stale or spoiled coffee beans any good.
I have the CM 80 as shown above, but the available model is the CM 800 featured in the list at the top.
If you get no workout otherwise, a very good manual burr grinder is also an option. 💪
I replaced my plain old steel kettle by a glass one with temperature control (in 5°C steps) and a few other gimmicks. I really like the glass, especially when filling it – no narrow gauges you can only see from one specific angle, or similar things.
I never was a friend of coffee shops and their inherent waste of resources and, well, money. I rather invest that money and some time to drink my first coffee at home, or take it with me in a steel vacuum bottle or cup. Working for a company offering great free coffee helps too.
I can also recommend watching James Hoffmann on YouTube. Yes, he is a “coffee professional” (i.e. a barista by trade), but his tips are still quite grounded and useful for mere mortals, like a recent test of water filters. He's also a funny guy, watch his tests of various coffee drinks for a good laugh.
Photo credits: Adafruit Industries [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]