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It’s no secret at this point that you can brew a delicious cup of coffee right from your own home. From cold brew to espresso, manufacturers make cafe-quality products that allow you to play the role of barista. According to Kelli Rognlie, the associate director of marketing for Seattle Coffee Gear, “Proper coffee extraction is a process that is greatly improved with fresh and consistent grounds, stable heat and even distribution of water.” She tells us that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to do this, but certain products like gooseneck kettles and burr grinders can make all the difference in the world.
After speaking with Rognlie to glean expert insight into the benefits of certain coffee gear, we researched and tested numerous coffee gadgets on the market. Below are our picks for the best coffee gadgets gifts available for a wide range of needs.
Things to consider
Maintenance: When investing in a hobby like coffee, it is important to be honest with yourself about how much time you are willing to spend on it. As Rognlie tells us, “A big piece of the home-coffee puzzle is cleaning and maintenance. You really do need to read your product manuals, stay on top of cleaning your equipment, and maintain it properly with descaling and other kinds of cleaning.” If you are the more casual coffee drinker who doesn’t want to take extra time to make sure that your product stays in tip-top shape, be sure to do some research ahead of time.
Type of brewing: When making coffee, certain methods of brewing will require less money, maintenance and equipment. As Rognlie tells us, “There are a number of ways to brew affordably at home,” such as the Aeropress. However, she also notes that making something like espresso will require more of an investment to make it well. So, if you are someone who enjoys pour-over coffee, you will be able to get away with just purchasing some extra equipment like a good burr grinder and a scale.
Fellow Stagg EKG Pro Electric Kettle
Rognlie tells us that the tighter spout of a gooseneck kettle helps with pour-over coffee to aid in flow control and precision for distributing water more evenly. Fellow’s Stagg EKG Pro Electric Kettle does all of that with a handful of other features that ensure convenience and precision. While other gooseneck kettles simply heat your water to boiling, this one gives you the optionality to pick a specific temperature to within a degree Fahrenheit and half a degree Celsius on a full-color screen. I love the way it looks on my counter, and I particularly enjoy how the easy temperature adjustments have enabled me to dial in my coffee. This kettle takes convenience a step further by allowing you to choose a specific time for it to reach your ideal temperature, and an adjustable hold mode lets you keep the kettle at your ideal temperature for 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes. It also comes with WiFi to get the latest firmware updates.
Rognlie notes that while blade grinders chop your beans, resulting in inconsistent grinds, a burr grinder promotes consistency by only allowing coffee particles to pass through the chamber once they are a uniform size. This, she adds, is vital to ensuring that the water reacts with the particles in the same way to produce a consistent and delicious cup of coffee. As far as burr grinders go, I have used the Baratza Encore for over five years now and it works just as well as when I purchased it. It comes with 40-millimeter conical burrs and an ounce hopper that you simply turn to adjust between 40 different grind settings. It is easy to clean and does a good job of grinding for things like pour-over and immersion brews, but do note that it won’t go fine enough for espresso.
Best Espresso Machine
Breville Barista Express
Breville’s Barista Express is an all-in-one machine that lets you make espresso or cappuccino and more. One of the hardest things about making espresso is getting the grind right; most at home grinders can’t possibly go fine enough for a good and even extraction. This machine rectifies that with a conical burr grinder with 16 settings so that you can dial in your shot perfectly. From there, the machine extracts the shot with nine bars of pressure. And for the latte lover, it comes with a steam wand that can reach 266 degrees to produce microfilm milk for milk-based drinks. This machine has all that you need; it also comes with a tamper, milk jug, portafilter and multiple baskets.
Ember Mug: Metallic Collection
If you’ve spent a long time preparing a delicious cup of coffee, only to have to walk away for a few minutes, it can be awfully disappointing to return to a cold cup of coffee. Ember’s mug completely solves that issue and sincerely earns its spot on our list. The mug is linked to an app on your phone that allows you to specifically keep it at any temperature between 120 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. A smart LED will let you know when it has hit your desired temperature, and it has a battery life of 90 minutes with the 10-ounce option and 80 minutes with the 14-ounce option. However, it will last all day when placed on the charging coaster. I have found it to make my morning coffee even more enjoyable; there is no rush to drink it once it has reached an ideal temperature because I can keep it there as long as I want.
Best Coffee Container
Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister
By the time you have purchased and opened a bag of coffee, it has already begun losing its freshness. Oxygen in particular helps to stale the coffee beans. There are containers out there that work to prevent this, and for our money, Fellow’s Atmos Vacuum Canister does it better than the rest, while looking great. The lid on the Atmos twists back and forth to help remove air and prevent oxidation of your beans. Once you have twisted all the air out of it, a small green dot will pop up on the lid, letting you know you have created a seal. Once it’s time to make coffee, simply press a button on the top of the lid that releases the pressure. In my testing, the Atmos has done a great job of keeping my beans fresh for longer, and it also looks much more stylish and clean on my counter than a crinkled bag of coffee.
Best To-Go Mug
Fellow Carter Wide Mug
For the coffee lover who doesn’t have the time to sit and drink a cup at home, we love Fellow’s Carter Wide Mug. The inside is made of ceramic, which works to keep your drink free from the unwelcome flavors and odors that a stainless steel interior creates. It features a wide mouth that is designed to replicate drinking from an actual mug of coffee, while a thinner lip allows it to comfortably sit against your mouth. The exterior features a double wall vacuum made of stainless steel that maintains heat for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours. Additionally, we love the leakproof seal that keeps your shirt, and your belongings safe from any potential spills.
Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker
My favorite way to make pour-over coffee is Hario’s V60. The ribbed inside of the V60 helps to promote water flow while a large hole at the bottom of the brewer aids in producing flow. The fun of the V60, in my experience, is that it is adjustable by recipe, both in terms of water and coffee grounds. You can easily create whatever cup of coffee you are looking for. And it also doesn’t hurt that the affordably priced brewer has a unique and minimalist design that looks great amongst other coffee gear in your space.
Best Pod Espresso Machine
Nespresso Vertuo Pop+
For the espresso lover who doesn’t want the hobby and routine of grinding beans and tamping them, Nespresso is the way to go for a more streamlined process. We love the brand’s Vertuo Pop+ for a handful of reasons. It’s the smallest product in their Vertuo line, so it doesn’t take up much counter space, but it still provides great quality. All you have to do is put in a pod and use the one touch button to produce coffee. It also has the optionality to brew five different sizes: espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, coffee and XL. From an efficiency standpoint, it only takes 30 seconds to heat up and it powers off after two minutes to save energy. Additionally, the Vertuo compatible coffees come in 40 different styles, each of which ranges widely to accommodate different palates.
Best Coffee Brewer To Travel With
Rognlie likes Aeropress as an affordable way to make coffee, and at under $50, we really can’t argue with her. The simple design is actually quite complex, combining immersion, aeration and pressure into one device. By using a plunge system, gentle pressure forces the water through the grounds which extracts a delicious cup of coffee. In my experience, the fun of an Aeropress is that there are endless recipes that you can find by just searching online. It’s also very simple to clean. Plus, the compact piece of technology breaks down into three parts and can easily be brought with you on the go.
When it comes to brewing coffee at home, Rognlie notes that being able to accurately measure your grounds and water is highly important to succeed, which makes a scale an integral piece of your setup. Acaia’s Pearl scale is specifically designed with coffee in mind, featuring an LED screen that not only shows you weight, but also has a timer to help you follow a specific coffee recipe. If you’re a bit more advanced, you can use the screen to gauge your flow rate and make suggestions for more ideal flow rates. While it contains a lot of important technology, this scale is also particularly durable and also comes with a heat-resistant pad to keep it safe.
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