I get a lot off DMs and questions on Instagram asking me for suggestions on getting started with brewing coffee at home.
So I've decided to put together a simple article listing some basic equipment to get you started brewing great coffee at home,
The suggestions included here are not by any means your only options, but are meant to be a basic guide for those who have discovered and enjoy drinking specialty coffee and are looking to get into brewing at home for the first time.
There are a few key items you should invest in and I will provide a few different options for certain types of equipment to choose from depending on your budget. Additionally, every product I recommend is available via Amazon Prime which means if you made the decision to order right now, you could be making delicious coffee at home in two days from now when your items arrive. I have linked each product listed to its Amazon product page for your convenience.
Below is a key list of equipment to invest in. I will expand further upon each listed item in more detail below
-Brewing Device w/ Filters
1) Brewing Device
Perhaps the most fundamental of the items you will need to get started is a brewing device, or something to put your coffee in and brew. There are a myriad of brew devices out there, however, the one I would recommend for the first time brewer is the Hario v60.
The specific v60 device I linked above includes a glass decanter which is really great because you get a brewer and something to hold your coffee in when you brew for less than $20 currently on Amazon. The decanter includes a rubber sleeve for protection from the heat. (Device Pictured at the top of this article)
The v60 is my current favorite brew method and I don't see that changing any time soon. It can produce a phenomenal cup and when paired with the Hario Ceramic Burr Grinder, an incredibly affordable option to start with.
You can pick up 200 filters for this device for under $15 as well.
2) Burr Grinder
A solid grinder is very important for brewing at home. It is especially important that this grinder be a burr grinder, versus a blade grinder, as the burrs will offer far more consistency in the particle sizes of your grind.
Burr Grinders can be a little costly, as can all things in coffee to be honest. If you're on a real tight budget, I highly suggest the Hario Ceramic Burr Hand Grinder. This is a very affordable option for a solid grind and what's even more great about it is that it's made specifically to be used with the Hario v60 which is the recommended brewing device already mentioned above.
If you want to go electric, but are still on a tight budget, I’d recommend the Bodum Burr Grinder.
If you have some money to splurge on an electric burr grinder, I would suggest the Baratza Encore or Virtuoso. The Virtuoso performs better than the Encore (thus the higher price), but both will allow you to adjust your grind for various brew devices and coffees. This is a good investment if you intend to purchase other brewing devices down the line.
The next thing you need is a kettle, specifically a gooseneck kettle. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, you need a way to heat up water. Secondly, you want the gooseneck in order to have control when pouring the water over your coffee. The slower pour a gooseneck kettle provides will assist in allowing the coffee to extract in the ideal amount of time and provide even saturation of the coffee grounds.
I'm going to provide three recommendations here. The first two are made by Bonavita, the first of which simply runs the water to boil and shuts off automatically. This is a cheaper option to the other two, the downside however being you either will have to let the water cool blindly and guestimate what temperature it is at before you brew or you can use a thermometer to check the temp as it cools. The big downside in either case is not having the ability to set a fixed temperature. If you don't mind this downside, you can pick up this kettle here.
The second option is the Bonavita Variable-Temp Kettle. The benefit to this one in comparison to the first is in the name. This kettle has a base that allows you to pick a fixed temperature and a hold feature that will keep your water at the temperature you set for 30 minutes.
The third option is the most expensive, but also the best performing kettle of the three options listed here. The Stagg EKG by Fellow Products is the Rolls Royce of brew kettles. It features an LCD display with a dial feature to set your temp with 1200 watts of power and a 30 minute hold feature. The big added benefit is a narrower gooseneck and a counter-weight in the handle that allows for an ultra-controlled slow pour. Not to mention it's got some pretty sexy aesthetic. If you have the money to spend, I'd recommend this one by far over the other two. You will also see an option for the EKG+ which adds bluetooth connectivity and can be turned on and adjusted from your phone via the Fellow EKG app.
Fellow also makes a stove-top kettle if you're looking for something to take with you in the outdoors.
It's difficult to declare a single piece of equipment as the most important, but if I was forced to I'd probably answer with a scale. The reason I say that is a scale is going to assist you in every aspect of your brewing process. Having a scale allows you to dose your coffee so you can figure the proper brew ratio, as well as use a timer to make sure you aren't brewing your coffee too long or too short. Lastly it will allow you to track your total brew weight to maintain your pre-determined brew ratio.
The easiest and most affordable option is the Hario Scale. This scale runs on 2 AAA batteries and has a .1g degree of accuracy. It also features a timer to use when brewing and an auto-off feature after 5 minutes without use.
The higher-end option which is pretty much the standard for cafes around the world is the Acaia Pearl Scale. The Pearl features bluetooth connectivity to the Acaia Coffee app which allows you to use pre-made recipes for various brewing devices as well as create your own recipes. It also has an internal battery that is rechargeable via USB. It also includes a weigh and timer feature which is displayed on the scale as well as in the App if opened.
I have two Pearl scales myself that I use daily and I only have to charge them every two to three months, It is also highly recommended that you use the heatpad that is included as it will protect your device and ensure it maintains its accuracy as heat will compromise the internals of the scale over time.
Now you just need coffee...
I trust if you're looking to start brewing you have that part down. If you don't happen to have a local specialty coffee shop around you, or you're looking to try some new things, I recommend picking up some coffee from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters, Blue Bottle, or Verve to get started. All three have consistently fantastic offerings and will ship to your home in just a few days, fresh off of roast.
Once you have these things you are set. The next part is learning to brew your coffee. I will be releasing some brewing guides (including video) in the future. For now, you can search the web, or reach out to me via the contact link at the top of the page or on Instagram if you need further help.