Last Updated on March 9, 2021 by Angie
When it comes to coffee products, there is a seemingly endless variety of gadgets and gizmos out there. From different coffee makers and brewers to accessories there really is no end to what you can purchase. Sometimes it can be overwhelming sorting through what's truly necessary to brew a great cup of coffee and what products are just gimmicks. That's where we can help!
For those who are only looking for the essentials, there are three main products you need to go along with any specific brewing implement. They are simply the following: a kettle, a scale, and a grinder.
In this guide, we are going to dive down more into why that is.
Why Are These Three Coffee Products Important?
As we have mentioned several times on this site, our general theory for coffee brewing is that it is a balance of five main principles. That is to say, for any given bean and brewing method, coffee brewing is a balance between the roast level, grind size, water temperature, ratio of coffee to water, and contact time.
For this particular guide, the important principles we are going to discuss today are bolded above and highlighted red in the above graphic.
Sure, you can go to a grocery store, buy ground coffee, roughly measure it out, add hot water, and brew it with most methods readily available. Odds are good it won't taste that great and it most certainly will not be repeatable. And if there is one goal we have for you in reading this site, it is to ultimately get better-tasting coffee that is repeatable.
While a modest upfront cost, purchasing these three products will do wonders in improving your coffee brewing experience at home.
Control Your Brewing Temperature with a Kettle
A good kettle does more than simply allow you to pour hot water over coffee grounds. A good kettle lets you control your water temperature to within one degree Fahrenheit. This level of control opens up a whole new world in coffee brewing as you can target different brewing temperatures to specific bean types and roasts. As the same coffee can taste quite different if brewed with water temperatures varying by just a few degrees, an electric kettle with precise temperature control is ideal for coffee brewing.
We personally use and recommend a Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle.
Manage Coffee to Water Ratios with a Scale
As brewing coffee is a solid-liquid extraction process, what we are ultimately controlling is the release of dissolved solids into our water. Besides just tasting “strong” or “weak,” not getting the extraction right can result in unpleasant sour (under-extracted) or bitter (over-extracted) flavors. One way to ensure you're in the sweet spot of extraction is to control your coffee-to-water ratio, and this is done via measuring the mass of both on a simple kitchen scale. There is only one way to know you have 30g of coffee and 300g of water for a pourover, and that is to measure the mass of both coffee and water every time.
We personally use and recommend an Escali Primo Kitchen Scale.
Grind Your Coffee Uniformly with a Burr Grinder
The final product you absolutely need for your home coffee bar is a good burr grinder. This grinder style uses two abrasive plates set a fixed distance apart (wider for coarse grinds, narrower for fine grinds) which allows for a uniform and consistent grind for every bean. The more consistent your grind size is, the more uniform extraction will be, and the more you can fine-tune a recipe based on water temperature and contact time. Without a consistent grind size, well, everything else will be for nothing!
We personally use and recommend the Capresso 565 Infinity Burr Grinder.
Immediately Improve Your Coffee Brewing Experience
With a kettle, scale, and burr grinder you will already be well on your way to making better coffee by controlling your water temperature, coffee-to-water ratio, and grind size.
But what about all of the different coffee brewing gadgets? You may be wondering if you should buy a pourover, French Press, Aeropress, or something else. We get it. There are a lot of coffee devices out there. Before deciding which brewing implement is right for you, take a step back: if you want to make the best cup of coffee using any brewing method, you will most certainly need a kettle, a scale, and a grinder.
Do yourself a favor and pick them up today.