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Which coffee gear should you buy?

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Which coffee gear should you buy?

When setting up your coffee bar there are some standard questions in the coffee circles that we tend to ask. How many types of brewers do we need? Which types should you prioritize: immersion, drip, or espresso? What kind of accessories do you get? How many accessories are needed?

My mindset when going through and recommending what to get at each experience level is based on convenience and quality. I have tiered each “level” based on experience and coffee enthusiasm. One final note: this is based exclusively on my journey in coffee, what I added and waited on, and why.

Whether you are moving homes or setting up a new one, the basics for coffee I think you need are an electric drip coffee brewer and a burr grinder. In college, I had a press and a Keurig. Then I went to just a press and a Chemex. Today, I think it would be nice to have an electric drip brewer like a Hamilton or black and Decker just for convenience, and it will get me to like 65%-70% of what a pour-over will do.

I think a burr grinder would be a good thing to spend money on because it will stay with you. And if you are new and want to add, the burr grinder will be essential. Try as many coffees here as possible, from “espresso” blends like Café Bustelo to light and dark roast. I recommend Black Beards for a dark roast. For a medium roast, try Gevalia, or find a roaster and buy some beans.

I would add a French press and a gooseneck kettle as essential for the intermediate. If you wanted to round out here, a pour-over and an Aeropress would finish nicely. The kettle and French press are going to act in tandem. It would be best if you had both. I recommend preheating your French press before brewing to ensure the coffee retains its heat.

I would add an Immersion style of brewer like the French Press over a pour-over or espresso machine because we already have a drip brewer, and the Press will highlight different aspects of the coffee, like its oils. So, I am aiming at contrasting brewing methods to get to know the coffee when it is done differently.

Also, if you take a break from coffee or decide it is no longer your thing, you can use the press to make teas or cocktails. The kettle will also be pivotal later on if you get a manual espresso machine like the Flair, where you have to make the hot water. The pour-over and AeroPress are nice to have but not necessary.

Espresso pouring from coffee machine at cafe

Finally, once you have all this gear and presumably a filtered water source, you can start looking at an espresso machine. You will want to build infrastructure to support an espresso machine, like a table, to build a true coffee bar, syrups, and possibly a fridge for milk.

To be clear, it took me five years before I got an espresso machine. The question is, do you drink more espresso or lattes? If so, you can dispense with a fridge and syrups, and you should be OK with a manual espresso machine. Otherwise, I recommend an automatic espresso machine for ease.

These lessons were learned after five years of being a coffee nerd, either as a hobbyist or a year as a professional. Over the years, I have built up from just a Keurig and press by adding a Chemex. Now I have a Press, kettle, burr grinder, a Cemex, and an espresso machine. I tried to level out both ends for your and your family’s convenience. I would add a table for all my gear and a dedicated power source.


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