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Welcome to My Coffee Nook

Welcome to My Coffee Nook

Posted on March 11 2021, By: Andrew Scott

With this post, I'd thought I'd share what equipment I use to make my own coffee on a daily basis.  I'm not going to do a full-scale product review, but know that I am generally very happy with my set up. 

I've got 3 main coffee appliances in my kitchen: a grinder, a drip coffee maker, and an espresso machine.  There are also a couple of other, smaller pieces that are worth mentioning, including my scale, sifter, and French presses of various sizes (not pictured). 

Let's start with the grinder.  For my personal use, I use a Bayka stainless steel conical burr coffee grinder.  It's a serviceable little grinder whose hopper holds a little over 1/2 lb of beans at a time.  There are stepped coarseness adjustments, and while it has a "Fine/Espresso" grind setting, I find it works best for my daily pot of drip coffee or for grinding coarser, such as for a French Press or Cold Brew.  The one thing I dislike about the grinder is that it grinds by time (10s - 60s), not by weight, which makes using a scale to brew anything (consistently, at least) essential. This is the next piece I plan on replacing/upgrading...but the next step up in grinder quality is a costly one.

Before I move on to the brewing equipment, I need to mention what is quite likely my favorite coffee related toy, my Kruve coffee sifter.  After I grind a batch of coffee, I put the grounds in this little box and shake it up for about a minute.  The Kruve, with its system of sieves, sorts the grounds into 3 chambers by their coarseness.  For instance, when I use 700 and 1300um sieves, I wind up with espresso-fine coffees in the bottom chamber (smaller than 700um), drip-appropriate coffee in the middle layer (between 700-1300um), and French Press/Cold Brew grounds remain in the top level (>1300um).  It's a handy tool for dialing in a new grinder, but I especially like it for helping to remove the ultra-fine grounds from my French Press and Cold Brew grounds (no one likes chewing their coffee).   Final point - it's not just for coffee.  I break it out when I grind whole spices, too. 

On to the brewing equipment!  My drip coffee maker is an 8 cup Bonavita BV1900TS brewer.  When I was finally ready to move on from my old Mr. Coffee, I did tons of research and one thing that pretty much everyone agreed on was that until you're ready to spend $300-500 on a Technivorm, the Bonavita may be the best drip coffee brewer out there for under $150. There are 0 frills.  No clock.  No timer.  Not even a heating plate. Only 1 switch to turn it on.  That's it.  But it brews damn good coffee.  It does exactly what a coffee maker should do and nothing else: it heats up water to the right temperature and distributes the hot water (fairly) evenly across the bed of grounds.  Preheating the carafe before brewing, utilizing the brewer's "bloom" function, and turning the carafe while brewing help make the end result that much better, but it's great coffee even without those little extra touches.    

Continuing with my no-frills approach toward coffee brewing, we finish our tour with my espresso machine, a Gaggia Classic Pro.  While I have purchased a bottomless portafilter and replacement silicone gasket for it, I have otherwise left it in stock condition. Simplicity reigns again - just 3 switches (for power,  espresso, and steam), and 1 knob to control the steam wand. It's taken quite a few shots to dial in shot size (18g in, ~35-40g out) and grounds coarseness, but I'm finally pulling shots that I can drink on their own and not just in milk drinks. I can also get foam thick enough from my 1% milk to hold up a quarter (exaggerating for effect, but it is thick foam).  

That's it for my personal use equipment.  Although I made it pretty clear that I love my little Kruve sifter, I'd say the most underappreciated piece of equipment I have (and is something that all coffee drinkers, regardless of budget, should pick up) is a digital scale.  It doesn't have to be fancy - a "coffee scale" is really only necessary if you're making lots of espresso or brewing by pour-over method - but something accurate to 0.1g for espresso or to 1g for drip really helps ensure consistency from cup to cup.  My next post will get into Inflection Point Coffee's roasting equipment and I'll eventually subject you to my Ode to Cold Brew, but that's for another day.