I realize we all have our preferences, likes and dislikes, and I don’t intend to change anybody’s mind here, just a place to share some thoughts on equipment. Google is our friend here, and other user reviews can be very helpful in finding the piece of equipment that fits our style. Seems like almost every day there’s some new equipment or brewing device hitting the market! So, this page isn’t intended to be comprehensive, only to point you in the right direction!
You can make great coffee with a quality grinder and only a mediocre (brewing) machine, but hardly can you make great coffee without a quality grinder. Get the best grinder you can afford. But having said that here’s a couple entry level machines that have good reviews: Capresso Infinity(left), Baratza Virtuozo(right).
This is separated into two main brewing methods, Immersion or Percolation. The main advantages of manual brewing is the control it gives you over the many factors that affect the final cup. See my Nuts & Bolts page for more info on this.
I have found it is hard to beat a simple AeroPress brew method(left) for taste. Although I am currently using a V-60 pour-over method(top-right) that produces good results too. As with any manual method, an additional water heater/kettle is needed to brew with these methods.
Another fascinating aspect of manual brewing is the various types of filter media and/or Aeropress attachments that can be utilized/explored. It’s very interesting to me to taste the difference between stainless and paper filters, or even the various paper filters themselves (Esp true for the V-60). I just saw there’s a company making filters for light, medium and dark roasts. Very nice!
This is what most people think of when they think of a ‘Coffee Maker’. A mostly plastic countertop kitchen appliance that gets very little love and too much bad water! There’s an alarming array of choices when it comes to this type of equipment! Fortunately, there’s a company that gives this type of machine a rating, or stamp of approval. Look for a Gold Cup standard or SCA Approved rating. Also “Thermal” SS servers are a good thing, as long as they are kept clean! Regarding the clean subject, keeping brew funnels clean with coffee detergents and brushes will noticeably improve the quality of the coffee, esp. if it’s being held in the server for more than 30 minutes.
Espresso is an interesting brew method. Starting in Italy as a faster way to make coffee. Google it sometime. This method of brewing coffee has an addictive quality about it with many different opinions out there. One thing that most ‘aficionados’ agree on though, spend your money on a grinder if you want to pull consistent shots. The machines range from Fully automatic to basic lever designs that are very minimalist. Many home setups use the entry level commercial grade equipment to get that ‘perfect’ cup. There’s far too much info regarding espresso to try to cover it all here. So again, if you get serious about your coffee and serious about espresso, talk to a friend who knows something about it, and/or go to the internet Google’s your friend with this.