I’ve noticed around the web, particularly Reddit, that many people are using their brand new Amazon.com gift cards from Christmas to get into specialty coffee. It can be daunting to begin purchasing items when there are so many to choose from, so I thought I would aid you in resolving that burden.
The following items are my recommendations for those who are just starting to get into the world of specialty coffee. These things won’t crash your bank account, but will provide you with an excellent set-up to start brewing amazing coffee.
The Grinder: Hario Mini Mill – $29
One of the key parts to any specialty coffee set-up is the grinder. You mainly want to look for burr grinders over blade grinders. If you’ve got some money to dish out, the Baratza Encore is considered one of the top home grinders. But if you’re not sure if you want to invest that much to begin with, the Hario Mini Mill is the way to go.
It’s a hand grinder and will take a small bit of effort, but at $35, this thing is a steal. I strongly encourage you to read my full review. If you do end up purchasing one, don’t forget to do some simple modifications to increase the overall consistency.
The Brewer: Aerobie Aeropress – $26
The Aeropress is one of the newest coffee brew methods to go viral. It’s easy to use, but allows for dozens of variations if you want to get creative. The brewer itself is portable, durable, and will brew a cup in just a minute or two. It doesn’t brew a full mug of coffee, but if you increase the amount of coffee, the final solution can be diluted with water. That’s what I typically do.
The Aeropress is so widely popular that there are even global competitions that are directed completely at the Aeropress. I recommend playing around with my favorite recipe to see what you like the best.
Coffee: Mistobox – $12 – $20
Arguably the most important aspect of any coffee brewing is the coffee itself! If it’s not fresh or roasted carefully, flavors will be burnt and lost. It’s important to choose high quality beans. I recommend Mistobox because I know they sell a variety of coffees from different roasters that all take their products seriously.
If you want to buy locally, which is likely a bit cheaper, check out How to Find High Quality Coffee Beans.
Optional: Jennings CJ 4000 Scale – $26
Scales are incredibly important later on after you’ve been introduced into specialty coffee. With one such as the Jennings CJ 4000, you can accurately try different recipes for a number of different brew methods. The Aeropress comes with a scoop that will roughly give you about enough coffee to make a good cup, but if you want to make an expertly-crafted drink, you’ll want a scale.
If you need more convincing, check out 3 Reasons Why You Need a Coffee Scale.
Optional: Hamilton Beach Electric Kettle – $11
Heating water in a microwave or on a stove are completely viable options, but pail in speed compared to most electric kettles. With an Aeropress you don’t need a particular type of spout like with a pour-over, so any electric kettle will do. The one I’ve picked out is the highest rated compared to the price. A mere $11 is a small price to pay for a major increase in efficiency.
Get to Brewing!
Those are all the elements you need to get started on an adventure that will blow your mind. Later I’ll write an article about how to extend your equipment army, but for now the items listed above will allow you to produce excellent, tasty coffee. Good luck, and happy brewing!