Coffee Tools and Tips

coffee toolsIn our May/June 2012 issue, coffee pros from around the country share their top tips for brewing the perfect cup of joe at home. And while using the proper tools can be key to brewing better-tasting coffee, you needn’t invest in expensive gadgetry to get the job done well. We recently chatted with a few coffee pros to find out about some of their top picks for tools that can help you brew better coffee without breaking the bank.


“Grinding coffee right before you brew is a great starting point,” says Caroline Bell, co-owner of Café Grumpy in Brooklyn, New York. Her top grinder pick for the budget-minded? The Hario Skerton burr grinder. “It’s simple to use, easy to adjust the grind and also great for traveling since it doesn’t need to be plugged in.” $38,

When it comes to burr grinders, commercial versions can cost well into the four-digit figures, but David Buehrer, owner of Greenway Coffee & Tea in Houston says the Baratza Encore is a great option for home enthusiasts, and it’ll barely set you back more than a Ben Franklin. “It’s a fantastic home burr grinder that makes coffee shop-consistent grind sizes,” he says. $129,

And in an Imbibe test of small burr grinders, our top pick was the Capresso Infinity. It’s durable, compact, easy to clean and allows for multiple grind settings, and you can find it for less than $100. $88,


The size of coffee beans can vary, so the best way to brew a consistent cup is to measure by weight, not volume. Altanta-based Batdorf & Bronson coffee educator Jason Dominy says the AWS Onyx scale is a good inexpensive option. “It looks great, has a nice, low profile and is super-easy to clean.” $25,


Everyone has a favorite method of brewing, so there are lots of opinions about which ones do the best job. Dominy’s pick is the Clever Coffee Dripper. “In my opinion it’s the best and easiest way to brew coffee at home,” he says. The Clever combines both pour-over and infusion methods for a foolproof cup that doesn’t require a lot of time of coffee technique to brew a super-delicious cup, and you can score it for less than $20. $16.39,

If you need a good brewer for road trips, the Sili Gourmet Coffee Break is a great choice. Perfect for tucking away in camping kits and carry-ons, it’s made of heat-resistant silicone, is lightweight, and collapses flat for easy transport and storage. $15,

When it comes to press pots, Sharon Vaccarello, owner of Crescent Moon Coffee & Tea in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, recommends going with Bodum. The 12-ounce Brazil brews just enough for two people, while the larger 34-ounce is perfect for people who entertain or just drink a lot of coffee in one sitting. $20/12 oz. or $30/34 oz.,

For those who prefer their coffee on the stronger side, the AeroPress is another economical option. “It’s a really easy way to brew a rich, concentrated cup at home,” says Dominy, “and it cleans easily.” The key to its concentrated flavors lies on a short infusion time followed by a push of pressure that results in a deep, nuanced extraction. Plus, it condenses the spent grounds into a tidy puck for easy clean up. $28,