Coffee is one of the first things people think about every morning. Brewing your caffeine fix is a ritual that helps us wipe off our eye crusties, wade our way through mental fog, and bring us into the more productive hours of our day.
In honor of National Coffee Day, elevate your java set-up. Here’s all the gear you’ll need—beans, mugs, filters, and machines. This cup of advice is on us.
A perfect roast. Amazon
This freshly roasted whole bean organic coffee from Stumptown is sustainably sourced and roasted coffee with care. The Portland-based brand packs it bags that keep the beans fresh for up to 90 days if unopened. The French Roast boasts notes of clove and bittersweet chocolate.
Beautiful brightness. Amazon
Intelligentsia’s direct trade practices support their growers all over the world. Their house blend is a mix of coffees from Burundi, Colombia, and Rwanda, creating a bright and accessible flavor profile. This coffee boasts notes of apple, citrus, and milk chocolate. If you’re into more fruit-forward coffees that aren’t too acidic, the Intelligentsia House Blend is a great choice.
Brew it cold. Amazon
These beans from Cloudburst are roasted in California, and once they arrive in your cup, they’re fruity and sweet with notes of toffee. This coffee is super easy to brew; just add a few cups of water and one and a half cups of the grounds into a French press. You can serve immediately or after refrigeration. This brand also commits to flavor, scent, and significantly lower acidity, if that’s your speed.
If you don’t know what kind of coffee you like, get tasting. A decent way to do this is to try out a subscription service that will ship multiple taster roasts. I personally like Atlas Coffee Club and Trade Coffee. Instead of committing to one bag, these services send you fresh bags from roasters around the country or world. There are multiple subscription or gift options to choose from.
Keep a lid on it. Amazon
Fans of Coffee Gator’s other sleek alligator-emblazoned accessories from coffee scales to gooseneck kettles can add to their collection with this surgical-grade stainless steel canister. This large container holds up to 22 ounces and features a rubber seal, CO2 release valve, and calendar wheel for monitoring freshness. Anyone who hates having to stick their hand into coffee beans or grounds to find the scooper will get a kick out of the magnetic coffee scoop that comes with this container and sticks to the outside for easy access.
Keep your coffee clear. Stack Commerce
If You Care offers these fantastic filters in a pack of 100 that are made to environmentally-friendly standards and built tough enough to function well, too. The paper is sourced from responsibly managed, Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests and it’s processed without chlorine, making the manufacturing process easier on the environment. They’re designed with a patented wave-design seam for extra stability, and they’re compostable, too.
The right grind size for any brewing method. Amazon
This Virtuoso+ has a sleek design, tight fitting grind chamber, and a digital screen in the front. Super detailed and easy-to-understand instructions make setting up the device a breeze. On the back, they even provide their optimal settings for brewing methods like Chemex, AeroPress, or espresso machines. Instead of using a mechanics timer like on the older model, the digital face allows you to adjust the clock in .1-second increments. This can be super helpful for fine tuning your grind for espresso machines. If you want to manually grind, simply press the button below the digital screen three times and then hold down the button to grind. Less grinds slip through the cracks of the grind chamber. The grind chamber is also made of a clearer plastic and is lit up so you can see the grinds better. It comes with a brush to help clean the machine.
Holds your portafilter. Amazon
The Breville smart grinder has a ton of extra features that justify a higher price. It includes portafilter cradle which makes it more like a professional cafe grinder. Instead of having to spoon grinds into the portafilter, you can directly grind them into it. This makes it less messy, but it’s only useful if you have a real espresso machine. The bean hopper lid features an airtight seal which will help keep your grinds fresh if you are grinding for more than one cup at a time. The grind tray snaps out and lets you dump or repurpose excess or spilled coffee.
The grinder uses a stainless steel conical burr. Using the two buttons in the front and single knob to control the grind amount, you have full control over your coffee. The LCD screen displays these details of the grind as well as the amount of cups or espresso shots you’re grinding for. On the right side of the machine, a large knob lets you adjust the grind size and clearly explains what the size means (finer grinds for slower extraction and coarser grinds for quicker). When you adjust the grind size, a ticker on the LCD screen moves along a line switching from French press to espresso. This just makes it easier to understand if you’re grinding your coffee at the right size.
Know your ratios. Amazon
Brewing coffee is brewing coffee. Doesn’t matter if it’s a piping hot cup or a batch of cold brew. Precise ratios can be the difference between a smooth beverage and a bitter, undrinkable cup. The Hario scale is a go-to. It is a no-frills, seamless way to track the weight of your coffee and water.
Low-tech deliciousness. Amazon
AeroPress has a devout following for a reason: it has a shorter brewing time than French presses (for those who really need their caffeine right away) and the pressure created by its syringe-like design allows for a more complete extraction, and thus a richer, smoother coffee. You can also play scientist and experiment with water temperature, steep time, and pressing time to find the best formula for you. With the AeroPress, you won’t find any grinds in your coffee and it is also super easy to clean up.
Best mug. Amazon
If you prefer drinking out of a mug instead of a tumbler or thermos, but hate how quickly your tea gets cold, the Ember Smart Mug 2 is a dream come true. This mug syncs with your smartphone, holds 14-ounces, and keeps your tea at your ideal temperature for hours. It also now comes in a beautiful, new white finish. With the Ember app, you can easily create presets for your favorite drinks and seasons. The mug also comes with a charging coaster and holds an 80 minute charge. The sleek ceramic exterior makes this a great mug to drink from and also allows for hand-washing when you’re done.
Elevated pod experience. Amazon
Nespresso is a pioneer of pod-based coffee brewing technology, and their Expert model machine delivers some of the best quick, high-quality espresso for which they’re known. It has a 38-ounce water tank and can brew four different coffee drink sizes ranging from a .85-ounce Ristretto up to a 5-ounce Americano. Its anthracite grey finish and sleek, rounded edges help the machine blend in with any discerning decor, and a bundle that includes an equally stylish Aeroccino for foaming milk is available as well. Drinks can be prepared to three different temperature levels, which is a must if you’re adding hot water to your coffee.
Put some pep in your step. Amazon
The quintessential espresso—Café Bustelo have been at it for almost a century. Now, you can enjoy their dark roast espresso at the push of a button and for a serious bargain. If you want no-nonsense, deeply flavorful espresso, this is the pack for you. They’ve also got Keurig pods.
Less waste. Amazon
Sealpod reusable Nespresso capsules will help you cut down on waste if you use a Nespresso machine. These Sealpods work with OriginalLine machines, come in sets of five, and are made of stainless steel. The sticker lids—there are 102 lids in the set—are recyclable and made of either paper or foil. This box also comes with five capsule covers and a scoop to transfer grinds into the pods.
Easier on the tummy. Amazon
For those with sensitive stomachs, it’s best to avoid super acidic foods and beverages. This low-acid dark roast treats the body delicately and is absolutely delicious. It is roasted in small batches and treated with water and steam to remove some of the natural acid present in coffee beans. This treatment, however, does not detract from the sweet and smooth flavor of the coffee. To add to the appeal, these pods are biodegradable.
Shots on the move. Amazon
This handheld espresso machine is light and easy-to-pack, making it a nice option for campers and hikers not willing to give up their fancy coffees. There are optional add-ons like a carrying case and varying sizes of water tanks so you can enjoy multiple espresso drinks, from a ristretto to a caffè lungo. To use, add ground coffee to the filter basket and then add hot water to the water tank, unlock the piston from its transport position and then pump a few times to extract fresh coffee. It’s modern and slick design is sure to impress whomever you’re waking up in the wilderness with.
Best machine. Amazon
With this espresso machine, forgo a built-in grinder, experiment all you want, and go for a gorgeous dual boiler great for seamlessly making multiple drinks and creating latte art. Don’t be tempted to compromise on steam at the wrong temperature just because your espresso is sitting there waiting—the steam boiler is ready on demand while you’re pulling your shot. Take charge of the brew temperature, pre-infusion pressure, and extraction time, or get one or two shots at the touch of a button. The dual boiler also features an over-pressure valve to limit maximum pressure and avoid bitterness in your cup.
Drink in style. Amazon
This set of cups from Sweese is a beautiful, organized way to upgrade your espresso experience. These durable, porcelain cups can hold 4 ounces of liquid with a little bit of room at the top, perfect for a cappuccino. The set comes with four stackable cups, six 4.6-inch saucers, and an ergonomic, space-saving stacking rack to keep your cups organized and out of the way. Each item is dishwasher safe and chip-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about any degradation over time. Choose from three sets: all white, cool blues, and warm reds/yellows for a look that will compliment your decor.
For simple cold brew brewing. Amazon
You can use a pitcher and a cheesecloth, but if you want to really optimize, you can spring for a Toddy cold brew maker. The Toddy requires 12 ounces of grinds and seven cups of water. Coarse-grind your beans and let them sit in the toddy overnight. That’s it. On the bottom of the Toddy there is a filter and a stopper that keeps the coffee in the container. After you leave the pitcher sitting on the counter for 12-24 hours, pull the plug and let the coffee concentrate flow into the glass decanter. Since this is a coffee concentrate, mix in a ratio of one parts coffee and two or three parts water or milk.