December 8, 2023

Coffee Ordering

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Our Best Picks for Equipping Your Coffee Station Like a Pro

Our Best Picks for Equipping Your Coffee Station Like a Pro

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Level up your morning coffee with some of our favorite tested picks.

Food & Wine / Brian Kopinski

For those of us who go to bed each night already excited about our first sip of coffee the next morning, keeping coffee-making essentials on hand at all times is a no-brainer. From great coffee beans to basic filters, preparation is the key to a perfect cup.

And if you’d like to take your coffee game to the next level, we’ve got you covered with some advice from a coffee roasting expert. We’re highlighting some of our favorite pieces of coffee station equipment, each chosen for its quality, performance, good looks, value — or all of the above. Read on to see what’s brewing.

Espresso Machine: Breville The Barista Express Espresso Machine

An espresso machine is your ticket to crafting the perfect latte, cappuccino, flat white, or other espresso-based beverage right at home. Breville’s Barista Express was the top pick in our recent espresso machine tests, thanks to its compact size that still offers the versatility of a built-in grinder and steam wand. Plus, The Breville has the advantage of looking like a “real” barista-style machine rather than a capsule-based espresso maker.

An espresso machine is a bit of a splurge for your at-home coffee station, but it’s sure to be the head-turning centerpiece.

Price at time of publish: $708

<p>Food and Wine / Russell Kilgore</p>

Food and Wine / Russell Kilgore

Drip Coffee Maker: Cuisinart 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

If we had to choose just one piece of equipment to have at our coffee station, it would be a drip coffee maker. This essential appliance makes quick work of brewing a fresh, steaming pot of coffee, and lots of them can even be programmed — which means you can wake up to that delicious aroma with minimal effort.

A great drip coffee maker will be easy to use, clean, and have integrated temperature controls to ensure your coffee is brewed as optimally as possible. We like the quality and performance of this one from Cuisinart, and its 14-cup capacity doesn’t hurt, either.

Price at time of publish: $100

Milk Frother: ElitaPro Double Whisk Handheld Milk Frother

Even if you’re not a milky coffee person, having a compact, affordable milk frother on hand is a thoughtful touch for when guests are over — and you never know when one might come in handy for a baking or cooking project. We like this one from ElitaPro for more than just its good looks and multiple color options — it really performs! The double-whisk design allows you to build lots of silky structure in milk and milk alternatives, and it’s easy to clean when you’re done.

Price at time of publish: $12

<p>Food and Wine / Russell Kilgore</p>

Food and Wine / Russell Kilgore

French Press: Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker

A French press is a classic accompaniment of the coffee station. Just add coarse coffee grounds, pour in some hot water, let the magic happen for a few minutes, then press the plunger and pour — it’s nice and easy.

We’ve found that less is more when it comes to a good French press, which is why we like the timeless Bodum Chambord. The elegant glass and stainless steel design delivers a consistently superior cup of coffee, and it reigned supreme in our testing.

Price at time of publish: $30

<p>Food and Wine / Isaac Nunn</p>

Food and Wine / Isaac Nunn

Pour-Over: Chemex Classic Series Coffeemaker

Do you really need a pour-over vessel if you already have a drip coffee maker, a French press, and possibly an espresso machine? We’ll say yes, because variety is the spice of life. While the pour-over method of brewing coffee takes a bit of skill to perfect, our tests found the Chemex Classic to be the best overall pour-over coffee maker. It’s a straightforward setup that will yield a great cup of coffee and look great sitting on your coffee station.

Price at time of publish: $49

Grinder: Bodum Bistro Premium Burr Grinder

“No matter what type of coffee you’re making, you always want to grind your beans right before brewing,” says Heather Calatrello, owner and head roaster at ShedLight Coffee. “A burr grinder will ensure consistency, and there are several affordable models on the market.”

If you’re looking for a coffee grinder that will handle all the work for you, we recommend the Bodum Bistro Premium. If a manual grinder is more your style, Calatrello suggests the 1Zpresso Q2 grinder, which she says she’s “really fond of” and reaches for daily.

Price at time of publish: $90

Storage Canister: Planetary Design Store Airscape Stainless Steel Coffee Canister

Grinding your beans just before brewing is one way to ensure your coffee is as fresh as can be; another is to make sure you’re storing those beans properly until you’re ready for them.

“A critical piece of any coffee station is proper coffee storage,” confirms Calatrello. “Coffee should be stored away from light and air, so an airtight canister is best. Steer clear of any glass canisters unless you plan to place them in a cupboard.”

Calatrello prefers the Airscape canisters by Planetary Design, citing product quality and how “pushing the air out of the canister provides a satisfying morning experience.” Second only to the first sip of coffee, we’re sure.

Price at time of publish: $32

Scale: Timemore Coffee Scale TES005

While you can use any old scoop to portion out your coffee, the pros prefer a higher level of precision. Calatrello says that coffee densities can vary greatly and that measuring both coffee grounds and water is the best way to nail your coffee-water ratio and ensure consistency with every brew.

“We absolutely love the Timemore Black Mirror Plus because it’s accurate to 0.1 grams, has a timer, and is USB-rechargeable,” she says, adding that this scale “looks sleek on your counter.”

Price at time of publish: $59

Espresso Glasses: JoyJolt Savor Double Wall Insulated Glasses Espresso Mugs

A nice-looking set of espresso mugs belongs at every coffee station. These double-walled glass mugs are great not only for their insulative properties, but because the glass allows you to fully take in the depth of color and admire the rich crema on top.

For espresso mugs with a bit more aesthetic flair, we like these stackable porcelain mugs that come in a set of four, either in assorted colors or an all-white set.

Price at time of publish: $15

Coffee Mugs: Crate & Barrel Hue Coffee Mugs

Few beverage vessels are more personal than the humble coffee mug. Whether you prefer something sleek and modern or more decorative and whimsical, your coffee station is the perfect place to display your collection of coffee mugs.

These simple, lightweight mugs from Crate & Barrel tick all the boxes for neutral and functional at home. For coffee on the go, check out the W&P Porter ceramic portable mug or the fan-favorite Yeti Rambler travel mug.

Price at time of publish: $19

Fancy Syrups: Torani Coffee Syrup Variety Pack – Caramel, French Vanilla, Vanilla & Hazelnut Syrup

Flavored syrups can help you elevate your morning latte or afternoon iced coffee, and there’s no need to go to a coffee shop to get your favorite flavor fix. This four-pack of Torani syrups includes hazelnut, caramel, French vanilla, and vanilla, as well as pumps for each bottle for mess-free dispensing.

Price at time of publish: $45

Capsules or Pods: Nespresso Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano

If you have a Nespresso machine, you’ll want to keep your coffee station equipped with a nice variety of capsules or pods — depending on which one your machine takes. The Nespresso Ristretto Intenso capsule is a favorite dark roast coffee that stands up nicely to milk but is smooth enough to sip on its own. Or, if you have a pod-based machine, go for the Nespresso Vertuo sampler, which will give you a variety of different coffees across 30 pods.

Price at time of publish: $40

Coffee Tamper: LUXHAUS Espresso Tamper 49mm Calibrated

If you have a conventional espresso machine, it may have come up with a tamper, but if you’re in need of one (or if you’re just ready for an upgrade), this Luxhaus espresso tamper is an elegant option. It’s a pressure-sensitive tamper that evenly presses grounds to ensure the best-tasting espresso shot, and it looks great while it’s on display.

If you’re after a more budget-friendly tamper, the RSVP International dual-sided coffee tamper will get the job done, too.

Price at time of purchase: $39

Portable Coffee Maker: AeroPress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press

The most well-equipped coffee station will also have equipment available for you to take on the road, and for making coffee on the go, nothing beats the Aeropress Go. This useful kit includes everything you need (except coffee grounds) to brew a cup of coffee right from your campsite, trailhead, or even your hotel room. When you’re at home, it stashes away nicely in a drawer or cabinet until it’s time for the next adventure.

Price at time of publish: $40

Our Expertise

This article was written by Summer Rylander, a food and travel journalist who has written about food, beverage, and cooking products for Food & Wine, Allrecipes, Serious Eats, and The Kitchn. She made her selections based on in-depth research, her personal preferences as a coffee enthusiast, and conversation with coffee roasting expert, Heather Calatrello.

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Read the original article on Food & Wine.