I’m not sure about you, but one of the things that has kept many of us sane during these strange, not-so-wonderful times is coffee and tea. In addition to the energy lifting of caffeine (for those of us who take it with caffeine), drinking hot liquids can be relaxing, while iced coffee or tea can be very refreshing.
With this in mind, we asked the staff to The Verge to tell us about their favorite coffee and tea makers, coffee grinders and other accessories. If you are also an enthusiast, we hope that you will enjoy looking at some of the gadgets we like to use for our daily infusions. If you aren̵
Like a dumb Midwestern American, my first introduction to the Moka Pot came with my first European trip to Barcelona to cover the Mobile World Congress smartphone convention. I had no idea what I was doing, I was traveling alone, and I found that my little hotel room didn’t have a boring coffee maker but this Bialetti thing and a little stove.
I figured it out with a bit of googling and immediately fell in love. It works by heating the water below, which runs through a chamber with the coffee and then rises into the pot above. The coffee he makes is a sort of middle ground between a coffee-maker-style brew and an espresso. Once you understand that, it becomes a rich, full-bodied yet clean cup.
It takes some time to get it, but it’s worth it. Once you understand how not to overheat the thing and boil the coffee, you start to have the feeling of “composing” a recipe. You can experiment with just a couple of variables instead of the seemingly endless ones coffee nerds will talk about with pour-over systems. It teaches you something about how coffee works in a more accessible way.
Plus, it’s a cute and elegant thing to have on the stove. It makes a satisfying little noise when ready and sounds a lot more satisfying to use than your standard Mr. Coffee.
For years I have only drank coffee at home that was prepared in a Bialetti Moka. But since I work from home and find myself reliably making two cups of coffee a day, I have almost completely switched to using an old AeroPress that I had hidden in a closet.
My step had nothing to do with taste, although, for what it’s worth, I think the AeroPress makes great coffee. Instead, it had everything to do with ease of cleaning. After pressing the plunger and putting all the brewed coffee into a cup, you can remove the lid of the AeroPress and immerse the remaining grounds directly into the food waste bin. It rinses everything out quickly and is ready to use again – perfect if your family makes lots of individual cups of coffee throughout the day.
If you want to have fun, there are tons of AeroPress recipes you can try, which vary how coarsely you grind your coffee, how much coffee you use, the temperature of your water, or how long you leave it to steep. Here is one of these nine recipe videos. So, once you’re tired of those and want to throw caution to the wind, there are a couple of apps that automatically generate AeroPress coffee recipes. I use Aeroprecipe for Android, but there is also CoffeeDice for iOS.
Is it a bit annoying not knowing what kind of coffee you have every time you make one? A little, but when you go crazy after working from home non-stop for six months, a little variation in your coffee isn’t bad.
International news writer
It took me a while to get over the idea that I didn’t need a bunch of expensive machinery to make a good cup of coffee. That changed when I saw that some of my favorite bars made each cup fresh with a simple drip filter. At best, it almost exactly smells like coffee.
So I shelled out about $ 20 for a Hario V60 ceramic drip filter, hoping to replicate the results at home, and I couldn’t be happier with every cup I drink. I’ve had great results with Stumptown’s single-origin Guatemalan El Injerto Bourbon coffee, but actually any decent coffee bean will make a good cup.
Now, this is exactly the opposite of a hands-free way to make coffee. I have to grind enough beans for one cup, then dump them into a paper filter that flows into the ceramic cone-shaped filter. Once the water is boiled, I have to pour some slowly over the coffee, little by little, until the cup is full. It is not even a foolproof method. On tired days, I accidentally spilled too much water, which causes coffee grounds to get into the cup. I also completely threw the filter out of the cup, which leaves a truly glorious mess that is just pleasant to tackle first thing in the morning.
But on good days, it doesn’t take more than five minutes to brew each cup. It may be too much of a commitment for you, but I find spending time on something that energizes is a useful ritual.
All spilled coffee makers should be like this. The Melitta single-dose pour-over coffee machine has two large holes in the base so that the light enters your cup and you can tell how full it is and when to stop pouring.
After too much overflow with my old bottom brewer, I finally switched to this one a couple of years ago and was very happy. The Melitta is light without being flimsy, cheap and great for camping trips.
VP, The Verge
In my family we use a French press and until recently we just went to the local supermarket and used their machine to grind half a kilo of coffee. However, when the pandemic struck, the supermarket got rid of its grinder – I guess he thought it might be a source of transmission – and we had no local place that grinded coffee beans to the coarseness a French press demanded. So we watched a bunch of YouTube videos explaining how the grinders worked and which type you should buy, laughed at the prices of most of the ones they were advertising and finally decided on the Capresso Infinity conical grinder.
This is by no means a top notch grinder; uses metal cutters instead of ceramic (and no, I’m not going to explain what a cutter is; look for it), and it’s really difficult to clean. But after some testing, we learned how to use it to grind coffee beans to a decent coarseness and now we can have our morning coffee straight from the beans.
I’m usually a no-nonsense type – regular coffee with a splash of milk is my order. But if you’re looking to turn your morning cup into something a little fancier, my wife swears by this funny Ikea cappuccinatore. Ikea is usually quite hit and miss when it comes to quality, but this cappuccino maker has been around for a couple of years. All you need is two AA batteries and your milk is suddenly slammed into a heap of foam. Add the coffee and voila: instant refinement.
Andrew J. Hawkins
Let me say at the outset that you should definitely get yourself an electric kettle to boil water even if you are not looking to improve your coffee game. It is much more useful than you might expect to have a dedicated thing for making water very hot quickly.
Let me also say that paying $ 149 for an electric kettle is objectively insane and puts you at serious risk of being called a coffee snob. But if you can swing it, the Stagg EKG is a nice kettle. It has the right controls: a simple knob for adjusting the temperature that doubles as an on / off button and as a timer when pressed for a long time. There is a switch on the back for metric or imperial units, and another switch that allows you to set the kettle to hold its temperature for up to an hour.
You buy it for elegant and easy operation, but you also buy it because it is a beautiful and well made item. It’s incredibly well designed, and while it doesn’t hold as much water as others, it keeps that water exactly at the temperature you set it to. I prefer the gooseneck version because it’s easier to do complicated things.
It has quickly become the default option for many people who take coffee, and that’s for good reason – it’s great. Expensive! But great.
I was making cold beer inefficiently. After months of finding coffee grounds in my cafe, I decided to switch to this inexpensive alternative and it absolutely changed my cold beer game. Gone are the days of using mesh sieves to filter my beers. I just removed the bag after 12-24 hours of steeping and voila: great cold beer without soil. I was a cold beer drinker only in the summer, but adding this bag to my routine makes me think that the cold beer season is going to last a lot longer than it has in the past.
Okay, I admit it. Until recently, I was something of a coffee amateur. I didn’t buy fresh coffee beans, I didn’t grind the exact amount I needed, I didn’t heat the water to exactly the right temperature, and I didn’t preheat the French press before baking. Instead, I grabbed half a pound of pre-ground coffee from the local supermarket and stored it in this cheap, yet extremely useful, plastic container.
It works like this: when I took the coffee bag home, I opened the bag, folded it back a little from the top and then put it in the plastic dispenser. When I snapped the lid closed, an extension at the bottom of the lid held the bag open. After that, when I wanted coffee, I simply had to open a small door at the top of the lid, take all the coffee grounds I needed from the open bag and close the door. It was affordable and the coffee stayed fresh (or as fresh as pre-ground coffee can be).
For the past six months, my family has switched to real coffee beans and a grinder. (But no, we do not preheat the French press – I have limitations after all). As a result, our small plastic coffee dispenser appears to have outlived its usefulness. But it’s OK. We will find something else to use it for.
I drink a lot of tea in the morning and I like fancy cups. Lately, my favorite was East Fork’s handmade mug – nicknamed “The Mug” – which is a delicious and good-looking way to enjoy your favorite hot drink.
At $ 36, is it expensive? Yes. Does it pretty much work like a mug that costs a sixth the price? Yes, too. But the clay is thick and heavy, it keeps my tea warm and my hands unburned. The design is adorable, with smooth, rounded edges and a sturdy handle. And the spotted glazes (especially the brighter, more seasonal colors) are great.
[NOTE: The Mug and other pottery by East Fork are currently sold out, but according to the company, presales will be available on Sunday, October 25th.]
A subscription to coffee beans
You can buy all the great coffee equipment in the world, but if you don’t use decent beans, you’ll only get this far. (Remember the old saying: “garbage in, garbage out”). Good beans can mean different things to different people, but basically, you want something that’s been roasted recently (freshness counts a ton) and isn’t too roasted, like some big Seattle coffee chains like to do.
The easiest way I’ve found to have a regular supply of fresh coffee beans is to have them delivered to my home on a regular basis. I have subscribed to various coffee delivery services for years, switching from time to time to try something new. We drink a lot of coffee at my house, so we can easily go through a 12oz bag every week. I generally have two bags delivered every two weeks to refuel without having to store them too long.
The best coffee beans services roast and ship same day, and depending on where you live, can get them to you in a day or two. (I’m in New York, so east coast roasters work best for me, especially with shipping times getting longer during the pandemic.) Most give you the choice between blends or single-origin beans, with the same ones that every order arrives or, in some cases, different varieties depending on seasonal availability. You’ll pay a little more for this convenience than buying the beans at a store, but you also avoid having to make that last-minute rush to the store and hope they have the beans you like on the shelf. (Or in the case of where I live, having to make do with the shoddy, months-old beans that local grocery stores stock on their shelves.)
I’ve had good success ordering beans from Blue Bottle, Yes Plz, Counter Culture, and Bixby Coffee (no relationship with Samsung’s virtual assistant of the same name, but has a dog as a mascot). My current plan, however, is through Irving Farm, a New York-based roastery.