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  • Counter Culture Coffee Staff Recommendation

Coffee

Counter Culture Coffee Staff Recommendation

We often get asked what brewing equipment we recommend, so we thought we’d compile a blog with all of our expert recs. 

We often get asked what brewing equipment we recommend, so we thought we’d compile a blog with all of our expert recs. 

To make great coffee all you need are excellent coffee beans and a few tools to transform those perfectly roasted beans into our favorite drink.

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  • While we’ve got you covered on the first (and most important) part, we don’t make or sell the other half of the equation. Luckily, Counter Culture Coffee employees are coffee nerds who have tested just about every piece of coffee equipment out there. No matter your expertise level or budget, we’ve got you covered. You’ll be well on your way to making great-tasting coffee at home!

    Grinders

    Fact: Everyone needs a coffee grinder. We promise that grinding your own coffee will change your life, and your taste buds will thank you. Another life-changer? Making the upgrade from a blade grinder (similar to a blender) to a burr grinder (two revolving burrs that crush up the coffee beans). It’s a bit of an upfront investment, but the improvement is immediately noticeable.

    Spending around $100 on a grinder isn’t too bad compared with the price of other daily-use kitchen appliances. There are cheaper burr grinders on the market, but they are typically made with plastic burrs that wear quickly over time AND where do you think those little plastic particles go? Yup, in your coffee grounds. So yeah—investing in a decent burr grinder is worth it. Here are three solid options:

    Learn more about grinding coffee for different brewing methods.

    $ OXO Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

    OXO Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

    “When I learned that freshly ground whole bean coffee tasted better, I started off with a very inexpensive $15 blade grinder. Once I learned that burr grinder > blade grinder, I graduated with a conical burr coffee grinder from OXO. It’s a super solid entry-level burr grinder and while it’s not quite as affordable as the $15 one, it’s a fair price point for something that I use daily.” —Emma, social media manager

    $$ Baratza Encore and Sette 270

    Baratza Encore and Sette 270

    “Across the board, we really recommend Baratza grinders. The Encore is a great starting point, but the Baratza Sette 270 is a nice level-up option and is capable of grinding for espresso in a home context.” —Trevor, education marketing

    $$$ Mahlkönig X54 Coffee Grinder

    Mahlkönig X54 Coffee Grinder

    “There are certainly some high-end grinders out there. For the folks looking to really splash out on their home coffee setup, this Mahlkönig x54 coffee grinder rules. Bonus—it’s super quiet.” —Christy, marketing manager

    If you’re looking for a smaller footprint, travel companion, or a lower price point, check out the Hario Skerton or Porlex hand grinders.

    Scales

    A scale and a timer are pretty essential for home brewing. That’s especially true if you want to get into using online brew recipes, which almost always use gram measurements for coffee and water. Sure, you can eyeball it and get pretty close. But if you want to consistently replicate coffee shop results, you’ll need a scale and a timer.

    $ CJ4000 and Escali Primo Digital Scales

    CJ4000 and Escali Primo Digital Scales

    “You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a serviceable scale. One great option is the CJ400 Digital Scale, which is what we always have on hand at Counter Culture HQ. While slightly clunkier than other options, the Escali Primo Digital Scale is a workhorse and can double as an all-around kitchen scale capable of weighing up to 11 lbs.” —Alex, coffee buyer

    $$ Hario V60 Drip Scale

    Hario V60 Drip Scale

    Higher price points mean increased quality and features. If you like to brew your coffee manually, the Hario V60 Drip Scale has a great design and a built-in timer. Using a scale like this really helps maintain consistency in brew quality.

    $$$ Acaia Pearl Scale

    Acaia Pearl Scale

    We won’t say that this scale is necessary, but if you’re looking to beautify your coffee game, you won’t find anything more luxurious than the Acaia Pearl scale. It is 100% the scale we use when taking photos or videos for social media. 

    Kettles

    If you love to manually brew your coffee, a kettle is another essential daily tool. Both of the kettles we recommend are electric and have gooseneck spouts. Using an electric kettle ensures your water is heated to the optimum temperature (between 195F and 205F), and the longer spout allows for precise pour control.

    $$ Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle

    Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle

    The Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle is a reliable classic. It heats up quickly, has adjustable temperature controls, and holds the set temperature for up to an hour. 

    $$$ Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle

    Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle

    “The Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle looks as good as it pours. It comes in a variety of colors and finishes making it the perfect gift for the design-conscious coffee lover in your life. And, as of 2022, there is now a pro and studio version.” —Katie, Western coffee manager

    Coffee Brewers

    Amazing coffee? Check. Perfectly ground, and measured out for your brewing recipe? Yes and yes. Now the only thing left to do is brew it—simple, right? Well, there are probably as many brewers out there as there are ways to make coffee. From manual to automatic brewing, our staff has narrowed it down to their favorite brewers at a variety of price points:

    Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup Drip Coffee Brewer One-Touch

    Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup Drip Coffee Brewer One-Touch

    If you’re looking for an auto-drip coffee maker, we recommend one that has been SCA certified. The SCA, or Specialty Coffee Association, has a checklist of attributes that they look for in an auto-drip machine, and temperature stability between 195–205F tops their list. The Bonavita 8-Cup Brewer is the creme de la creme of home coffee makers. 

    Moccamaster Thermal Carafe Coffee Brewer

    Moccamaster Thermal Carafe Coffee Brewer

    Another auto-drip option is a Moccamaster Thermal Jug Coffeemaker. “I have used this brewer almost every morning for years to brew a pot of coffee for the house.” —Brett, president

    Goat Story GINA Coffee Maker

    Goat Story GINA Coffee Maker

    “I really like the GINA coffee maker. It’s a scale and brewing device all in one that comes with an app to help reach your perfect coffee flavors.” —Helen, equipment, parts, and billing lead

    Six-Cup Classic Chemex

    Six-Cup Classic Chemex

    “I appreciate the flexibility a Chemex offers in terms of batch size (options for 3 to 10 cups!) and ability to brew hot as well as over ice. It’s also great for someone new to hand-poured coffee because the thick filters make for a forgiving brew.”—Elizabeth, director of food service

    Tricolate Coffee Brewer

    Tricolate Coffee Brewer

    The Tricolate is a simple, repeatable, yummy, even- and high-extracting coffee brewer. If you have the basics and love trying a new brewing device, this is the one to try.

    Origami Dripper

    Origami Dripper

    “Origami drippers are beautiful and functional. There are a ton of fun colors to choose from and come in ceramic and plastic. They are a great example of intelligent and mindful design.”  —Jeanea, New York City regional educator

    Kalita Wave

    Kalita Wave

    “The Kalita Wave is my ‘go-to’ brewer, both at home and when making coffee for partners. The flat bottom design creates consistency, enhances sweetness, and allows me to quickly dial in to get the best from the coffee I’m brewing. It’s my ‘desert island’ brewer!” —Joshua, Chicago regional manager 

    Fellow Stagg Dripper

    Fellow Stagg Dripper

    “Very similar to the Kaltia Wave, the Fellow Stagg is a flat-bottomed brewer with 10 holes to allow coffee to run through. It’s double insulated, so the thermal loss of your brew is more negligible than with other brewers. It feels good in your hand, it’s peak a e s t h e t i c. It pairs well with all of the other Fellow products.” —Kahlil, Asheville regional educator

    Hario Switch

    Hario Switch

    “The Hario Switch is kind of just the best. I love how I can bloom the coffee without any bypass from gas offshoot, then transition into percolation, which I find to be easier to extract coffee without wasting water. The 60-degree filters it uses can be found in many different brewers, so they are easy to find and experiment with.” —Garrett, Chicago equipment technician

    Learn more about brewing the perfect pour-over.

    AeroPress and Fellow Prismo Attachment

    AeroPress and Fellow Prismo Attachment

    “If you don’t already have an AeroPress, you should. They’re compact and lightweight—the perfect brewer for making coffee on the fly. But if you already have one, you need to try the Prismo AeroPress attachment from Fellow. This attachment allows for the pressure needed to brew espresso-style coffee without an espresso machine!” —Jenna, wholesale education manager

    Learn more about brewing coffee with an AeroPress

    ESPRO P3 French Press

    ESPRO P3 French Press

    “The P3 French Press is a great step up in terms of coffee clarity and ease of use. You get the silky texture of a french press, but almost completely eliminate the grit. And, once you press, the brewing process stops because the coffee is fully separated from the water. You don’t need to worry about decanting the coffee or starting the clean-up process right away. To top it off, it’s durable!” —Ryan Ludwig, education marketing

    Learn more about brewing coffee with a French Press. 

    Espresso Machines

    Making espresso at home might be the ultimate dream. Making espresso at home will likely require a machine that’ll cost you a pretty penny. Is it worth it? We think so. Is it necessary? That’s up to you. But we do think supporting your local coffee shop tastes just as delicious. Anyway, here are three great choices:

    $ Flair 58

    Flair 58

    The Flair 58 is a fully-manual, professional-grade, lever espresso press. This is for the coffee brewer who is into the science of extraction as much as the delicious taste.

    $$ Breville Barista Pro

    Breville Barista Pro

    The Barista Pro is the classic home espresso machine. It’s also the machine we teach on in our coffee-at-home classes!

    $$$ La Marzocco Linea Mini

    La Marzocco Linea Mini

    She’s an icon. She’s a legend. And she is the moment. La Marzocco is synonymous with espresso. The Linea Mini is a kitchen-sized version of the Linea Classic, a machine loved by thousands of professional baristas and the heart of your favorite cafés. The Linea Mini looks as beautiful as it performs, ready to serve for years to come. The NEW Micra is even smaller but just as mighty.

    Learn more about making espresso at home. 

    Other Brewing Gear

    Baratza Single Dose Hopper

    Baratza Single Dose Hopper

    If you have a Baratza grinder, we recommend their new single-dose hopper. You can measure out and single dose only the coffee beans you need for your brewing recipe. Try out a different coffee every time you brew!

    Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister

    Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister

    The Atmos coffee canisters keep your coffee fresh and are aesthetically pleasing on your kitchen countertop. 

    Coldwave Beverage Chiller

    Coldwave Beverage Chiller

    “For the iced coffee lover, a Coldwave Beverage Chiller is the best gift. After you make your coffee, this cools it down fast so that you aren’t diluting a recipe with ice.” —Mike, Washington, D.C. regional manager

    NanoFoamer

    NanoFoamer

    The NanoFoamer is an inexpensive alternative to a steam wand to make premium cafe-quality microfoam milk for latte art at home.

    WPM Milk Pitcher

    WPM Milk Pitcher

    "WPM pitchers are THE pitcher of choice for coffee competitors. “On the technical side, they have way more variety in spout shapes and sizes and the patented slanted top allows the pitcher to be placed deeper in the cup when pouring which makes it easier to start the pour. The colors and design are also super aesthetically pleasing.” —Emilee, New York City educator

    Artpresso Design Espresso Machine 58mm Group Head Cleaning Tool

    Artpresso Design Espresso Machine 58mm Group Head Cleaning Tool

    “I’m obsessed with this cleaning tool from Artpresso! The tool has a detachable microfiber cloth which is perfect for cleaning shiny surfaces and a brush for cleaning around where it’s hard to reach. There is also a mirror on the other side to check that all coffee stains and grounds are removed when done!” —Masha, Los Angeles educator

    Besides a few pieces of equipment, you just need good coffee beans to make good coffee. You can spend a lot of money on all the brewing bells and whistles, but the coffee is really what counts. 

     

    Counter Culture is
    • pushing potential
    • freshly roasted
    • quality coffee
    • sustainably sourced
    • coffee-driven
    • people-driven
    • independently owned