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Coffee

Counter Culture Coffee Staff Recommendations

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 some solid options:

    $ 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

    $$$ Fellow Ode Brew Grinder

    Image of the Black Fellow Ode Brew Grinder

    “For the folks looking to splash out on their home coffee setup, the Fellow Ode grinder is the cleanest and quietest home grinder I have used. It has a small footprint and looks slick.”—Christy, marketing manager

    $$$ Comandante C40 MK4 Hand Grinder

    Comandante C40 MK4 Hand Grinder

    “I’ve had my Comandante grinder for over seven years and it still grinds perfectly. It’s easy to take apart and clean and it’s great for traveling. The build quality is amazing and it produces fantastic tasting coffees. I’ve gone through many cheap hand grinders before finally deciding to invest in this one and haven’t had a day of buyers remorse. Another amazing thing is that the most fragile part — the little container it grinds into — is a cheap and easy to source 2oz glass jar you can replace easily and not some custom made expensive part only sold by the manufacturer, clever and consumer friendly design!”—Bas, Washington D.C. equipment tech

    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

    “I’ve had my Bonavita Kettle for over a decade and it’s still going strong. It heats up quickly, has adjustable temperature controls, and holds the set temperature for up to an hour.”—Helen, wholesale tech specialist

    $$$ 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. You can get the regular Stagg and save a little, or get the Pro for some additional features.”—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:

    Auto-Drip

    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. 

    Learn about brewing the best coffee with an auto-drip coffee maker

    $$ Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup Drip Coffee Brewer One-Touch

    Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup Drip Coffee Brewer One-Touch

    "The Bonavita 8-Cup Brewer is the best, and my favorite, home coffee maker.”—Jeff, Eastern coffee manager

    $$ OXO 8-Cup Coffee Maker

    OXO 8-CUP COFFEE MAKER

    “I have an OXO 8-cup brewer and the best feature is that it comes with a basket insert that uses 185 Kalita Wave filters. It makes pretty decent single cups, and really good batch brews.”—Brian, New York City equipment technician

    $$$ 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

    Manual Brewers

    Six-Cup Classic Chemex

    Six-Cup Classic Chemex

    I enjoy using the Chemex when I want to make something special while hosting friends for brunch or even after dinner. I love letting a pour-over shine while also being able to brew enough for multiple people. It's simple to use and delivers a great cup of coffee hot as well as over ice.”—Elisabeth, Washington D.C. regional sales and account manager

    Learn how to brew perfect coffee with a Chemex

    Etkin 8-Cup Coffee Dripper

    Etkin 8-Cup Coffee Dripper

    "I love the Etkin. You can brew delicious pour over quality coffee for many people and it has an amazing fast drawn down time. It’s also beautiful 😍"—Jamie, Durham 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, divisional wholesale manager 

    Learn about brewing the perfect pour-over

    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, San Fransisco and Seattle regional sales and account manager

    Origami Dripper

    Origami Dripper

    "The first thing that I noticed about the Origami Dripper was it's striking Japanese design. This brewer truly ups the aesthetic of your kitchen or cafe counter. With a full spectrum of color options, you might have trouble choosing just one (like I did). Beyond its looks, the Origami Dripper provides versatility in brewing through the choice of using either a conical or flat bed filter. I've found that it produces a cup that is a perfect balance between sweet and vibrant."—Susie, wholesale customer experience associate

    OREA V3

    OREA Brewer V3 MK2

    “Anything from OREA is awesome! I’ve used the V3 as my daily driver for over a year now.”—Jo, Charleston equipment technician 

    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

    “The 2-in-1 aspect of the Switch is fun to play with and great for those of us to don't have very much kitchen space and want to keep our at home coffee bar minimal yet functional!”—Ryann, Washington D.C. equipment technician

    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 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 how to brew 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. 

    Learn about the history and how to best brew espresso

    $ 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 and the one we recommend the most for home consumers because of its price point and ease of use. It’s also the machine we teach on in our coffee-at-home classes!

    $$$ Decent Espresso Machine

    Decent Espresso DE1PRO 

    “The Decent Espresso Machine is the Tesla of espresso machines. With the possibilities of extraction almost endless, this little machine can do everything a $20K machine could do and MORE. The Decent is a fun espresso machine, and the nerdier you are about espresso, data, and programming the more fun you will find it. If you like to tinker with your espresso, there is no other machine (at any price point!) that gives you the options you have with the Decent.” Matty, Miami sales and account manager

    $$$$ La Marzocco Linea Micra

    La Marzocco Linea Micra

    La Marzocco is synonymous with espresso. The Linea Micra is the newest La Marzocco machine and is a tiny, kitchen-sized version of the Linea Classic. It looks as beautiful as it performs, ready to serve for years to come.

    Learn all about the history of espresso machines

    Other Brewing Gear

    Baratza Single Dose Hopper

    Baratza Single Dose Hopper

    If you have a Baratza grinder, we recommend their single-dose hoppers. You can get one for their conical burr grinders or the Sette grinders. It allows you to measure out and single dose only the coffee beans you need for your brewing recipe so you can 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. 

    Hyperchiller

    Hyperchiller

    “The Hyperchiller is a really cool way to make flash brew at home! It’s the perfect gift for an iced coffee lover. After you make your coffee, this cools it down fast so that you aren’t diluting a recipe with ice.”—Jacqueline, Dallas regional educator

    Melodrip

    Melodrip

    “I competed in the Brewer’s Cup using a Melodrip and I think it’s a really fun little gadget. It’s easy to use for anyone looking into upping their brew game and not crazy expensive either.”—Mary, coffee roaster

    WPM Milk Pitcher

    WPM Milk Pitcher

    "WPM pitchers are my go to for fancy latte art and solid production pour. The aggressive angle and spout options let me get into pouring great designs with as much detail and control that I need. Bonus is a simple graduated line and the color options. Get the Rose Gold!” —Joseph, Boston regional sales and account 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.

    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

    Sibarist Filters

    Sibarist FAST Specialty Coffee Filters

    “I am a huge fan of Sibarist filters for their fast flow design. It helps me to reduce bypass, and also when brewing highly soluble coffees. I have gotten some really juicy cups using smaller grind sizes, shorter ratios all with minimal astringency! My only qualm is that they are expensive.”—Jacob, New York City 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. 

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