There are many gadgets and accessories that can make your coffee making easier, while helping you brew the perfect cup! Here are some of them for you to consider:
While there is nothing wrong with purchasing pre-ground coffee, there’s nothing better than the taste of brew made from freshly ground coffee beans. A coffee grinder will grind roasted coffee beans into grounds that are fine, medium, or coarse.
Fine to medium grounds are best for traditional coffee makers. Those who love espresso will want to grind the beans into fine grounds, similar to sugar or salt. Coarse coffee grounds are also good for use in percolators and vacuum brewers.
There are two main types of coffee grinders. The first type is a blade grinder, which uses rotating metal blades that chop up the coffee beans. The blade grinder is the cheapest and easiest type of coffee grinder to use. Equipped with a motor and a blade, just throw in the beans, place the cover on the grinder, and push the start button.
The grinding blade rotates and breaks the coffee beans into small pieces. This type of coffee grinder allows the user to control the grind of the beans. For coarse grounds, little grinding is required. For fine espresso grounds, simply leave the grinder on for a few more seconds.
Regardless of the duration of the grind, the grounds will contain sizes ranging from powder to chunks. The difference is just the quantity of these sizes.
The second type of coffee grinder uses a grinder wheel and is called a burr coffee grinder. In order to control the level of grounds, you move the burr on the coffee grinder. There are two types of burr grinders: flat blade and conical.
The conical burr grinder has two cone-shaped burrs facing each other at a distance to determine the grind size. Coffee beans are fed between the burrs and crushed when one of the burrs rotates while the other stays stationary.
The flat blade grinder comes with two flat and parallel blade burrs that shear the coffee beans. This process leaves a more uniform and larger surface area for extraction.
Coffee grinders work in two different ways. First, there is the manual coffee grinder that has a crank attached to the side. It’s easy to use, but does require some manual labor. These types of coffee grinders are generally more time-consuming to clean.
Most people opt for the electric coffee grinder, which requires little effort to use or maintain. There are many styles and colors to suit your décor and budget. Coffee grinders range in price from $20 up to several hundred dollars.
There are definite advantages to grinding your own coffee. First, you can select the grind that suits your taste. Second, whole coffee beans hold their flavor longer than pre-ground coffee. When you grind your own beans, you can indulge in a fresher and tastier cup of brew. Third, it’s good for your senses. The smell of freshly ground beans is a great way to start your day!
If you have ever brewed a cup of coffee in an automatic or drip coffee maker, than you are probably familiar with coffee filters. A coffee filter is important because it brings out the best flavor in your coffee by catching grinds and some of the bitter taste, while allowing the flavor and color of the beans to flow through.
The most common coffee filter is the paper filter. Paper coffee filters are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, with the most common being a cone or round shape. White coffee filters are made from paper pulp which has been bleached. Some coffee drinkers feel that bleached filters have a negative affect on coffee flavor and recommend using unbleached brown coffee filters instead.
Paper coffee filters are available in different grades, allowing you to easily and quickly change the taste of your coffee by using a different grade of filter. Paper coffee filters are disposable and generally inexpensive. They can be found in most grocery stores, convenient stores, and drug stores.
An option to paper coffee filters is to use a permanent filter. Permanent coffee filters are wire mesh, made from stainless steel. These reusable filters are formed into either a basket shape or a cone shape to fit the various types of coffee makers.
Many coffee makers are now being sold with permanent coffee filters. These types of filters are easy to clean and you can simply wash them out in your sink, or pop them into your dishwasher. Permanent coffee filters do not seem to filter out the bitterness as well as paper filters and can be somewhat messy to clean. However, they can save you a bit of money and they are environmentally-friendly.
Gold coffee filters are a favorite choice amongst coffee connoisseurs. A gold-tone coffee filter is constructed from stainless steel that has been enhanced with gold plating. A Swiss gold coffee filter is made from real 23-karat gold, which gives it even more longevity. Both types of gold filters eliminate the need for a paper filter.
Those who use a gold coffee filter claim there is a definite difference in the flavor of their brews. They say it makes the coffee more lively, vibrant and complex.
One major advantage of a gold coffee filter is longevity. Another advantage is that in the long run, you’ll probably save money. Gold coffee filters range in price from $8 to $25 and can last for years.
Another advantage of a gold coffee filter is flavor enhancement. A gold coffee filter allows m
ore oils to remain in the brewed coffee, giving it a richer and more intense flavor.
Paper filters are designed to absorb a significant amount of the oil surrounding the ground and roasted coffee beans. In doing so, much of the coffee’s complex flavors that are contained in the oil are absorbed in the filter. The only downside to using a gold coffee filter is that occasionally smaller grinds escape through the filter and end up in the finished product.
Gold coffee filters are relatively easy to maintain. The only work required is to empty the used grounds and rinse thoroughly.
Last, but not least, a relatively new product on the market is the hemp coffee filter. Using high quality hemp fabric, filters are constructed as a cone or basket filter and inserted into the coffee maker just like any other filter.
Hemp coffee filters are one of the most environmentally-friendly choices you can make. You simply need to rinse them out after each use and allow to air dry. Hemp coffee filters can also be washed in a washing machine.
Hemp tea bags are also available. These are great for brewing whole leaf tea and are suitable for a quick cup of tea or a full pot. Another use for hemp tea bags is to fill them with dried herbs, such as lavender or cinnamon, and toss them in the bath water for a relaxing herbal bath.
Hemp coffee filters and tea bags can oftentimes be found in health food stores, or grocery chains such as Wild Oats or Trader Joes. If you can’t find any in your area, type in “hemp coffee filters” at your favorite search engine and you’re certain to find exactly what you are looking for.
Ceramic Coffee Canisters
Proper coffee storage can make a considerable difference in how your coffee tastes. Regardless of whether you prefer whole beans or ground, coffee should always be stored in an airtight ceramic canister that blocks light. It should also have a rubber seal around the lid so air cannot get inside.
Avoid using plastic or metal containers for coffee storage. These materials can alter the taste of your coffee. It’s okay to use glass containers; however, if you use clear glass, keep the light away by storing them in a cabinet or pantry.
Ground coffee will only retain its freshness for a few days after it has been exposed to air. The truth is trying to keep ground coffee fresh is next to impossible. If you feel you must use pre-ground coffee, then purchase small amounts and replenish every few days.
Freezing coffee is a bad idea. It will not help preserve the coffee and can actually harm the coffee. Water molecules attach to the coffee and the packaging. When water comes into contact with the surface of a coffee bean, ice forms around it. When the ice melts, it is absorbed into the coffee, deteriorating the taste and quality.
You don’t want to store your coffee in the ‘fridge either. It’s the same concept as above; except in the refrigerator coffee is subjected to the constant cold mist inside the refrigerator. In terms of coffee storage, water is coffee’s worst enemy.
In order to measure out your coffee, it’s best to use a coffee scoop. Coffee scoops are constructed from wood, plastic, copper or stainless steel. They are available in measurements of one or two tablespoons. Some are rounded, others have a cone shape.
Espresso scoops are oftentimes found with a scoop at each end. One scoop measures one tablespoon, while the other scoop measures two tablespoons for a double shot.
In order to make the perfect cup of coffee, it’s important to use the proper water to coffee measurement. To make drip coffee, the measurement is 3 ounces of coffee to 8 ounces of water.
You can find a vast array of coffee scoops in retail stores, grocery chains, and specialty shops. Some of the best and most unique coffee scoops can be found in coffee shops or via the Internet.
Coffee Mugs and Cups
In order to drink your coffee, you need to have some type of container from which to drink it. Coffee mugs and cups are available in just about any form and made from a wide range of materials.
Coffee cups are generally smaller and hold about 5-ounces of coffee. Coffee mugs are larger and hold between 8- and 16-ounces of steamy brew. Travel mugs are ideal for those who want to take their coffee along with them. Travel mugs generally have a handle and a lid with an opening that can be closed with a snap top. They are usually insulated and constructed from plastic or stainless steel.
Many people enjoy sipping their favorite brew from a personalized coffee mug. Personalized coffee mugs can be found in specialty stores or ordered on-line from coffee retailers. There are many creative coffee cups and mugs available. There is no wrong or right coffee drinking vessel. Just choose one that you like and that works best for your needs.
Coffee Service Ensemble
A coffee service ensemble is essential when serving coffee or tea to family, friends, neighbors or business associates. A traditional coffee service consists of a serving tray, coffee or tea pot, sugar bowl, cream pitcher and serving utensils.
Coffee service ensembles are generally made from sterling silver or porcelain. Coffee and tea pitchers have a handle, spout and a lid that can be opened by pressing a lever with the thumb. Sugar bowls have either a small set of tongs for removing sugar cubes, or a teaspoon for serving sugar granules. Cream pitchers have a handle and spout and oftentimes have a lid similar to the coffee pot.
Coffee service ensembles are not as popular as in the past; however, they can still be found in fine department stores, some retail outlets and on-line auctions. Oftentimes coffee service ensembles can be located through public auctions, estate sales, and antique stores.
If you entertain on a regular basis, a coffee service ensemble is a must-have. Coffee service ensembles provide you with the opportunity to make an elegant coffee or tea presentation. Using an ensemble has a tendency to make you and your guests feel like royalty, so if you can find a nice service at a reasonable price, consider making the investment.
French Press Coffee Maker
A French press coffee maker is a really simple, yet effective way to brew coffee. Simply pour hot water into the carafe, add coarse ground coffee directly into the water, than install the lid/plunger assembly.
After the coffee has brewed for 3 to 4 minutes, press down the plunger and a fine mesh screen forces the grounds to the bottom of the carafe. French press coffee is smooth and silky, with a light mouth-feel and intoxicating aroma.
Electric French press coffee makers are just as easy to use as a regular coffee pot or coffee maker, but it makes your coffee taste a lot better. You can also brew tea and soups in a French press coffee maker.
Electric French press coffee makers are a great addition to any kitchen and take up less space than a regular coffee pot. They are generally quite elegant looking and range in price for $29.95 to $89.95.
Last, but not least, a great coffee press alternative is travel press coffee maker. This unique gadget holds 8-ounces of freshly pressed coffee and features a double-walled design that provides insulation to keep the coffee hot.
Stovetop Espresso Maker
A stovetop espresso maker is a must have if you love aromatic and tasteful coffee. Also known as “macchinetta” or “moka pot”, the stovetop espresso maker is one of the most popular ways to make espresso at home. This type of espresso maker is great for brewing and frothing the old fashioned way. Stovetop espresso makers are also great to take along when traveling or camping.
The stovetop espresso maker does not brew actual espresso, but a strong, Italian style coffee. It works by creating pressure through heat to force water through finely ground coffee and into a serving chamber.
The stovetop espresso maker consists of three sections. The bottom section holds the water. Ground coffee is placed in a funnel shape filter in the mid-section. The upper part receives the brewed coffee.
The top section screws onto the bottom part, holding the filter in between. The espresso maker is placed on the stove and as the water boils, pressure increases in the bottom part, pushing the water through the coffee into the top reservoir.
It’s important to note that many of the stovetop espresso makers sold in the United States are constructed using cheap aluminum. Coffee interacts with aluminum and will leave a bad flavor in your coffee. If you’re going to purchase a stovetop espresso maker, invest in one which is constructed from food grade stainless steel.
Home Coffee Roaster
Many people are turning to home roasting their coffee. It’s really quite simple and cost-effective, and it gives you much better control over the quality and roast of the coffee. Home roasting can be as easy as making popcorn and only takes between 6 and 16 minutes. You can roast enough in one batch for several days enjoyment and the results are equal to (and often fresher than) professionally roasted coffees.
Coffee roasters range from stovetop poppers to roasting drums. Prices range from $39 to $699. If you decide to become involved in home roasting, it’s wise to do your homework on the various types of roasters and roasting methods.
One thing you will need for certain is a thermometer that reads up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also need a scale that weighs in pounds and grams.
Roasting coffee at home requires the use of green coffee beans. On average green coffee beans cost between 20- to 40-percent less than roasted beans. If you drink a lot of coffee, you can obtain significant savings by roasting your own beans. And, you receive an additional bonus of “coffee aromatherapy” as the roast fills your home with the delightful scent of coffee.