The staff of The Verge talks about their favorite coffee and tea brewers, grinders, and other paraphernalia, including the Moka pot, the AeroPress, and an Ikea frother,
I’m not sure about you, but one of the things that has been keeping many of us sane during these weird, not-so-wonderful times, is coffee and tea. Besides the caffeine energy lift (for those of us who take it with caffeine), the imbibing of hot liquids can be relaxing, while iced coffee or tea can be very refreshing.
With that in mind, we’ve asked the staff of The Verge to tell us about their favorite coffee and tea brewers, grinders, and other paraphernalia. If you’re also an enthusiast, we hope you’ll enjoy looking over some of the gadgets that we enjoying using for our daily infusions. If you’re not, maybe this will give you some ideas of things to try.
As a dumb Midwestern American, my first introduction to the Moka Pot came with my very first European trip to Barcelona to cover the Mobile World Congress smartphone convention. I had no idea what I was doing, was traveling alone, and discovered my little hotel room didn’t have a boring hotel room coffee maker but this Bialetti thing and a small stove.
I figured it out with some googling and immediately fell in love. It works by heating the water below, which passes through a chamber with the coffee and then up into the pot above. The coffee it makes is a sort of halfway in between a percolator-style brew and an espresso. It makes a rich, full-bodied yet clean cup once you figure it out.
Getting it takes a little doing, but it’s worth it. Once you figure out how not to overheat the thing and boil the coffee, you start to get a feel for “dialing in” 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 a little bit about how coffee works in a more accessible way.
Also, it’s a pretty, elegant thing to have on your stove. It makes a satisfying little percolator noise when it’s ready, and it feels way more satisfying than your standard Mr. Coffee drip brewer to use.
For years, I only ever drank coffee at home that was brewed in a Bialetti Moka pot. But since working from home and finding myself reliably making two cups of coffee a day, I’ve switched almost completely to using an old AeroPress I had tucked away in a cupboard.
My switch 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 how easy it is to clean. After you’ve depressed its plunger and gotten all your brewed coffee into a mug, you can whip the AeroPress’ lid off and plunge the remaining grounds straight into your food waste bin. Give the whole thing a quick rinse, and it’s ready to be used again, perfect if your household makes lots of individual cups of coffee throughout the day.
If you want to get fancy with it, there are a ton of AeroPress recipes you can try out, 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 brew. Here’s one such video of nine recipes. Then, once you’re bored of those and want to throw caution to the wind, there are a couple of apps that auto-generate AeroPress coffee recipes. I use Aeroprecipe for Android, but there’s also CoffeeDice for iOS.
Is it a little annoying never knowing what kind of coffee you’re going to get every time you make one? A little, but when you’re going stir-crazy after working from home continuously for six months, a little variation in your coffee is no bad thing.
International news writer
It took me a while to move past 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 coffee shops made each cup fresh pour-over style with a simple drip filter. At best, it tastes almost exactly like the coffee smells.
So I shelled out $20 or so for a Hario V60 ceramic drip filter, hoping to replicate the results at home, and I couldn’t be happier with each cup I drink. I’ve gotten great results with Stumptown’s single-origin El Injerto Bourbon Guatemalan coffee, but really any decent coffee beans will turn out a good cup.
Now, this is quite the opposite of a hands-free way to make coffee. I have to grind enough beans for a cup, then dump it into a paper filter that slides into the ceramic cone-shaped filter. Once the water is boiled on the range, then I have to slowly pour some over the coffee, little by little, until the cup is full. It’s not a fool-proof method, either. On tired days, I’ve accidentally poured too much water in, which causes coffee grounds to go into the cup. I’ve also totally knocked the filter off the cup, which leaves a truly glorious mess that’s just pleasant to deal with first thing in the morning.
But on good days, it takes no more than five minutes to make each cup. That might be too much of a commitment for you, but I find putting some time into something that will yield energy to be a worthwhile ritual.
All pour-over coffee brewers should be like this one. The Melitta single-cup pour-over coffee brewer has got two big holes in the base so that light shines into your cup and you can tell how full it is and when to stop pouring.
After one too many overflows with my old, inferior brewer, I finally upgraded to this one a couple of years ago and have been very happy. The Melitta is light without being flimsy, inexpensive, and great for camping trips.
VP, The Verge
In my household, we use a French press, and until recently, we simply went to the local supermarket and used their machine to grind a pound of coffee. However, when the pandemic hit, the supermarket got rid of its grinder — I guess it thought it might be a source of transmission — and we didn’t have any place local that would grind coffee beans to the coarseness needed by a French press. So we watched a ton of YouTube videos explaining how grinders worked and what type you should buy, laughed at the prices of most of the ones they were touting, and finally decided upon the Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder.
This isn’t a top-of-the-line grinder by any means; it uses metal rather than ceramic burrs (and no, I’m not going to explain what a burr is; look it up), and it’s really hard to clean. But after a few trial runs, we’ve learned how to use it to grind coffee beans to a decent coarseness and can now have our…
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