I'm not sure, but one of the things that have kept many of us healthy in these strange, not-so-wonderful times is coffee and tea. In addition to the caffeine energy lift (for those of us who take it with caffeine) soaking up hot liquids can be relaxing, while iced coffee or tea can be very refreshing.
With that in mind, we asked The Verge staff to tell us about their favorite coffee and tea brewers, grinders, and other paraphernalia. If you are an enthusiast too, we hope you enjoy looking at some of the devices we love to use for our daily infusions. If you don't, you might get some ideas to try.
Bialetti Express Moka Pot
As a stupid American of the Midwest, my first introduction to the moka pot came with my very first trip to Europe to cover the Mobile World Congress smartphone convention. I had no idea what I was doing, was traveling alone and found that my little hotel room didn't have a boring coffee machine in the hotel room, but this Bialetti thing and a small stove.
I found out with a little googling and immediately fell in love. It works by heating the water at the bottom, which goes through a chamber with the coffee and then into the jug at the top. The coffee it makes is a kind of stopover between a percolator infusion and an espresso. Once you figure it out, the result is a rich, full-bodied, yet clean cup.
It takes a little time to get it, but it's worth it. Once you've figured out how not to overheat this thing and make the coffee, you'll get a feel for how to “dial in” a recipe. You can experiment with just a few variables instead of the seemingly endless talking about the coffee nerds with infusion systems. It shows you a little bit of how coffee is more accessible.
Plus, it's a pretty, elegant thing to have on your stove. It makes a satisfying little percolator sound when it's done and it feels a lot more satisfying than when you use it from your regular Mr. Coffee drip brewer.
AeroPress coffee machine
For years I only drank coffee at home brewed in a Bialetti Moka pot. But since I've been working from home and reliably brewing two cups of coffee a day, I've almost completely switched to an old AeroPress that I had hidden in a closet.
My switch had nothing to do with taste – although I think the AeroPress makes great coffee for what it's worth. Instead, it had all to do with how easy it is to clean. After you've squeezed the plunger and added all of your brewed coffee to a cup, you can pull the lid off the AeroPress and dip the remaining bottom straight into your food waste bin. Rinse the whole thing quickly and it can be used again. Perfect if your household prepares many individual cups of coffee throughout the day.
If you feel like it, there are tons of AeroPress recipes to try that vary how coarsely you grind your coffee, how much coffee you use, how hot your water is, or how long you let it brew. Here is one such video with nine recipes. Once you get bored and want to exercise caution, there are a few apps that will automatically generate AeroPress coffee recipes. I use Aeroprecipe for Android, but there is also CoffeeDice for iOS.
Is it annoying never to know what type of coffee you're getting every time you make one? A little bit, but if you go crazy after working from home non-stop for six months, a little variation on your coffee isn't a bad thing.
International news writer
Hario V60 ceramic coffee dripper
It took me a while to get past the idea that I didn't need expensive machines to make a good cup of coffee. That changed when I saw some of my favorite cafes freshly poured a simple drip filter over each cup. At best, it tastes almost exactly how the coffee smells.
So I spent about $ 20 on a Hario V60 ceramic filter in hopes of replicating the results at home and I couldn't be happier with every cup I drink. I've had great results with Stumptown's El Injerto Bourbon Guatemalan coffee from a single source, but really any decent coffee bean will make a good cup.
This is the opposite of a hands-free method of making coffee. I need to grind enough beans for a cup and then put them in a paper filter that slides into the cone-shaped ceramic filter. As soon as the water has boiled on the stove, I have to slowly pour something over the coffee little by little until the cup is full. It's not a foolproof method either. On tired days, I accidentally poured too much water into it, which left coffee grounds in the cup. I also threw the filter out of the cup completely, which leaves a really wonderful mess that is the first thing in the morning to be pleasantly dealt with.
But on good days it takes no more than five minutes to prepare each cup. This may seem like too big of an obligation for you, but I find investing some time in something that provides energy is a worthwhile ritual.
Melitta single-cup brewer
All coffee pourers should be like this. The Melitta single-cup pour-over coffee machine has two large holes in the base so that light shines into your cup and you can see how full it is and when you have to stop pouring.
After one too many overflows with my old, inferior brewer, I finally switched to this one a few years ago and was very happy. The Melitta is light without being thin, inexpensive and ideal for camping trips.
VP, The Verge
Capresso Infinity conical burr grinder
In my household we use a French press, and until recently we just went to the local supermarket and grind a pound of coffee with their machine. However, when the pandemic broke out, the supermarket was stripped of its grinder – I think it could be a source of transmission – and we had nowhere on site to grind coffee beans as coarsely as a French press needs. So we watched a ton of YouTube videos explaining how grinders work and what type to buy, renting over the prices of most of them advertised, and finally settling on the Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder.
This is by no means a top notch grinder. It uses metal burrs 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 couple of trial runs we learned how to use it to grind coffee beans to a decent coarseness and can now drink our morning coffee straight from the beans.
Ikea product milk frother
I'm usually the no-frills coffee type: I order normal filter coffee with a dash of milk. But if you want to transform your morning bowl into something fancier, my wife swears by this fun little milk frother from Ikea. Ikea is usually a hit or miss when it comes to quality, but this nozzle has taken us a couple of years now. All it takes is two AA batteries and your milk is suddenly whipped into a pile of foam. Add the coffee and voila: instant sophistication.
Andrew J. Hawkins
Stagg KEG kettle by Fellow
Let me start by saying that you should definitely get a kettle for boiling water even if you are not trying to improve your coffee game. It's far more useful than you might expect when it comes to making very hot water fast.
Also let me say that paying $ 149 for a kettle is objectively insane and you are at serious risk of being labeled a coffee snob. But if you can swing it, the Stagg EKG is a nice kettle. It has just the right controls: a simple button to set the temperature that doubles as an on / off button and a timer when you long press it. On the back there is a switch for metric or imperial units and another switch that you can use to set the kettle to hold its temperature for up to an hour.
You buy it for its elegant, simple operation, but you also buy it because it's a beautiful, well-made item. It's incredibly well designed, and while it doesn't contain as much water as some others, it does keep the water at exactly the temperature you set it to be. I prefer the gooseneck version as it's easier to pour over fiddly things.
It has quickly become the default option for many people who drink coffee, and for a good reason: it's great. Expensive! But great.
Cold brew filter bag made of organic cotton
I used to not be as efficient in cold brewing. After months of finding coffee grounds in my coffee, I decided to upgrade to this cheap alternative, which completely changed my cold brew game. Gone are the days when mesh screens were used to filter my beers. I just remove the bag after 12 to 24 hours of soaking and voila: great bottomless cold brew. I used to be a cold brew drinker only in the summer, but when I add this pouch to my routine I think the cold brew season will be much longer than it has been in the past.
Buddeez coffee and more dispensers
Okay I admit it. Until recently, I was something of a coffee dilettante. I didn't buy fresh coffee beans, ground exactly the amount I needed, heated the water to just the right temperature, and preheated the French press before brewing. Instead, I got a pound of pre-ground coffee at the local grocery store and stored it in this cheap but extremely useful plastic container made of plastic.
This is how it works: When I brought the bag of coffee home, I opened the bag, folded it back a little from the top, and then put it in the plastic dispenser. When I closed the cover, an extension at the bottom of the cover held the bag open. After that, when I wanted coffee, I just had to open a small door on top of the cover, spoon out as much coffee grounds as needed from the open bag, and close the door again. It came in handy and the coffee stayed fresh (or as fresh as pre-ground coffee can be).
In the past six months my household has switched to real coffee beans and a grinder. (But no, we don't preheat the French press – I have limits, after all.) As a result, our little plastic coffee dispenser seems to have outlived its usefulness. But that's ok. We'll find something else to use it for.
Photo: East Fork
I drink a lot of tea in the morning and I like fancy cups. My favorite lately has been East Fork's handmade mug – called "The Mug" – a wonderful, good-looking way to enjoy your favorite hot beverage.
Is it expensive at $ 36? Yes. Does it work practically the same as a mug that costs one sixth the price? Also yes. But the clay is thick and heavy and keeps my tea warm and my hands unburned. The design is beautiful, with smooth, rounded edges and a sturdy handle. And the speckled glazes (especially the lighter, seasonal colors) look amazing.
(NOTE: The East Fork mug and other pottery are currently sold out, however, according to the company, presale is open on Sunday, October 25th.)
Chaim Garden Mountain
A coffee bean subscription
Yes plz coffee by subscription
Photo: Yes Plz
You can buy all of the fancy coffee equipment in the world, but if you don't use decent beans you will only ever get this far. (Remember this old saying, "garbage in, garbage out.") Good beans can mean different things to different people, but basically you want something that has been recently roasted (freshness is a ton) and not overroasted. as some big coffee chains that happen to be from Seattle like to do.
The easiest way to get coffee beans on a regular basis is to bring them home to me regularly at a cadence. 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 in my house so we can easily go through a 12 ounce bag every week. Usually two bags are delivered every two weeks to keep me in stock without having to keep them for too long.
The best coffee bean services roast and ship the same day and can get them to you in just a day or two depending on where you live. (I'm in New York, so east coast roasters work best for me, especially if shipping times are extended during the pandemic.) Most give you a choice of blends or single-origin beans, with each order or each Order the same beans to arrive In some cases different varieties depending on seasonal availability. You pay a little more for this convenience than buying the beans at a store, but you also avoid having to walk to the store at the last minute hoping they have the beans on the shelf that you like. (Or if I live and have to settle for the sub-par month-long beans, the local grocery stores are on their shelves.)
I've had good results ordering beans from Blue Bottle, Yes Plz, Counter Culture, and Bixby Coffee (not related to Samsung's virtual assistant of the same name, but he has a dog as his mascot). My current plan, however, is Irving Farm, a New York-based roaster.
Deputy Editor in Chief