We normally don’t do product reviews or suggestions, but we wanted to help equip you with some holiday ideas if you are looking to improve your coffee experience at home. You can always improve your coffee experience first by purchasing fresh Banyan Coffee, but we will assume you already are. We have many conversations about our coffee recommendations and how to correctly brew the best cup. So this year we wanted to switch gears and help discuss equipment with our readers. If there is something you want more information on please email us. We also have some of these products online at our coffee store.
The Baratza Encore burr grinder is affordable considering its 40 grind settings to supply a wide range of coffee types and brewing styles. For home use this is one of the best coffee grinders on the market. The grounds are consistent and the machine is built sturdy to last. The only drawback that we have with it is the time it takes to grind the coffee. If you are not willing to spend $130 on a grinder you may want to try the Krups Precision Grinder. Krups Precision Grinder is less than half the price of the Baratza Encore. It has a burr grinder which makes all the difference if you are spending the money on a quality purchase.. Unlike blade grinders they are more consistent with even grounds. The blade grinder heats the coffee bean as it rotates too. If you’re going to spend money on a grinder make sure it is the right one. Think: Burr grinder every time!
Do you have young kids or plan to travel? A hand grinder will do the job with a little more effort in the morning. Your kids won’t wake up to the noise of coffee grinding in the morning, too. It’s also easy to pack in your suitcase if you travel. Nailing down a great hand grinder can be difficult based on cost. If price is no object then go for the Kinu M47 ($250). This impressive unit will grind for anything you want, even espresso. However, it’s at the most high end of hand grinders. Porlex Mini is another option that could fit your budget ($80) easier. If any of these grinders are out of your range try to shoot for a $40 hand grinder at least. Anything less expensive is really not worth the money. We offer a Hario Coffee Grinder Mini Slim Plus ($40) for a budget friendly hand grinder at our Banyan Coffee store
Probably the most overlooked item when it comes to coffee is a scale. A scale will maintain consistency in your coffee brew. Make sure you get one that measures grams and ounces because we weigh our coffee and water at these units. When we do our pour over coffee we measure 22 grams of ground coffee and 360 grams of water to make our cup of coffee. Without a scale this would be nearly impossible to do and recreate every morning. A scale is a small investment that is overlooked. We offer great scale that includes a built-in timer at our coffee shop.
If you’re looking for an espresso machine you need to do your own research. We can only recommend machines that we have previously owned. For home use, the Rancilio Silva espresso coffee machine ($750) is a great product. It does consistent quality espresso shots and holds up for the long haul. In order to extract quality espresso shots you need a good espresso grinder. We recommend the Baratza Vario-W coffee grinder ($550), because it’s a beast for home use, and their customer service was great. This grinder has multiple time settings to keep your weight consistent. We talk a lot about consistency in coffee because the smallest error will change your coffee characteristics.
If you find an espresso machine under $500 then the chances are your shot quality and steaming will be lacking. The budget espresso machines are underpowered with small boilers and plastic parts. Save your money for something bigger. The Cafelat Robot espresso machine is a manual press without a boiler, and you can snag this for around $400. The hot water comes from your kettle pot instead of an internal boiler. The Robot is all metal (except a few rubber gaskets), easy to clean up after use, and pulls a great espresso shot. We use the Baratza Encore grinder to dial in our shot without using a true espresso grinder.
Some great stocking stuffers
Hario V60 ($20)– This is the way we brew our coffee at home and at the farmer’s market, upon request. This method works great for light to medium roast coffee. Check it out at our store here.
Bodum French Press ($40)– This is great for medium to dark roast coffee. It makes a very strong cup of coffee.
Coffee Obsession, by Anette Moldvaer ($20)– This book is probably the Bible to coffee. It has so much information. It discusses the coffee countries, a brief history of coffee, production of coffee, and how to make coffee drinks. It’s a complete guide to learning about coffee from all over the world and has influenced us to focus on single origin coffee for our Bradenton coffee community.
If you have any questions about products that we listed here or any coffee equipment questions about products we didn’t mention, please email us and we will be glad to help you find what you may need. As a coffee roaster, we focus a lot on the coffee beans, but having the right equipment can be just as important in your coffee experience.