10 Best Coffee Accessories for Coffee Lovers
According to estimates from the International Coffee Organization, over 1.6 billion cups of coffee are consumed every single day around the world. These statistics mean that coffee is the second most widely consumed drink globally, and it comes second only to water.
But, as popular as coffee might be, to make it at home, office or even in a restaurant or café, you need to have the best coffee accessories.
Turning coffee beans into that dark and rich drink takes quite some effort, and the process starts with roasting the beans and ends with extracting them.
At all the different stages of coffee making, there are different kinds of accessories that you will need and each has a distinct role to play. If you are a coffee "addict" that wants to have the best coffee making set up, this piece is for you as here we explain the must-have coffee accessories.
10 Best Coffee Accessories
Ultimately, the kind of coffee accessories that you will need to make coffee will depend on things like the coffee making method you will be using, how much coffee you want to make, the coffee type and your budget. But overall, the following are the most important and common coffee accessories.
Coffee making for most coffee lovers always starts with grinding coffee beans as many people prefer to buy roasted beans.
Grinders are an important part of the process because they allow you to get the grind consistency you need for a particular brew given that different brewing methods require different grind sizes. For example, the French press requires coarse grinds while espresso is made with fine grinds and Turkish coffee will require you to have super fine grinds.
When picking coffee grinders, you will need to consider factors like the size and also choose between manual and automatic grinders and the blade and burr grinders.
Manual vs. Automatic Grinders
The source of power for your grinder matters a lot as it will determine the ease of use, grinding speed and user convenience. Here you often need to choose between manual and automatic grinders and each will have both pros and cons.
Manual grinders are the oldest type of the two and are the kind that will require some muscle power to grind the beans as you have to turn a crank.
The manual grinders give you more control over the process and are also often made to be more compact and portable and from highly durable materials. However, these grinders have a smaller capacity than the automatic ones and will take more effort and time to grind.
Automatic grinders, on the other hand, have a motor that is electricity or battery powered and they grind faster than the manual ones and also have a larger capacity which makes them more ideal for commercial use. But, they can be quite noisy and are generally pricier than the manual ones.
Blade vs. Burr Grinders
Blade grinders are the more basic type of the two and they use a fast rotating blade to chop down the beans into smaller particles. While blade grinders are also cheaper than the burr grinders, they produce inconsistent grinds and can heat them up which can result in bitter tasting coffee.
Burr grinders are more popular than the blade grinders but also a little pricier. They grind beans by crushing them between two ceramic or stainless steel burrs. Many coffee lovers prefer burr grinders as they deliver more uniform grinds. These grinders are available in flat and conical types.
2. Coffee Maker
Coffee makers are probably what comes to mind when you think about shopping for the best coffee gadgets because even if you have everything else you cannot make coffee without a coffee maker.
When it comes to coffee makers you will have a variety of options to choose from and your choice will depend on the kind of coffee you prefer, your budget and what you find most convenient. Here are some of the most popular coffee maker types
French Press – The French press is one of the oldest types of coffee makers, and it will consist of a cylindrical glass or stainless steel beaker, plunger and a mesh filter. To make coffee, you only need to add grounds in the beaker, pour in hot water, steep for a few minutes and then push the plunger down.
Moka Pot – Moka pots are portable espresso-style coffee makers that are often stovetop coffee makers and will have three chambers which are the bottom one for water, a middle one for coffee grind and the top one where the brewed coffee collects.
Pour Over – With the pour over coffee makers, the process is more straightforward as you only need to place a conical paper filter over a beaker or a mug, add coffee grinds and then pour water over the grinds slowly which will then drip into the beaker or mug as coffee.
Percolator – Percolators are quite similar to Moka pots but they make straight coffee and not espresso like the latter. These coffee makers brew coffee by dripping hot water over grounds suspended on a chamber over the water continuously. And so the resulting brew is often quite strong.
Cold Brewers – Cold brewers make coffee using cold water, and so they have the longest brewing time as they can take anywhere from 6 to 24 hours to make coffee. But, you can still make cold brew by steeping coffee grinds in cold water in a beaker without necessary buying a cold brewer.
Drip Coffee Maker – Drip coffee makers are the standard coffee makers you are likely to find in most homes and they make some great coffee with little effort. There are different kinds of drip coffee makers and they are typically either automatic or manual and other coffee makers like the single-serve that use k-cups and Nespresso pods can also fall in this category.
Vacuum Coffee Makers – Unless you are a true coffee fanatic, the chances are that you cannot tell that the vacuum or siphon coffee maker is used for making coffee when you first see it as it looks like a science experiment set up. These coffee makers have two chambers which are one for water and the other for grinds and they make coffee by heating the water to create pressure that pushes steam to the chamber with grinds to extract coffee.
A rich and tasty espresso at the start of the day will always give you the kick you need to face the day ahead and everything that it comes with. To truly enjoy espresso, you need a good espresso machine.
Espresso machines come in different types from different brands, but they are often categorized into four main types which are manual, semi-automatic, fully-automatic and super-automatic machines.
Manual Espresso Machines
Manual espresso machines are the perfect tool for an experienced barista because with the right skills you can produce some of the most flavorful and best-tasting espressos. These espresso machines are pump driven and they allow the user to control everything from the brewing temperature and extraction time to the amount of pressure used.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
With the semi-automatic machines, the coffee making process is a lot easier as they have an automated system that drives the water through the grouphead when pulling a shot. However, like the manual types, other things like the grinding, tamping and controlling the extraction time are still the responsibility of the barista.
Fully-Automatic Espresso Machines
The fully automatic espresso machines have been designed to do most of the work for you at the push of a button. They are quite similar to the semi-automatic machines with the most notable difference being that they also have automatic water flow stop to ensure a consistent volume of water in each shot. With these machines, you do not have to stand there and wait to stop water flow to prevent overflow.
Super Automatic Espresso Machines
For the espresso lovers looking for a machine that does everything for them, the super automatic ones are a perfect choice. These machines will grind the beans, tamp the grinds into a portafilter and then pull a shot. All you need to do is push a button and leave the machine to do the rest.
4. Milk Frother
Cappuccinos and lattes are some of the most popular coffee-based beverages, but to make them you need to froth milk. What this means is that if you like these beverages, a milk frother will be one of the best coffee accessories for you.
Some espresso machines will include a built-in steam wand and milk reservoir that will provide what you need to steam and froth milk for your beverages. However, if you are using other coffee makers like the Moka pot or your espresso machine does not have a milk frother, you have to buy one separately.
When choosing a milk frother, you should always read coffee accessories reviews to determine the best models to buy. But, the best frothers are those that come in a compact and easy to use design and create a thick enough froth.
Also, the battery-powered models are more convenient as they do not require plugging in but they might not be as powerful as the corded types.
Unless you are using the drip coffee makers or espresso machines with built-in water reservoirs or others that require you to add water before you start brewing, you will need a kettle.
A kettle allows you to heat water for different coffee-making methods such as French press, pour-over and when using a manual espresso machine without a built-in boiler.
Also, besides heating water, kettles can also be functional. For example, the gooseneck kettles with a long, curved spout are perfect for pour-over coffee making as they make it easy to control the pouring speed and how the water flows.
Choosing a Good Kettle
As you choose a kettle for coffee making, you will need to consider things like the material used, capacity and heat retention capability. For the material, stainless steel makes some of the best kettles as it is durable and highly resistant to corrosion.
When it comes to capacity, you should not settle for something with a capacity of less than 1 liter. And the longer the kettle can retain the temperature the better, as this ensures excellent and consistent extraction.
You have to brew the coffee into something, and this is regardless of which method you are using. When making one or a couple of cups of coffee you can brew directly into your favorite mug or cup, but when larger volumes of coffee are involved, you will need a carafe.
Some coffee makers will come with a carafe, but if the model that you have does not include one, you need to choose the right one for you from the many options in the market.
The right carafe should have a large enough capacity and should also be well made. Something that can hold at least 12 cups of coffee is often good enough for most users, and when it comes to the built quality, you will often need to choose between glass and thermal carafe.
Glass vs. Thermal Carafe
Glass carafes make it easy to monitor the brewing process as you can easily see the amount of coffee in the carafe given that they are transparent. The carafes are also generally more affordable than the thermal types, but they are quite fragile and cannot keep the coffee hot for long.
Thermal carafe, on the other hand, will typically feature a double walled stainless steel construction to provide thermal insulation. Depending on the model you buy, these carafes can keep coffee hot for many hours and they are more durable than the glass carafes. However, thermal carafes are also the more expensive of the two types.
Besides carafes, you also need a coffee thermos or insulated mug if you want to carry coffee on the go which saves you money as you will not need to buy expensive café coffee.
Like carafes, the capacity of the thermos or mug, its temperature retention capability, and durability of the material are the most important things to consider when shopping.
The best coffee thermos/mugs are those that can hold at least a couple of coffee cups, keep it hot for several hours and are made with durable materials like stainless steel and borosilicate glass. And a leak-proof lid is also a great addition.
To ensure that you end up with perfectly extracted coffee, you will need to measure the beans to grind or coffee grinds to use.
Hence, as you shop for the coolest coffee gadgets for your kitchen, you should also not forget about functional things like a kitchen scale as it will make it easier to measure coffee.
A good kitchen scale will not only be ideal for measuring coffee beans but also other things like flour when baking and it will cost under $20.Hence it will not be expensive to get one.
But, as you choose a kitchen scale, it is important to make sure that it is not only highly accurate but with simple controls and is easy to use.
Whether you are using a pour over, French press, drip coffee maker or even a super automatic espresso machine, you will need some kind of filter. Filters hold the grounds when brewing and also keep them out of the brewed coffee. Generally, there are three main types of filters which are paper, cloth, and metal.
Paper filters are the most common of the three types, and they are the kind used on many drip and pour over coffee makers. They are available in bleached and unbleached type and their biggest advantage is that they are highly effective in filtering to ensure you end up with clean coffee. However, paper filters are not very eco-friendly as using them leads to a lot of dumping since they are single use.
Cloth filters try to offer the best of both paper and metal filters. They are reusable filters that trap even the micro coffee grinds like paper filter while still allowing all the nutrients and oils to pass through for a richer and more flavorful coffee like the metal filters.
Metal filters are the most durable of the three types as they can be reused hundreds of times. Also, the metal filters will not trap the nutrients or oils in the coffee, and so you will always end up with rich and full-bodied coffee. However, they are not as effective in trapping the tiny grinds as the paper filters, and so you will always end up with a few grinds on your cup of coffee.
10. Coffee Roaster
For the coffee lovers that prefer to be part of every process of coffee making, a coffee roaster will be an important accessory to have as you will need it to roast the beans.
If you already have a good popcorn popper, you might not even need to buy a coffee roaster as you can also use it roast coffee beans depending on the type.
However, if you prefer a device that has been specifically designed and built for roasting coffee beans, you will need to choose between hot air and drum roasters.
Hot Air Roaster
Air roasters use a similar concept to the popcorn makers which is heating the beans using direct heat. These coffee roasters push hot air through a roasting chamber where it touches all the beans to roast them.
With a hot air roaster, you can roast the beans quite fast as most will do it in less than 10 minutes. But they can only roast small batches at a go, and the beans that you get tend to be more acidic.
Drum roasters use indirect heat to roast the beans, and they are more like classic roasting methods such as oven roasting and pan frying.
The drum roasters provide a slow and steady roast that will often rely a lot on moving the coffee beans around in a round chamber that rotates to ensure an even roasting at the relatively lower temperatures.
With these roasters, the low temperature and slower roasting deliver more full-bodied tasting beans.
As a coffee aficionado, one cannot help but use a lot of time reading coffee accessories reviews trying to find that one or a few gadgets that will enhance your coffee making experience.
But, no matter how much time you spend shopping for coffee accessories, you might still not take your coffee making a notch higher if you do not buy the right things.
In the end, the best coffee accessories for you will depend on your preferences as a coffee lover and other things like the kind of coffee you take, where you will be making the coffee from and also your budget.
However, but regardless of the kind of coffee lover you are, you can be confident that you will need most of the accessories above. All you now need to do is to choose the types and models to buy.