There are two essential coffee tools that anybody should have when wanting to make a better cup of joe. Coffee brewing can be super simple or we can go down a rabbit hole and talk for hours about brew ratios, water temperature, brew method, roast level…the list goes on and on.
But when it comes down to it, the average person isn’t a huge coffee geek like myself. They just want to drink better coffee and they want it easily and conveniently.
But if you are a coffee geek there is still plenty for you here!
Personally, I think the most enjoyable way to make a good cup of coffee at home is a pour over with a Hario v60 or Kalita wave. However, I know most people are attached to their drip makers or keurigs because of the convenience factor. I want everybody to have better coffee so no matter what your level of coffee love, these two coffee tools will be essential in helping you make a better cup of coffee.
Essential Coffee Tools
1. Digital Scale
Essential coffee tool number one is a digital scale. You can get these guys pretty cheap on amazon. If you get an amazon brand digital scale it’s only like ten bucks. The reason a scale is so important is that it allows consistency. You can know exactly how much coffee and water you are brewing with each time. This makes it easier to make calculated adjustments to your coffee. Too bitter? Lower your dose by 2 grams. Too kinda sour? That’s a sign of possible under extraction, add 2 grams or maybe adjust your grind(more on that later).
It might not always seem like a big deal but without a doubt the ratio of coffee to water has a huge impact on the way your coffee tastes.
To make getting ratios down a lot easier do yourself a favor and start measuring everything in grams. I think it’s easier to understand this way.
There is a lot of talk about brewing ratios and for a good reason. The ratio of coffee to water you brew with makes a difference. You’ll find that people generally prefer a brew with a ratio between 15:1 and 18:1.
This mean for every 16 parts of water you have one part of coffee. For example, If you have 20 grams of coffee you will brew that with 320 grams of water because 20 x 16 = 320.
Keep in mind this is just a guideline, coffee is so subjective. The only way you’re going to get the “perfect ratio” is to find it for yourself.Explore, its part of the fun!
The easiest way to know how much water you are brewing with is to place your empty carafe on to the scale. Tare, or zero out your scale. Add your normal amount of water and place it back on the scale. How much water do you have?
For a 16:1 ratio just divide that number by 16 and weigh out your coffee now.
You may have heard of just using two teaspoons for every cup of coffee. The flaw in measuring a coffee in volume instead of weight is that every coffee is different. One coffee may be more dense than other coffee. Growing conditions,variety of bean and roasting level will all change the weight of the actually coffee bean.The coffee’s density has an impact on the flavor of the bean so you can see that two tablespoons of one coffee could weigh more or less than two tablespoons of another coffee.
There would be no way you would know without a scale. You would maybe just think the coffee you were getting was weak or bitter. It would be harder to get consistent repeatable results without a scale.
That is the biggest benefit to having a scale, a variable of control.
Scales range in price from ten bucks up to fifty bucks, with nicer models being more precise(down to the tenth instead of a whole number) and have a digital timer built in which is actually really nice for brewing coffee.
Having a good grinder is probably the number one coffee tool to have if you want better coffee. Using the right grind will make or break your cup.
For instance, If you tried to make an espresso with a coffee that was not ground finely enough the water would just pass right through all of the grounds making a weak tasting shot. The same goes for all brewing methods. You need to make sure that you have the right grind type for the brewing method that you have chosen.
Grind types take time to fine tune and your grind actually changes slightly depending on the beans you are brewing with.
I have a “standard grind” that I start with depending on brewing method but every time I get a new coffee in I like to play with the grind types a little bit. Just to try and push the limits of the coffee and see what I can make.
Every person is different so there is no exact way to really pinpointing the perfect grind for a pour over or drip machine. This is something that you are going to have to find for yourself.
This is the part of coffee that actually really fascinates me. Every little thing makes a difference in the taste of your cup.
There are grinders out there with 40 different grind settings, depending on where you are in your coffee journey a grinder like this may or may not be appropriate for you. It’s nice to be able to make micro adjustments though and see the difference.
There are plenty of decent entry level grinders that won’t break the bank that are good for a beginner, some have a slight learning curve but are good cheap grinders to start with.
When it comes to dialing in your brew you gain the most control over the flavor of your cup, regardless of brew method with a coffee grinder.
If you’re buying pre ground coffee you are giving up a lot of your freedom. By changing your grind you are able to control brew time. The longer something brews the more extraction is going to take place or vice versa. So, if we are using our standard 16:1 ratio and are still getting weak coffee, the simplest adjustment to make would be to grind your coffee finer.
Regardless of method or brand of beans that you buy, I bet that you can make a better tasting cup of coffee by just grinding your coffee beans right before you brew with a decent burr grinder.
Coffee begins to go stale pretty quickly actually. Even though pre ground coffee has been vacuum sealed, after you open it your freshness window closes very quickly compared to a whole bean coffee.
When it comes to making better coffee at home the best way to do it would be to purchase these two essential coffee tools. Neither one will break that bank, both of these tools combined could be under forty bucks depending on which ones you choose.
Converting everything to grams and making precise measurements is one of the easiest ways to gain control over your coffee. Combining that with fresh ground coffee and being able to make adjustments based on what you taste will without a doubt lead you to being able to make a better tasting cup of coffee. Who knows, starting with these simple tools might lead you down a rabbit hole of coffee, sending you on a never ending quest to making the best tasting cup of coffee you’ve ever had!
If you found this the slightest bit informative or entertaining please do the community a favor and share this article or join in on the discussion and tell us what coffee you have been enjoying lately.
Don’t forget to sign up to our email list, This will help you grow on your coffee journey. I share my experiences with certain coffee’s and what I have taken away from that experience.