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Upgrading Coffee Equipment

Upgrading Coffee Equipment

Oct 4th 2021 Written by Ragan LaTour

Entering the ever-changing world of specialty coffee is a mystifying experience filled with, what seems to be, an endless array of equipment, brew methods, and types of coffee. From the moment your interest was piqued — probably thanks to some beautiful, washed Ethiopian coffee, bursting with sweetness and notes of apricot and honeysuckle, brewed to perfection by some nameless coffee guru — to the immeasurable hours spent trying to replicate the brew yourself, there is an endless chase to achieve something better.

Maybe you're reading this as the seasoned coffee expert who has spent years mastering the art of the perfect pour over — the coffee connoisseur who can talk endlessly about coffee origins, flavor notes and grind size. Conversely you may be the new hobbyist, recently having found an interest, or perhaps a slight obsession, in specialty coffee. You may spend the mornings attempting to make the perfect brew, your afternoons reading Scott Rao’s book, "Everything But Espresso," and the evenings browsing the web for your dream coffee setup. Or perhaps you fall under the new group of coffee drinkers, the once daily cafe goer, forced to stay home and learn the art of brewing, spiraling down the rabbit hole of coffee blogs, stumbling across articles like Basic Brewing Principles in hopes of achieving a cafe quailty brew at home.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, there seems to be a shared goal among coffee drinkers — to brew a better cup. Now that you have the basics down, the next step is to upgrade your home setup. Better equipment is capable of improving all aspects of your brew. A better grinder will produce more uniform grinds, a new kettle can offer more control or heating options, and a new brewer may help produce crazy-high extraction yields.

To help streamline to the process, we have broken down features of some of our most popular brew gear — as well as the shortfalls of some beginner brew gear — in an easy-to-compare way, in hopes of helping you determine what equipment is right for your upgrade!

Pouring latte art

Upgrading Your Electric Grinder

If you talk to the experts, there is a mutual consensus that the grinder is the most important piece of equipment in your coffee setup. If you're keen on speed and simplicity while making your morning coffee, an electric grinder is probably right for you. Electric grinders vary greatly in features and prices, so check out what each has to offer!

What you have: Baratza Encore


Baratza Encore Electric Coffee Grinder

Features:

  • Staple in home coffee setup
  • Entry level
  • Easy to use
  • 40 mm steel conical burrs
  • Wide grind range -- 40 point stepped scale
  • Small footprint
  • Affordable
  • Limitations:

  • Limited grind range
  • Lacks consistent particle uniformity

You May Like:

Baratza Vario



Mahlkonig X54
Baratza Vario Features:
  • 54mm flat steel burrs
  • 230 repeatable settings
  • Weight-based grinding
  • 3 programmable dosage buttons
  • Grinds twice as fast as the Encore
  • Macro and micro adjustments
  • Digital display tracks the weight of the dose
  • Small footprint
Mahlkonig X54 Features:
  • 54mm flat steel burrs
  • Cafe quality
  • Stepless adjustment
  • Replaceable face for either brew or espresso
  • Beautiful grind uniformity
  • Four programmable buttons
  • Wifi unit that alerts of error logs and need of burr replacement

Upgrading Your Hand Grinder

Hand grinders produce great grind quality for a lot less money if you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease. A reliable burr grinder can be purchased for as cheap as $35, with premium options reaching closer to $300. Not only do they produce phenomenal results, well above those of many electric grinders, they're also portable and make brewing good coffee on the go possible. Check out how some of the higher-quality grinders compare!

What you have: Hario Skerton Pro

Hario Skerton Pro Hand Grinder

Features:

  • Entry level burr grinder
  • Affordable
  • 60 gram hopper
  • Sturdy handle
  • 100 gram grinds catch
  • Ceramic burrs
  • Ideal for pour over and immersion
  • Limitations:

  • Limited grind range
  • Limited portability
  • Stepped adjustments
  • Glass grind catch

You May Like:

Timemore Black Mirror Plus Coffee and Espresso Scale
Comandate
Timemore Slim Plus Features:
  • 38mm conical steel burrs
  • Compact and travel friendly
  • 25 gram capacity
  • Grind range from espresso to french press
  • Aluminum alloy body
  • Diamond pattern for grip
Comandante Features:
  • Unmatched grind uniformity
  • High-nitrogen martensitic conical burrs
  • Beautiful design and body
  • Grind range from Turkish to Cold Brew
  • Stepped Adjustment
  • 40-45g capacity

Upgrading Your Scale

Scales may not seem that important, but the truth is, a consistent weight and brew time is one of the key factors in recreating the same delicious brew. When first starting out, a simple scale like the CJ4000 can be a great addition, but the more you start to experiment, the more you’ll realize that every milligram and second count. Therefore you may want to upgrade to a combo weight and time scale.

What you have: Jennings CJ4000

Jennings CJ4000 Scale

Features:

  • 4000g maximum weight capacity
  • Tare and zero function
  • Runs on batteries or included AC adaptor
  • Affordable
  • Large LED display
  • Limitations:

  • No timer
  • Bulky design
  • Weighs in .5 gram increments

You May Like:

Timemore Black Mirror Plus Coffee and Espresso Scale
Acaia Pearl S
Timemore Black Mirror Plus Scale Features:
  • Minimalist design
  • Quick reading response time
  • Built in autotimer
  • Accuracy to .1 gram
  • 2000 gram weight capacity
  • USB-C charging
Acaia Pearl S Features:
  • Sturdy and minimalistic design
  • 3000 gram capacity
  • 6 scale modes
  • Auto-start timer
  • 25 hour battery life
  • Bluetooth connectivity

Upgrading Your Kettle

Believe it or not, a kettle is more than a nice kitchen accessory. The right kettle, preferably a gooseneck, can be a game-changer by providing added control and precision. In addition to that, a variable temperature kettle allows for further experimentation, granting control of water temperature and how it affects the overall quality of the coffee.

What You Have: Hario Buono Kettle

Hario Buono Kettle

Features:

  • Available in 2 sizes
  • Available in stainless steel or matte black
  • Low-mounted gooseneck spout
  • Made of stainless steel
  • Made for stovetop use
  • Comfortable handle
  • Limitations:

  • Only for stovetop use
  • No variable temperature control

You May Like:

Hario Smart G Kettle
Fellow Stagg Ekg
Hario Smart G Kettle Features:
  • Can be used on any heat source
  • Thermometer friendly lid
  • Made of stainless steel
  • Available in 2 colors
  • 1 liter capacity
  • Low-mounted gooseneck spout

Fellow Stagg EKG Kettle Features:
  • 1200 W heating element
  • Variable temperature control
  • Sleek, modern design
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • .9 L capacity
  • Gooseneck spout
  • Counter-weighted handle

Upgrading Your Flat Bottom Dripper

Flat bottom drippers like the Kalita Wave do a phenomenal job at producing consistent brews and even extractions. They're a simple, no-fuss method to make a delicious cup of coffee in the morning, but have you ever wondered what else is out there?

What you have: Kalita Wave

Kalita Wave Dripper




Features:

  • Home coffee staple
  • Available in 2 sizes
  • Available in 3 material options
  • Forgiving dripper
  • Attractive design
  • Produces quality extractions

You May Like: Espro Bloom

Espro Bloom Pour Over

Features:

  • Brews 30% faster than other pour overs
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Patented micro-filter design
  • Brews in 2 minutes
  • Brew with or without filters
  • Made of stainless steel
  • Upgrading Your Pour Over Brewer

    The pour over is often the first step one takes into the world of specialty coffee. By providing greater control and cone shaped edges, you are instantly left with a more even extraction and ultimately a better cup of coffee. Although there are tons of options on the market, Hario's V60s tend to be the brewer that get the most recognition. If your looking to up your pour over game, check out one of Hario's latest additions.

    What You Have: Hario V60

    Hario V60



    • Available in 3 different sizes
    • Multiple color and material variations
    • Specialty coffee mainstay
    • Ridged design that promotes even extraction
    • Easy to clean

    You May Like: Hario Switch V60 Immersion Dripper

    Hario Switch

    Features:

    • Hybrid brewer - pour over and immersion
    • Uses V60 02 filters
    • 240 gram capacity
    • Dishwasher safe
    • Heat-proof glass
    • Freedom to experiment
  • Accessories:

    Peak Water Pitcher

    Peak Water Pitcher

    Features:

    • Carbon mat filtration
    • Recyclable and regenerable filters
    • Fully-adjustable filter settings
    • Filter your home tap water
    • Filters 1.2 liters of water
    • Premium dual-ion resin
  • Kruve Brewler

    Kruve Brewler

    Features:

    • Provides precise measurements for grind size
    • Measure grind size from 200-1600µm
    • Measure green beans from 11-20/60 of an inch
    • Coffee conversion chart
    • 15cm ruler
    • Grind size reference chart to find grind range
  • Sibarist Fast Filter

    Kruve Brewler

    Features:

    • High permeability for fast flow rates
    • Made for use with Hario V60 02 dripper or Origami Dripper
    • 100% organic fibers
    • Resealable packaging to prevent flavor or odor contamination


  • Now that you've explored some of the options capable of taking your already impressive brewing skills to the next level, we hope you have a better idea of what you're looking for. If you're still unsure of what equipment will meet your needs, we invite you to check out some of our product comparisons that delve deeper into our catalog. Or, if you'd like further recommendations, feel free to reach out to us on our socials, or give us a call.

    Oct 4th 2021 Ragan LaTour

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