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14.12.20

The Ultimate Home Barista Equipment Guide

ultimate home barista equipment guide

So you’ve decided you want to learn how to make your own coffee at home, but you’re not sure where to start? You’ve scoured the web in search of coffee gear, only to be overwhelmed with all the different gizmos and gadgets, and ads trying to sell you things you don’t need, but don’t worry we’re here to help!

Whether you’re a complete coffee novice just starting out, or a coffee guru looking to upgrade, The Ultimate Home Barista Equipment Guide aims to help you make the right choice no matter which stage in your coffee journey you’re at.

All the products we’re about to show you have been personally used and tested by us, and by many of our friends in the community, so you can rest assured that we have your best interest at heart.

To help make it easier, we’ve broken it up into four tiers with individual budgets; bronze ($50), silver ($250), gold ($500), and platinum ($1000). Equipment in the bronze tier is considered entry level, and equipment in the platinum tier is considered professional. 

But we don’t want you throwing away all your ‘bronze tier’ equipment as you progress, as some of it can still be used to make great coffee – so we’ve also created two separate categories for equipment; evergreen and perishable.

Evergreen is equipment that you don’t necessarily have to upgrade (like a dripper) whereas perishable equipment are accessories to aid your brewing (like a grinder), which you may consider upgrading at some point. Let’s get into it!

Bronze – $50 budget

 

Ultimate home barista guide bronze

 

Category Product Price (AUD) Shop
Evergreen French Press  $7 IKEA
Perishable Kitchen scale $13 Kmart
Perishable Hand grinder $30 IKEA

 

This is the perfect equipment mix if you’re just starting out or if you’re on a budget. This includes only three pieces of equipment: a scale, a hand grinder, and a French Press – for roughly $50.

This will allow you to start experimenting with the fundamental brewing variables (like grind setting, brew ratio, and brew time) in order to start building an understanding of the dynamics between your brewing recipe and the final cup.

 

IKEA French Press

 

A French Press is one of the most popular brew methods in the world, just about every hotel room will have one. It’s popular because it’s simple, easy to use, and can make relatively tasty coffee. We managed to score one from Ikea for just $7 and it brewed reasonably tasty coffee. Granted, some of the parts felt a little cheap and flimsy, but for that price you cannot complain.

Brewing with the French Press is a style of immersion brewing (meaning coffee is just steeping in water), so there’s very little technique involved. It’s a great first method and light dip into the variables of coffee brewing. French Press coffee typically exhibits more body compared to other manual brewing methods as coffee is filtered with a mesh filter. Check our James Hoffmann’s Ultimate French Press guide for a great sludge free recipe!

 

Kmart Kitchen Scale

 

Most coffee professionals will argue that scales are an indispensable tool to make great and consistent coffee—for that reason, we’ve included a scale in the lowest tier. Nothing fancy here, no decimals, no timer, no Bluetooth or in-built app—simply a 1gram graduation for us to have an idea of how much coffee we’re working with when following a recipe. By all means, use your phone timer, it’s what we were all doing before they started building them into the scale itself.

 

IKEA Hand Grinder

 

Let’s be honest here, this isn’t a good grinder by any stretch and it’s probably the first thing you’ll want to upgrade, but it does grind coffee—and for a mere $30 there’s not much to complain about. Powered by a set of wobbly, run-off-the-mill ceramic burrs, you’ll be able to crush your beans to a small range of sizes, and that’s about it.

You’ll find that the particle size distribution is very large, which typically leads to more complexity, but less clarity. Don’t expect to brew the same coffee day-in-day-out or to impress your friends, but take pride in knowing you’ve just entered the world of home-grinding and that’s something worth celebrating. It’s always a little bitter-sweet with your first grinder—they’re horrible but we all keep ours.

Silver – $250 budget

 

ultimate home barista equipment guide silver

 

Category Product Price (AUD) Shop
Evergreen AeroPress $50 Alternative Brewing
Perishable Hario Buono kettle $70 Coffee Parts
Perishable Rhino brewing scale $50 Alternative Brewing
Perishable Porlex Mini hand grinder $80 Coffee Parts

 

For the silver tier, we bumped the budget up to $250 so you can delve deeper into your coffee brewing journey; an Aeropress, a goose-neck kettle, a scale tailored for coffee, and a mid-range hand-grinder.

 

AeroPress

 

A beacon of originality – the Aerobie AeroPress is undoubtedly the most unique and versatile coffee-maker ever made. Created by inventor Alan Adler in 2005, the AeroPress is the first-ever coffee-maker that uses air to push water through ground coffee. 

The AeroPress can brew a range of coffee styles including espresso-style, American coffee, filter coffee, cold-brew, cold-drip, and many more methods. Coffee is filtered with paper so you can expect a lot more clarity compared to a French Press.

One of the best perks of them all is that it’s super-light and compact so it’s perfect for travels, and made from a very durable BPA-free plastic.  There’s a plethora of AeroPress attachments available on the market to make it even more versatile such as the Fellow Prismo or PuckPuck. Aerobie recently unveiled their AeroPress Go – an even more compact AeroPress that fits inside its very own cup!

We have plenty of video tutorials available on the AeroPress if you want to see it in action, click here to watch!

Shop AeroPress via Amazon here.

 

Hario Buono kettle

 

What was once the staple of the industry until its predecessors came along, the Hario Buono is the perfect introductory kettle to specialty coffee. With restricted flow and goose-neck precision, you’ll have a lot more control over your brewing and ability to nail those tight pours.

It’s highly versatile and works on just about any heating element including gas stove, electric, and induction. While it doesn’t have the sophistication of digital temperature control, it provides far more flexibility than your ordinary kitchen kettle and will definitely improve your brewing! 

Shop Hario Buono kettle via Amazon here.

 

Rhino brewing scale

 

Specifically designed for coffee, the Rhino brewing scale is the perfect basic coffee scale to get you looming further into your coffee brewing journey. Great for espresso dosing and filter coffee, it tares to 0.01 of a gram and is responsive enough to use for pour over coffee. It is a little prone to ware-and-tear and the batteries will need replacement every so often, but it’s affordable and  gets the job done with minimal fuss.

 

Porlex Mini hand grinder

 

A lovely little hand grinder that is sure to invoke your passion for home brewing and coffee adventuring. It’s tough, light-weight, and being manually powered – you can take it with you just about anywhere.

It’s recently had some much needed internal housing upgrades to help reduce the burrs moving around. It’s fitted with ceramic conical burrs which are rust resistant and can grind all the way from Turkish to French Press, although we wouldn’t really recommend it for espresso.

The grind uniformity and awkward handle is the only drawback. It still produces quite a bit of fines and tends to slip a lot when you’re using it, but the pros certainly outweigh the cons considering the affordability.

Shop Porlex Mini via Amazon here.

Gold – $500 budget

 

ultimate home barista equipment guide gold

 

Category Product Price (AUD) Shop
Evergreen Hario V60 Ceramic $47 Coffee Parts
Perishable Timemore Chestnut C2 S/S burrs hand grinder $110 Alternative Brewing
Evergreen Brewista Smart scale 2 $150 Alternative Brewing
Evergreen Brewista Smart pour over kettle $150 Alternative Brewing

 

The gold tier has some of the most iconic brewing gear, among which you’ll find the timeless Hario V60 and the Brewista smart pour kettle. Budgeted at $500, we recommend it for anyone who is serious about brewing and wants to explore the complexity of it. Most of the products are classified as Evergreen which means you can keep most of them for life.

 

Hario V60 

 

An icon in the coffee world, The Hario V60 has been the staple coffee dripper in the industry for the last 20 years. Created by Japanese glass manufacturer Hario, the V60 defined pour-over coffee in the 21st century and is now the most popular piece of brewing apparatus among specialty coffee enthusiasts.

V – standing for Vector and 60 – referring to a 60 degree angle, the V60 is a conical-shaped dripper with diagonal ribs to encourage flow. It’s available in a variety of materials including BPA-free plastic, ceramic, glass, metal, and copper, all of which bring different characteristics to the cup.

From homes, to-cafes, to brewing competitions, the V60 has been there every step of the way. It’s fair to say that your coffee arsenal is not complete without one.

We have plenty of video tutorials on the Hario V60, click here to watch some!

Shop Hario V60 via Amazon here.

 

Timemore Chestnut C2 S/S burrs hand grinder

 

Hands down the best value for money hand grinder your precious $110 can buy. Yes, we could have included the G1 titanium burr, but it’s more than double the price and we really couldn’t justify the extra cost for something only marginally better.

While still considered entry level, the chestnut C2 is a really impressive little grinder that absolutely runs circles around to its competitors at a similar price point. 

Packed with CNC cut, spring-loaded 38mm stainless steel burrs, mounted on dual axle bearings, it’s a very comfortable and smooth grind. Featuring a textured exterior for added grip and an ergonomically designed handle which doesn’t slip, there’s a lot to love about it.

It’s certainly no Comandante but it will definitely keep you happy until you’re ready to upgrade. Adjustments are stepped and range from espresso to French Press, however we haven’t had much success making tasty espresso.

It’s light-weight and compact so it’s perfect for travelling, we think you’ll very much enjoy this affordable hand grinder.

Shop Timemore Chestnut C2 via Amazon here.

 

Brewista Smart Scale 2

 

An efficient and compact scale by a reputable company. The Brewista Scale can be used for both espresso dosing and filter brewing. It provides quick buffering time which is great for filter brewing and has a range of modes such as auto-tare and auto-timer, making it super easy to work with.

It’s rechargeable and water resistant. Our only regret is that is a little small, meaning you can’t fit a whole portafilter on it and large servers can sometimes block the LCD display from view. But overall, it’s a highly-functional scale and is excellent value for money.

 

Brewista Smart pour over kettle

 

Controlling the temperature of your water will take your brewing game to the next level. Understanding the impact of water temperature on extraction is a key to brewing delicious coffee and now you can experiment with this variable.

Fully electric with LCD display, it features a range of brewing options such as temperature pre-sets and keep warm function. A big 1.2L reservoir allows you to easily brew three or four coffees in a row or use the excess to water your plants.

It’s pleasant to pour with, making it popular among coffee professionals, enthusiasts, and roasters. The only draw back is the flow, which can at times be a little fast – but with enough practice you’ll get it just right.

Shop Brewista Smart kettle via Amazon here.

Platinum – $1000 budget

 

ultimate home barista equipment guide platinum

 

Category Product Price (AUD) Shop
Evergreen Origami dripper $35 Kurasu
Evergreen Comandante C40 Mk3 hand grinder $450 Alternative Brewing
Evergreen Acaia Pearl scale  $230 Alternative Brewing
Evergreen Fellow Stagg EKG $240 Alternative Brewing

 

 

The platinum tier, you’ve reached the pinnacle of your coffee brewing journey with $1,000 worth of premium  brewing equipment to turn your morning coffee routine into a luxurious brewing experience. You can spot these products in most finals of brewing competitions and for good reason. Each of them is the Muhammed Ali of their category. Be ready to embark onto some seriously tasty coffee!

 

Origami dripper

 

The game-changing dripper used by Du Jianing to win the 2019 World Brewer’s Cup. Created by Yasuo Suzuki, the Origami Dripper is both elegant and functional and brings a whole new dynamic to pour-over coffee. Featuring 19 deep concentric grooves, coffee spends less time steeping and more time dripping, allowing baristas to grind finer, brew quicker, and extract more flavour.

The Origami works with both conical and flat-bottom Kalita Wave filters, making it one of the most versatile coffee drippers available.

Made from high quality Mino Porcelain – one of Japan’s most prestigious potteries, the experience is really something special.

We have plenty of video tutorials on the Origami, click here to watch some! 

If you’re considering purchasing one, we recommend that you steer clear of Amazon for this product as there are a lot of counterfeits. You can purchase it from Kurasu (Japan) or Kinth Coffee (Australia).

 

Comandante C40 MK3 Nitro Blade

 

Often referred to as the grinder that won the World Brewers Cup multiple times, the Comandante grinder is still considered the reigning champion in the coffee world, even rivalling some high-end commercial electric grinders. A very polyvalent grinder that allows you to make tiny changes to your grind setting, thanks to a well-designed stepped-adjustment system.  

Powered by a set of high-alloyed, high-nitrogen stainless steel burrs, you’ll very much enjoy the process of grinding your coffee by hand. Several studies and experiments have shown it produces very few fine particles and a very narrow grind distribution, often resulting in brighter, juicier and cleaner coffee. You can trust the Germans to engineer something like this.

In case you wanted to start investing in the Platinum tier and couldn’t buy everything at once, we would recommend you start with the Comandante. A good grinder is the most important weapon in your coffee arsenal. It will greatly improve all of your brews and will last forever.

“I’ve had it for four to five years and it feels like it just came out of the box”
— Simon Gautherin (Q-Grader and Head Trainer at Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters.

Shop Comandante C40 via Amazon here.

 

Acaia Pearl scale 

 

Acaia is the world’s leading brand for high-quality digital coffee scales. Designed for coffee professionals who are serious about their coffee brewing. A harmonious marriage of precision, reliability, and aesthetics—pairing both as an espresso dosing and a filter brewing scale.

Enjoy features like 20 millisecond response times, clutter-free touch display, Bluetooth and phone app connectivity. Brew in real time without worrying about over-pouring and enjoy a range of app features such as real-time pouring speed.

It’s large enough to handle your portafilter and small enough to fit on any bench. We’ve tried to find flaws in this scale but we really can’t.

 

Fellow Stagg EKG

 

Designed by San Francisco-based company in 2018, The Fellow Stagg EKG is the world’s benchmark for coffee brewing kettles. A thoughtful design, intuitive function, and super-sleek look make for a wonderfully intimate and pleasurable brewing experience.

Sporting a counter-weight handle, the Stagg EKG is no match for even the clumsiest hands. The gooseneck is also restricted which offers a substantially slower flowrate, giving you ultimate precision over your pour. Packed with handy features such as 60-minute hold, stopwatch, Fahrenheit to Celsius options, and a secret in-built game called ‘Wormy’ – you’ll absolutely love having one in your home.

Fellow is a company that strives for perfection and as a result they have created some of the finest products available to the coffee brewing market including drippers, grinders, and travel mugs—and their customer service is second-to-none.

We’ve been using the Stagg EKG for just over two years now and it’s changed the way we wake up every morning. We’re confident it’s going to bring the same level of excitement to your morning routine.

Shop Fellow Stagg EKG via Amazon here or via Fellow here.

Get brewing

 

Easy does it and hopefully that was easy. Now it’s time for you to get out there and start building your dream coffee set up. If you’re interested in purchasing some of the equipment, we’ve listed the retailers where we purchased from, but also included some direct links if you want to shop around.

Please keep in mind, this is only a general guide and doesn’t have to be followed precisely. Feel free to mix it up or add to your own existing set up. There’s also an enormous amount of other great equipment out there which you could buy or interchange. This is just some of the gear that we’re familiar with and really enjoy using.

If you have any questions or if you need further advice, feel free to get in touch, we’re more than happy to help. You can find most of the equipment in action throughout our website, particularly in the video tutorials section.

Before we wrap up, we’d like to disclose that we have not been paid by any of these companies for mentioning their products in this post. However some of the links are affiliate links, which means that we’ll make a small commission if you happen to make a purchase using them. This small incentive helps us continue creating fresh content for you and covers some of the costs associated with running the website.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and that it’s helped you in some way. Don’t forget to tag us in your brewing adventures on Instagram and use the hashtag #brewmethods so we can find you. Happy brewing!

Co-written by Simon Gautherin and Brew Methods.

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