At some point in your life you may have heard your grandfather say something like, “Why, I used to get a cup of coffee for a quarter!” Well, gramps, the days of cheap diner coffee are long gone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t afford to have a great cup of coffee (or two!) every morning with the help of these few simple items.
1.Whole Bean Coffee. Yes, coffee itself is the first tool for creating a perfect brew. After all, a great bean is the foundation of a great cup. If you toss a frozen pizza onto an expensive baking stone and fire it in a brick oven, you’re still going to end up with a well-prepared, but woefully inferior pizza.
In other words, your starting product can make your end result either drab or delicious.
For the best outcome, choose a single-origin coffee that has been roasted within the last two weeks, like these from Unleashed, who claim to preserve and protect their quality from inception to indulgence.
And since there are dozens of varieties of beans, that translates to cups and cups of delicious research to determine your favorite! Now there’s a perk!
2. Canisters. According to the experts, coffee beans begin to go stale as soon as they have been roasted. In order to preserve their integrity, remove them from the pretty paper packaging you bought them in, and immediately store them in a dark, dry, airtight container to seal in the freshness.
The size and style of your canister is entirely up to you, though Friis makes a nice16-oz one for just over $10 that will help you keep your beans fresh as long as possible.
3. Grinder. To experience all the deliciousness your quality coffee has to offer, grinding your own beans immediately before brewing is absolutely crucial.
Coffee begins to oxidize – or go stale – within two minutes of grinding, and oxidizing negatively affects the flavor. While there is debate about the different types of grinders – blade, burr, and conical – nobody debates the benefit of doing it yourself.
Kumeida keeps it simple and affordable, all while providing you with this conical burr mill that is both sleek and stylish.
4. Stainless Steel Scoop. By far the most uncomplicated and lowest-priced of all your essential items is the simple scoop. One of the keys to creating a barista-quality cup of java is the ratio of coffee to water (2 tablespoons per 6 brewed ounces).
Take the guesswork out of your morning routine with a little stainless steel coffee scoop. The Container Store has an awesome long-handled one that’s perfect in style and price for measuring those precious hand-ground beans.
5. Quality add-ins. What’s the point in freshly ground beans, perfectly brewed, if you are just going to top it off with artificial sweeteners or oil-based fake creamers? If YOUR perfect cup of coffee is sweet or creamy (or both!), organic sweeteners and milks (be it dairy, almond, coconut, etc.) are a small price to pay to enhance your brew.
6. The Perfect Mug. Finally, don’t underestimate the aesthetic value of holding your coffee in your hands. Drink it with both hands? Like a heavy mug or a delicate cup? Need a big handle for gripping? Always have your coffee “on the go”?
Whatever your preference, round out your coffee experience with a coffee cup or travel mug that suits your distinct style and personality. Check out these 13-ounce gems from Anthropologie: Having these six inexpensive tools on hand not only simplifies your coffee-making experience, it improves the quality of your caffeinated cup. Enjoy!