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Achieving Coffee Greatness

David Klein
Sep 25, 2013 · 5 min read

After years of iterating, I finally compiled this list of tools and instructions to help others step up their coffee game. Why should you read this list? After all there are plenty of other coffee connoisseurs out there who might have similar lists. The answer is simple: This isn’t just a list of great coffee products, but a list of great coffee products that are also beautifully designed.

Mornings at Home

Beans

Breaking Bad · Season 5

$19 for 12 ounces. Twice per month.

The beans that Tonx ships to me each month are consistently delicious. I never worry about what I should purchase next.When I come home and see that small delivery of sealed beans, I leap with excitement for another coffee adventure tailored just for me (and my roommate). For storage I ironically use a Starbucks sealed container. Guests incorrectly assume I have mediocre taste, and I get to surprise them with a tale of Tonx.

Grind

Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder

One word: Burr. The Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder ($117 — $122) is perfect for mornings when I require a superfluous amount of coffee (most mornings). It’s important to note that I do not store many beans in the pictured container because the seal is not particularly tight.

How many beans should one grind for the perfect cup? It’s easy to obsess over exact millimeters of water and grams of coffee, but I believe one should experiment until it tastes right to the drinker’s palette. A good place to begin is 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds for every 6 ounces of water, and then iterate until happy.

Pour

Hario Buono V60 Power Kettle

The Hario Buono V60 Power Kettle ($75) is a tough sell since boiling water is a pretty simple process. However, one must understand the importance of the pour. The Hario forces the water to be delivered in a slow, consistent stream; perfect for a Chemex. Next time you’re making a cup of drip coffee, try drastically slowing down the pouring portion of the process. Pay close attention to the color and consistency of the grounds. You’ll thank me.

Seep

Chemex 6-Cup Classic Series Glass Coffee Maker

If you’re not familiar with the gorgeous Chemex ($37), please begin with the description from its website:

The Chemex® coffeemaker, together with Chemex-Bonded® Coffee Filter, makes perfect coffee. Clear, pure, flavorful and without bitterness or sediment every time. The coffee only comes in contact with the scientifically designed filter and non-porous glass. With the Chemex® method, you can make coffee as strong as you like without bitterness. Perfect for iced coffee and coffee flavoring for gourmet recipes. Because of its purity, Chemex® brewed coffee can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for reheating…without losing its flavor!

The Chemex is a stunning item to place on your kitchen counter (next to the Bodum grinder and Hario kettle of course).

The important detail to note is the filters which are key to the process. I recommend going unbleached.

Afternoons at My Desk

Beans

Blue Bottle Coffee

Living in San Francisco allows me to choose from a variety of amazing roasters. Fortunately, my startup’s office is close to the Ferry Building which means I can pick up a New Orleans, enjoy the building’s architecture, and purchase some beans at Blue Bottle whenever I choose.

Grind

Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton

Manually grinding your own beans may be a bit too pro for the average coffee drinker. It’s tedious, tiring, and time-consuming. However, the Hario ($40) guarantees fresh grounds for each cup. I recommend reading the Minimally Minimal review to learn more about this product.

It’s important to note that your coworkers will not enjoy the sound of your furious grinding.

Pour

Fortunately, my office kitchen has an industrial strength water heater that releases boiling water at a slow, consistent pace. Otherwise, I would most likely purchase an additional Hario kettle. Moving on!

Seep

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

Many believe that manually grinding beans and using an Aeropress takes too long when there’s literally a Starbucks in my office building. Well, y’all need to try this.

The Aeropress is a delight to use. After a few presses you can master its temperaments, and make the most consistent, pure cups of coffee you will ever experience. At $28 it’s a steal too. There are plenty of videos explaining how to use it, but my favorite belongs to Sandwich Video.

Make It Yours

Arriving at this process took years of experimentation, shattered French presses, and ridicule from coffee enthusiasts who are more knowledgeable and arrogant than myself.

Analyze your current routine. Think about what steps you can take to achieve coffee greatness. Do you go to Starbucks often? Stop (unless you’re ordering from the Clover). Instead, wake up thirty minutes earlier and drink your first cup at home while you catch up on Twitter.


Make every cup a ritual.

Find a quiet place to brew. Find a quieter place to enjoy.

    David Klein

    Written by

    Designer at Salesforce. Coffee in the morning; wine at night. Tweets @diklein. Writes at https://freshlyground.design. The rest is http://diklein.com.

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