Coffee Gear Essentials: 13 Items for Making Better Homemade Coffee

Don't waste your money on non-essentials. Here are the important coffee items and accessories for better homemade coffee.
Coffee Gear Essentials: 13 Items for Making Better Homemade Coffee

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You don't need much to make a great cut of coffee at home. As long as you're buying whole roasted beans and grinding them right before you brew, you're most of the way there.

But there are coffee gadgets and accessories that can make it a lot easier to extract the goodness from your coffee beans.

And then there are certain styles of coffee that taste different and offer unique flavor profiles, but can only be made with the use of specialty equipment—like espresso.

Here are the coffee gear essentials you need to consider. You don't need ALL of the items on this list; based on the kind of coffee you want to make, you may only need one or two.

OXO Conical Burr Grinder

Remember, the two most important factors in a tasty cup of coffee are whole roasted beans that are freshly ground when you brew.

For a consistent grind, you need a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder. And if you don't want to grind your beans by hand, you'll want an electric burr grinder.

How Essential Is This Item?

An electric burr grinder is non-negotiable for any serious coffee drinker. There are cheaper electric burr grinders out there, but they don't work as well, aren't as easy to use, and don't last as long as this one by OXO.

Without going much higher in price, this one strikes the perfect balance between price, quality, and consistency.

Hario Mini Slim Plus

This manual burr grinder by Hario is compact, works really well, and quite affordable. If you're just getting into coffee and aren't sure if you want to go all-in on an electric grinder yet, this is your best option.

How Essential Is This Item?

If you haven't yet tasted the difference between stale pre-ground coffee and freshly ground whole bean coffee, this is the one item that will instantly level up your homemade coffee.

If you don't have a burr grinder yet and can't afford an electric burr grinder, then this is non-negotiable. It's more work to do it by hand, but the end result is the same.

But if you can afford an electric burr grinder, absolutely get that instead.

Mueller French Press

French press coffee is ideal for busy (or lazy) people who like a bolder taste to their coffee than what drip machines can put out. Cleanup is simple: dump out the grounds, rinse the parts, and you're done.

How Essential Is This Item?

If you have another brewing method that you prefer, you can skip this. However, the French press isn't just great for lazy infusion brewing—it's also great for serving coffee to large parties.

When guests are over, who has the time or energy to pull shots of espresso or cosplay as a barista doing pour-over? A large French press is perfect to set aside and let brew, plus way classier than a pot of drip coffee.

AeroPress Coffee Maker

The AeroPress is like a miniature French press, except it's more portable and has a built-in filter that prevents stray grounds from ending up in your cup (as can happen with a French press). It's just a tiny bit more work to clean.

It's a lovely method for beginner or lazy coffee drinkers because it uses an immersion brewing method, meaning you can make all kinds of mistakes and still end up with a great tasting cup of brew.

How Essential Is This Item?

If you've never tried the AeroPress and you're looking for a coffee brewing method that's cheap, easy, and forgiving but still delicious, it'll be hard to find another option that's better than this one.

Even if you prefer a more advanced brewing method, at this price, you may just want to get one to keep around as a backup brewing method—for those days when you can't be bothered to brew pour-over.

Coffee Gator Cold Brew Kit

Cold brew coffee has been all the rage these past few years because it's so easy and forgiving. The bitter compounds in coffee grounds aren't extracted when brewed at a colder temperature, resulting in a cup that's smoother and easier to drink compared to any hot brewing method.

You can DIY your own cold brew setup, but this nifty kit takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.

How Essential Is This Item?

Nobody really needs a cold brew coffee kit, but a proper kit can make the process much easier and less finicky. Most cold brew coffee kits are basically the same thing: a pourable container with an immersion chamber.

Chemex Pour-Over Coffee Maker

Pour-over coffee is the type of coffee you'll see in hipster cafés. This brewing method is the best for bringing out unique flavors from coffee grounds that often get muddled with immersion or percolation brewing methods.

How Essential Is This Item?

Pour-over coffee is an advanced brewing method that's precise and involved; small mistakes in grind size, water temperature, and timing can noticeably affect the final taste of a brewed cup.

However, if you understand that and you're ready to explore at-home pour-over coffee, you can't do better than a Chemex. (You'll also want a gooseneck electric kettle, which is essential for doing pour-over.)

Bonavita Gooseneck Electric Kettle

Small variations in brewing temperature can result in widely inconsistent cups of coffee. If the water's too cold, it won't extract enough flavor and result in a flat, weak brew. If the water's too hot, it'll extract too many bitter compounds that overpower the final taste.

The only way to consistently brew a perfect cup of coffee is to use an electric kettle with a digital thermometer—and if you're going to get one, you might as well get one that has a gooseneck spout.

How Essential Is This Item?

Unless you're using an espresso machine, drip machine, or moka pot, then an electric kettle is pretty much a must-have. The gooseneck design is only essential for pour-over coffee, but it can still come in handy when you're pouring into an AeroPress, French press, etc.

Bialetti Express Moka Pot

The moka pot is a stove-top brewing device that's lesser-known than most other coffee brewing methods. All you do is place on your stove and it turns water into steam, which then passes through finely ground coffee.

This makes it closer to espresso than any other coffee brewing method, but at a fraction of the price of a full-blown espresso machine.

How Essential Is This Item?

If you want a deep-flavored cup of coffee but can't afford to buy a good-quality espresso machine, a moka pot is worth getting. It produces a similar kind of cup to espresso, but without all the precise fine-tuning that every espresso machine requires.

Breville Barista Express

Espresso is its own little world-within-a-world when it comes to coffee. You can't make true espresso without a dedicated espresso machine, and bad espresso machines just aren't worth it. (You'll end up having to buy a proper machine later, so might as well get one from the start.)

The Barista Express by Breville is the cheapest espresso machine we'd recommend getting, and it's a smart entry-level option for espresso newbies. Seriously, don't waste your money on anything cheaper.

How Essential Is This Item?

You truly can't make proper espresso without a real espresso machine. If you want to make espresso at home, you need this device.

Espresso Knock Box

A knock box is used in conjunction with an espresso machine. After the espresso shot is pulled, you knock the portafilter on the bar to dislodge the spent coffee puck into the basin.

How Essential Is This Item?

While it isn't technically essential, it will definitely make your life a lot easier, especially if you're pulling multiple shots per day.

You could dump your pucks into the trash can, but I love my knock box because it keeps my coffee grounds separate from trash—and then I can use those spent coffee grounds in my compost.

Espresso Leveler and Tamper

The hardest part of pulling espresso shots is perfecting the portafilter. You need to fine-tune the grind size and amount, make sure it's properly leveled, then tamp it with the right amount of pressure.

Slight variations in even one factor can result in pulled espresso shots that are weak, sour, bitter, or overwhelming.

How Essential Is This Item?

Most espresso machines come with a tamper, but they're usually simple and hard to use well. If you have trouble getting a consistent cup from your espresso machine, this could solve your issues.

Coffee Gator Digital Scale + Timer

Coffee is chemistry. To brew the perfect tasting cup of coffee, you have to make sure the ratio between coffee grounds and water is right, and you have to make sure you're brewing for the proper amount of time.

Too little coffee? A weak and watery brew. Too much coffee? Too bold, too strong. Brew for too long? Bitter and repulsive. Brew too quickly? Sour and lacking in flavor. All of this can be solved with a scale and timer.

How Essential Is This Item?

Espresso and pour-over coffee are two of the most precise brewing methods, and you need to be perfect in your measurements to get a consistent cup from brew to brew. Slight variations, big changes.

Other brewing methods are more forgiving, so you may not need this if you're happy with the results of your AeroPress or French press. That said, even these brewing methods will taste better if you consistently measure out the same amount of beans and brew the same duration every time.

Coffee Gator Beans Canister

Roasted coffee beans start going stale once they're exposed to air, so storing them in an airtight container is super important.

How Essential Is This Item?

You can store coffee beans in any airtight container—like a mason jar—but this one by Coffee Gator has a built-in date tracker so you know how fresh or stale your coffee beans are. Plus, it looks sleek and modern.

The Ultimate Coffee Maker: Jura D6

The Jura D6 is a premium coffee maker that can effortlessly pull espresso shots, brew coffee cups, froth milk into foam, and mix foam with espresso for automated cappuccino. It's the ultimate at-home coffee assistant for those who simply can't be bothered.

How Essential Is This Item?

Nobody in the world actually needs a Jura coffee maker. But if you have the money to spend, no other automatic coffee maker will make a better cup of coffee in this many varieties—all with zero effort from you.