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.
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. For convenience, you’ll want an electric 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 and aren’t as easy to use as this one by OXO. It’s the perfect balance between price, quality, and consistency.
This manual burr grinder by Hario is compact, works really well, and quite affordable. For anyone who’s getting into coffee and not sure if they want to go all-in yet, this is a must-buy.
How essential is this item? If you don’t have a burr grinder yet and can’t afford to get an electric burr grinder, then this is non-negotiable. It’s more work, but the end result is the same. If you can afford an electric one, get that instead.
Coffee is chemistry. To brew the best cup of coffee, you have to make sure the ratio between coffee and water is right, and you have to make sure you’re brewing for the proper amount of time.
How essential is this item? Certain coffee brewing methods are more particular than others. Pour over? Yeah, you should have a digital scale. Espresso? Absolutely, you need this. French press, AeroPress, drip machine? You can get by without it.
Roasted coffee beans go stale when 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 mason jars—but this one by Coffee Gator looks great and has a built-in date tracker so you know how fresh or stale your coffee beans are. But you can get by without it.
Cold brew coffee is phenomenal, and my preferred way to drink coffee in the summer. You can DIY your own cold brew setup, but this nifty kit by Coffee Gator takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation, and it’s convenient to clean and stow away.
How essential is this item? Nobody needs a cold brew coffee kit, but if you’re going to make a lot of cold brew coffee, then you’ll thank yourself a hundred times over with a proper kit.
French press coffee is ideal for busy (or lazy) people who want a bolder cup of coffee than what drip machines can put out. Clean-up is simple: dump out the grounds, rinse the parts, done.
How essential is this item? Very essential if French press coffee is your preferred brewing method; unnecessary if you already have another brewing method that you like.
The AeroPress is like a French press, except a little more versatile and tiny bit more work to clean. It’s perfect for anyone who wants a great tasting cup of coffee but doesn’t care enough to put too much effort into optimizing taste. It’s hard to mess up.
How essential is this item? If you like immersion-brewed coffee but hate the grit in French press, then you need this. But if you already have a favorite brewing method, you can skip it.
Pour-over coffee is the type of coffee you’ll see in hipster cafés. This brewing method brings out unique flavors from coffee grounds that can’t be replicated with immersion or percolation.
How essential is this item? If you want to explore pour-over coffee, you can’t do better than a Chemex. (Make sure you also get a gooseneck kettle!) If not, you can skip the Chemex.
Small variations in brewing temperature can result in widely inconsistent cups of coffee. You don’t want the water to be too hot or too cold, so you’ll want a high-quality electric kettle.
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 needed if you want to make pour-over coffee.
The moka pot is a stove-top brewing device that creates coffee using pressurized steam, making it most like espresso than any other coffee brewing method.
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. Otherwise, you can skip it.
Espresso is its own little world-within-a-world when it comes to coffee. You can’t make proper espresso without an espresso machine, and bad espresso machines just aren’t worth it.
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. Don’t waste your money on anything cheaper.
How essential is this item? Seriously, you can’t make proper espresso without an espresso machine. If you want to make espresso at home, you need this device.
The hardest part of pulling espresso shots is perfecting the portafilter: proper grind size, making sure it’s properly leveled, and tamping it with the right amount of pressure. If one factor is off, the espresso shot may not pull as you intended.
How essential is this item? Most espresso machines come with their own tamper, but they’re usually simple and hard to use. If you have trouble getting a consistent cup from your espresso machine, this could solve your issues.
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 puck into the basin. Sadly, I’ve never seen an espresso machine come with one included.
How essential is this item? Not necessary, but it’ll make your life a LOT easier, especially if your trash can isn’t right by your espresso machine. Don’t have a knock box? Just get one.
The Ultimate Coffee Maker: Jura D6
The Jura D6 is a premium device that can effortlessly pull espresso shots, brew coffee cups, froth milk into foam, and mix foam with espresso for cappuccino. It’s the ultimate at-home coffee assistant for those who 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.