Stopping at a local coffee shop—where our favorite barista began pulling our double shot soy latte the moment we walked through the door—was part of many of our pre-isolation morning routines. So, when our commutes began to consist of padding from the bedroom to the kitchen to the living room couch, our caffeine rituals suffered.
In the interest of retaining some teeny sense of normalcy, it’s possible to create a café-worthy experience, even if it’s just in your own corner of the world. Here’s how to affordably upgrade your at-home coffee set-up, with items you should still be able to access online.
Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
As we begin transitioning to iced coffee season (yes, there are thankfully still seasons in quarantine) we’ll invariably start jonesing for cold brew. While coffee shops tend to charge a pretty penny for this 12–24 hour steeped method, it’s actually utterly simple to make yourself. Because what do we have anymore but time.
You technically only need a jar and filter to make cold brew, but the super intuitive Takeya cold brew maker further streamlines the process. Just pop the filter into the canister, add your grounds, fill the pitcher with cold water, and let it sit for a day.
OXO Brew Adjustable Temperature Electric Pour-Over Kettle
If you’re going to be your own barista, it’s time to get comfortable with pourover. Essentially, it involves a slow and painstakingly controlled saturation of grounds, with water that’s been calibrated to the ideal temperature. You’ll need a dripper for this, like the classic Chemex or the newer highly regarded Beehouse. But we consider a graceful gooseneck kettle—which allows water to flow in a modulated arc instead of flooding tsunami-style on your beans—equally essential. This OXO model has that spindly spout that allows for a controlled pour, and it regulates water temperature, too. With the turn of a knob, you can adjust in 1-degree increments from 140-212° F (incidentally, water for coffee should hit around 200° F, or just below boiling).
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
Are you an espresso aficionado? This probably isn’t the time to splurge on a shiny La Marzocco machine. Especially since the Aeropress is widely endorsed by coffee professionals and costs less than 30 bucks. Featuring total immersion, rapid filtering, and a plunger mechanism, it works like a more efficient French press, and can also be used for making something close to espresso, as the filters accommodate fine grounds (French presses necessitate using coarse). It’s also light and small enough to travel with you—perfect for pretending that you actually have somewhere to go. Our senior editor always uses this attachment which lets you skip the paper filters (and restocking the paper filters).
$30.00, AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
Mr. Coffee Easy Measure 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker
Maybe you’re a simple drip person (not that there’s anything wrong with that), or just have a nostalgic hankering for over-boiled office decaf. Well, it may not have a sexy Italian name, but Mr. Coffee is a classic, inexpensive coffee solution. No-frills 12-cup models go for about 25 dollars, but we’re partial to the Easy Measure, which allow you to get your coffee to water ratios down to a science, has a built in filtration system, and includes a four-hour freshness indicator, letting you know how long the coffee’s been sitting around. Pro tip: let it sit for six to better recreate that office experience. Or not.
PowerLix Milk Frother
Now that you’ve selected your brewing method, it’s time to talk accessories. If you can imagine finding a moment of zen in the depths of a foam-topped cappuccino, by all means, invest in a frother (which, again, doesn’t need to be the wand attached to a five thousand dollar La Marzocco). The hand-held, battery-operated PowerLix can create a cloud of froth in less than 20 seconds, allowing you to easily jazz up the contents of your #1 Dad mug. Then, pass it to the kiddos with a pint of vanilla ice cream for impromptu Home Ec lessons. Milkshakes for school lunch, anyone?
Local Coffee Beans
Here’s a way to continue supporting your area coffee shops. Many have begun (or continue) to sell their beans online, including Underline Coffee in NYC, as well as Huckleberry Roasters in Colorado and Backyard Beans in Pennsylvania, which both include tip options for their employees. Check out the “Shop” section on the websites of independent coffee companies near you.
Brita Complete Faucet Mount System
No matter what method you use to brew your coffee, you can’t achieve a truly ideal cup without optimal water and beans. You can make what flows from your tap taste better by using a filter. A pitcher is one thing, but you might as well get a filter that simply attaches to your faucet—it may seem fussy, but your morning cup will actually taste better.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious