If you're like almost every human being on the planet who is adapting to the new normal of living in isolation and working from home, let me clear one thing up if you aren’t already aware of this: coffee is your friend!
In the past month there has been a massive surge of online videos, posts, blogs, all about how to brew great coffee at home. But I also recognize that when it comes to brewing coffee this is a very personal subject. We all have preferences to what we like…and that’s cool. There has been sweeping movements across social media urging individuals to support local coffee roasters (and I cannot stress how important that is).
But for this article I am less concerned about buying coffee, and more wanting to help you to get the gear you need to brew great coffee while at home…and not break the bank in the process, because if you're not aware, buying coffee gear can get very expensive.
One of the greatest misconceptions when it comes to specialty coffee is that it is expensive. Now, while it might not be $1 dollar for a 20oz cup coffee that some fast food chains or gas stations offer, brewing coffee at home is a much more cost-effective option over the long run then simply purchasing your coffee every single day.
Getting set up with a few key pieces of brewing gear can actually save you money in the long run, and ensure that you are able to brew some pretty amazing tasting coffee. I'm not here to suggest the crazy-expensive coffee gear that might make you feel that specialty coffee is only for the pretentious. I want to suggest coffee gear that can work for almost everybody.
Now how does that sound?
Before we get to actually looking at what are the basic items you might want to begin to consider purchasing, you’re likely going to say “hey Tyler…how on earth is this cheap if a bag of beans costs anywhere from $18 to $20 dollars”. And while you are right, that this is certainly not the same price point as what you’d pay for a bag of coffee at your local grocery store you also need to realize that why you’re paying more for those beans has a lot more to do with it than you may realize.
One of main factors that influences the price of a bag of beans are the costs paid back to the farmers, pickers, and coffee exporters. Cheaper coffee pays SIGNIFICANTLY less back to the farmers and to those involved in the supply chain. And I don’t think I need to beat the drum of how we ought to pay fair wages and support local given the times we are in. So when you think about it this way, I am more than happy to know that paying a bit more for my coffee beans will do a whole lot more good down the line.
BUYING COFFEE GEAR
Ok, here’s where the rubber meets the road. In order to brew great coffee at home, you’re going to need to get some gear. And while I know that each of us has different levels of disposable income, what I wanted to do is break this into three tiers. LEVEL ONE, LEVEL TWO, & LEVEL THREE.
Each of these levels has a different price range that will help you to identify what pieces of brewing great you should start with, and what you can add over time. Some of these items are really good quality, while others are a bit more on the more affordable side simply because I know that not everyone is going to spend $250 on a kettle or $200 on a scale (like I have!)
And while I have opted in this article for some items to be linked to Amazon (for sheer cost savings), please hear me when I say if you have the funds and ability to support local retailers during this time please do so.
COFFEE GEAR VENDORS
There are a number of other great Coffee Gear vendors across Canada that I would definitely suggest you check before you make your final purchase. Sometimes they are only 5-10% more for the same items...and sometimes they are even less!
ESPRESSOTEC - located in Vancouver, BC
EIGHT OUNCE COFFEE - Located in Calgary, AB
NATIONAL CAPPUCCINO - Located in Calgary, AB
ESPRESSO WORKS - Located in Calgary, AB
IDRINKCOFFEE - Located near Toronto, ON
ESPRESSO PLANET - Located in Mississauga, ON
CAFUNE - Located in Montreal, QC
LEVEL ONE: $50-$100 CAD
Total: $86 CAD***
When it comes to brewing great coffee at home you really need two basic items--a grinder and a brewer. To keep things fairly inexpensive I have chosen what I feel is one of the best combinations you can get.
FYI: level one does not include a kettle for hot water, so you’ll have to figure that out on your own. I highly recommend getting a good kettle, but this initial setup for level one is less dependent on that to still brew great coffee.
LEVEL TWO: $100-$200 CAD
Total: $196 CAD***
Maybe you want to take things up a notch and begin to get a few more key pieces of brew gear. Level two begins to add a few more key pieces that will get you brewing some great coffee in no time.
LEVEL THREE: $200 CAD+
Cost: $393 CAD***
Level Three includes everything from level 2 but with two major substitutes on two items:
WANT TO MAKE ESPRESSO AT HOME?
Breville Barista Express – Espresso Machine: ($599) Amazon
This is a great entry-level espresso machine for anyone who wants to begin down the road of brewing espresso-based beverages at home. It has a built-in grinder, and everything you need. You can usually find this on sale even for closer to $500 on Black Friday/Boxing Day).
I hope that whatever you end up deciding when it comes to brewing great coffee while you’re working from home, that this article has been helpful. And when it comes to coffee gear there are always various price points when it comes to each piece. The sky really is the limit and if you want to talk more expensive options let me know.
***please note that while I have done everything I can to keep costs as low as possible, prices on Amazon fluctuate fairly frequently and I cannot guarantee prices will be the same as when this article was published.