Many of us have had the pleasure (or the curse) of working from home (better known as WFH on social media or your company Teams chat) over the COVID-19 pandemic. I, for one, welcomed the increased WFH time, but the lack of open and available coffee shops over the time was definitely a bummer (among other things, obviously).

While designing cloud architecture or developing organizational NIST-compliant security policies, I require the aromatic scent of freshly ground espresso or single-origin coffee beans followed by an exquisitely crafted cortado or glass of nitro cold brew.

In order to keep my caffeine addiction live and well, I invested in some wonderful coffee gear that continue to enable my draw to our favorite competitive adenosine receptor antagonist. Not only can I try some really cool drinks, I have saved a ton of money by making my coffees and espresso-based drinks at home.

In this post, I will share my favorite gear in preparation for another post or two in the future about specific drinks I particularly enjoy.

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First up is my espresso machine. I chose this specific machine because I wanted to retain some manual control of both pulling the shot and tamping, the machine has a decent grinder attached, and the machine is relatively cheap in its particular class.

With this Breville espresso machine, I can quickly grind my favorite espresso bean, pull a relatively perfect shot, steam the right amount of milk, and craft the perfect drink.

While making these perfect drinks, the process can get a little messy, and I prefer a rubber tamper mat to help keep the counter clean. The tamper mat is extremely easy to clean, and it saves quite the hassle of cleanup after a messy creation. Check that out below:

A great use of your spent ground espresso (and coffee) is to fertilize plants (no, really!). I drink enough coffee and espresso to avoid purchasing fertilizer every year. Since using grounds as fertilizer, our plants are doing much better than before, as we have pretty bad soil overall. A great way to save the espresso puck specifically is a coffee knock box. I found a decent and cheap one here:


Pour Over

For pour over coffee, I use the Chemex and Chemex filters:

There are many different electric kettles you can choose from for pour over coffee. I have used many different electric kettles and prefer them to stove-top kettles because they are easier to control. My first choice is the kettle below because it allows for finite temperature control and it not bound to specific presets.

The electric kettle below is my second choice because I am also an avid tea drinker. The pre-set options to allow you to quickly change the temperature setting to a specific tea or coffee is particularly nice. I obviously like this for the exact opposite reason of my first kettle choice above. This particular selection is one I keep actually in my work office:

For pour over coffee, it is extremely important to get your measurements correct. A decent and affordable scale that was recommended to me by a barista and good friend from Three Ships Coffee in Virginia Beach is the model at the following link:

Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese-style coffee with sweetened condensed milk is a pretty delicious drink. I particularly enjoy the iced coffee (cafe sua da) rendition. You can replicate the drip brew method with a cheap purchase of a Vietnamese coffee filter:

For Vietnamese coffee, I use the same kettles linked above.

Drip Coffee

For drip coffee, I had a pretty specific list of requirements that my machine needed to meet. Unfortunately, the search for one such device was more difficult than I envisioned.

Specifically, I wanted a machine with a decent built-in grinder. Having the ability to grind-on-demand is a pretty nice feature. Obviously I did not want a grinder that would skimp on quality and grind an inconsistent bean. My machine selection does a relatively decent job. The convenience it provides, to me, is absolutely worth the slight quality degradation that you may notice compared to a fancy standalone grinder.

Additionally, I wanted to be able to easily brew a small mug or a large carafe with ease. My machine selection actually allows one to brew a variety of mug sizes (single serve) as well as 1-12 cups in a carafe. Having flexibility with brew amount is very beneficial if you’re making coffee for one or making coffee for a group of friends.

Finally, I wanted a machine that would allow me to program and schedule the machine the night before to start at a specific time. I definitely wanted to have freshly ground coffee in the morning, but time was extra tight pre-WFH with school and full-time work. My wife also loved to be able to have her coffee set at a specific time and appreciated fresh grounds.

Breville saved the day again by meeting all of the above requirements. At the time of purchase, they were the only company to my knowledge with a machine that met these requirements. I am still (as of this post) unaware of any competition. Here is the wonderful machine that I highly recommend:

Cold Brew

For cold brew, I have been consuming more than I can produce due to the 12-24 hour brew period. Because of this, I recently upgraded my 2-quart cold brew maker to a gallon mason jar with dispenser:

Nitro Cold Brew

From the cold brew make above, I oftentimes transfer the cold brew coffee to a kegerator in order to infuse with nitrogen. The specific nitro cold brew maker I use is the following:

In order to infuse the coffee, you need nitrous oxide canisters. The canisters that I have found successful thus far are N2O canisters for whipped cream makers:

Siphon Coffee

Siphon coffee is probably a little more work than you would want for your daily cup, but it is definitely a crowd pleaser. It also provides one of the best full-body brew methods I have tried! My current siphon coffee maker is the following:

That siphon does a great job, but there are siphons that look a lot cooler. For example, the Belgian Family Balance Siphon looks legit. I avoided it because of the relative cost, though I would love to try it in the future. Comment below or shoot me a message if you have tried it!

Wrapping Up

Clearly, there are a lot of different ways to brew coffee at home. I hope some of this list inspires you to try some new methods in your own home for yourself or your friends/family.

Please share your experiences with any of the products I have listed in this post or mention your favorite alternatives. I am always looking for better alternatives!

As always, if you have any questions or want to share your favorite coffee , feel free to start a Discussion on GitHub, submit a GitHub PR to recommend changes/fixes in the article, or reach out to me directly at [email protected].

Thanks for reading!