Mr. Magpie takes coffee very seriously, and this morning, I thought I’d share some of our favorite gear in this department as well as in the neighboring domain (tea!).
Pour Over Coffee Gear.
We went through a long phase of exclusively drinking pour-over coffee, and he used a ceramic Kalita dripper (also comes in a well-reviewed glass version), Kalita wave filters, Kalita glass server, an OXO scale (incidentally, a heavily-used tool in our kitchen — I use to bake by weight and he uses for…everything, including measuring out portions of meals in separate baggies to freeze; he is nothing if not precise), and a Bonavita gooseneck kettle. Mr. Magpie always does copious research into coffee gear, so you can trust his faith in the Kalita brand — he spent days poring over Reddit articles and obscure coffee blogs to settle on this. The OXO scale is highly reliable, easy to use, and we love the pull-out screen, which is handy if you’re measuring something bigger than the base so that you can still read the measurement. (This happens more than you’d think when you’re weighing meat or larger portions of flour, sugar, etc in big bowls/plates.) As for the kettle, though we have loved the Bonavita for years and years now (I use it to boil water for tea often), we have been eyeing the Fellow Stagg EKG kettle. Bonavita works fantastic (and is less than half the price of the Fellow style at the moment) but I do think the controls are counter-intuitive/take some getting used to and we have noticed in the last year (after years and years of heavy use) that the temperature reader is somewhat finnicky — once it is close to boiling point, it will flip between a couple different numbers on the screen. We now assume that this means the water is boiling but it’s somewhat irritating that it does not provide a clear read. Plus, the Fellow style is more aesthetically pleasing! I think that will be our next acquisition.
For years, Mr. Magpie used the Capresso burr grinder to grind beans in the morning, which was a solid entry-level burr grinder. (Burr grinders are preferable to blade grinders because they grind the beans more uniformly, which leads to a smoother resulting cup of coffee.) He recently decided he wanted a mechanical burr grinder to yield an even smoother cup. There is a lot of coffee-nerd detail I could offer to explain the enhancement, but the TL;DR is that for some reason the best electric burr grinders are thousands (!!!!) of dollars, and the next best thing is a mechanical burr grinder. We did not want to spend $2,000 on a grinder so he has been mechanical grinding our beans using a Comandante, which are sadly sold out basically everywhere at the moment. I will say that the runner up that was recommended by many coffee enthusiasts is this similar but less expensive Timemore C2 style. Of course, mechanical bean grinding is probably not for everyone — it requires elbow grease and yields enough for maybe two people! I do not think I would have the patience or dedication to do this every single morning, so God bless Mr. Magpie. (Random notes: I do like that we no longer endure the noise of the Capresso electric grinder every morning, and the Comandante is highly portable in the event we want to take our pourover gear for a trip. And it does yield an amazingly delicious cup. Caveat that there is a “dialing in” period where Mr. Magpie had to continually adjust the settings to get to the right size ground.)
Drip Coffee Gear.
The ironic thing is that while Mr. Magpie has retreated from the ease of using an electric grinder, he abandoned pour-overs and embraced a drip coffee machine right around when our son was born. Our thought was that it would be nice to have a warm pot of coffee waiting for us whenever we wanted to refresh our coffee cups — seriously a priority when you have small children around! — and that it would be nice to be able to brew bigger pots of coffee when we had friends over. (Versus doing a ton of batches of pourover!) He chose the Technivorm Moccamaster which is kind of like a hybrid between pour-over and drip coffee — the technology basically emulates the pourover process. This thing is silent, not too hideous to keep out on your kitchen counter, and yields an absolutely delicious cup of coffee. I also love the heater plate (pretty common in coffee makers, but still, a difference from pourover) because I can get my 10 a.m. refill piping hot.
Aside from the gooseneck kettle (which I personally prefer to a stovetop kettle because you can achieve the exact temperature you want — if you are a true tea buff, you will note that certain teas have specific temperature instructions and brewing times), I love using either the Finum mesh brewing basket or the biodegradable filters from David’s Tea for loose tea, which I keep in tin canisters similar to these that I bought from David’s Tea awhile ago. I also like these — great colors! I tend to use either loose tea or non-individually wrapped tea bags from Harney & Sons. (I absolutely live for their peppermint and soba teas — both decaf and seriously soothing.)
Coffee + Tea Mugs.
+My favorite mugs for morning coffee are these Juliska floral sketch style ones. They bring me joy. They are a great size and I love the weight of them in hand. I have been saying this forever, but one day, I would like to buy the entire Juliska Berry and Thread dinnerware set in white, including mugs.
+I bought Mr. Magpie these bone china Intelligentsia mugs as a part of his birthday gift (when I also gave him the Comandante hand grinder). I thought the aesthetic was fun — sort of a stream-lined diner style, and coffee enthusiasts say bone china is the best way to enjoy a cup of coffee!
+A couple of other gorgeous mugs below, but first, a personal note: who says you have to have mugs/tea cups that match? Find a few you love and treasure them every morning!
THESE ESPRESSO CUPS FROM ART ET MANUFACTURE ARE SO CHIC
TORY BURCH’S LETTUCEWARE CUPS ARE SUCH A STATEMENT
MORE OF A MODERN STATEMENT: HOW GREAT ARE THESE MATTE PINK CB2 MUGS?
CAN YOU BELIEVE THESE DAINTY GREEN CUPS ARE $6 (AND PORCELAIN?!)
MY SISTER-IN-LAW WOULD GO CRAZY OVER THESE SCANDI STYLE ESPRESSO CUPS FROM AN ETSY SHOP
+For to-go, we love our Zojirushi mugs, which keep coffee astoundingly warm and do note leak. When spilling is not so much an issue, I use this insulated stainless steel Byta mug, though I am not sure I would recommend it because it is hand-wash only. I would probably recommend Yeti’s mug or tumbler instead if I could do it again!
Miscellaneous Coffee and Tea Gear.
+Fellow Vacuum Canister to keep coffee beans fresh. We have tried dozens of brands of beans but are currently in a committed relationship with Blue Bottle. Parlor Coffee is also an occasional order for us — it’s what the coffee snobs we know drink.
+Hario stirrer stick. Totally random and unnecessary but a lot of people use a chopstick to stir grinds during the pour over process; this is simply a more optimal tool for that process and we also now use it instead of a spoon when adding cream and sugar. (I think there is some technical reason why you should not use a metal implement during the pourover process but I forget what it is.)
+I tend to buy loose tea or non-individually-wrapped tea bags, but I do have a smattering of individually-wrapped sets on hand (especially helpful for guests), and this clever tea-bag organizer is such a great, aesthetically pleasing way to keep that section of the cupboard organized and not overflowing with tons of boxes! I feel like I would thoroughly enjoy the process of decanting tea bags from miscellaneous cardboard boxes into that…
+There was a long period of time where I frothed soy or oat milk in the microwave using this genius little gadget. Nowadays, I just use sugar and half-and-half for some reason — just sort of got out of the habit! But it’s a great way to achieve a poor man’s latte at home. I used to heat the milk in the microwave in this tall silicone measuring cup (handy because of the height — you can heat it and then insert the aerolatte right in there to froth to high heavens without splattering everywhere) and then pour into my mug on top of my coffee. Dreamy.
+We do not have an espresso machine (lattes are my out-of-home treat), but when we went to the Hamptons with my sister and brother-in-law last summer, they brought their Breville machine along and good Lord was I happy. My brother-in-law made me oat lattes every morning and it was a dream.