I come from a long line of coffee lovers. My ancestral land in Central America has been growing delicious coffee for centuries. And it’s enjoyed practically at any time, if not with every meal. I, on the other hand, am stuck looking for sub-par coffee from some overpriced online vendor that claims to have the best coffee known to mankind for the low price of $39.99/bag. That is absurd. “But Juan,” I hear you say, “why not just buy a cup at your local coffee shop?” And to that I say, “Why don’t you drink piss instead?” I rather die. I’ve invested too much time, effort, and money into my coffee gear and learning how to make it perfectly to my liking to let some punk make my delicious liquid energy. So here’s the crap the gear I have at home, the coffee brands I’ve tried, and what I’m currently drinking.
- Breville Barista Express
- Grind Size: 4
- Grind Amount: 4th to last
- Bottomless Portafilter
- Metal Contact Screen
- Needle Stirrer
- Distribution/Leveler Tool
- Awesome Coffee Club
- Double Shot Americano
- 15 ml of agave
- 85 ml of water
Let me start by saying that you probably don’t need any of these things to make good coffee. I was making good enough coffee for years with just an AeroPress. But if “good enough” isn’t enough for you, then you’ll want to invest in some better tools. I started with the espresso machine and whatever came with it. And that wasn’t bad, except it was hard to make a consistent cup. I would tweak a few things here and there, but it wasn’t quite right. After a long YouTube rabbit hole, I landed on replacing the portafilter with a bottomless one and bought a distributor and tamper. The new portafilter required some tweaking with the grind settings to get the pressure just right. With the other two tools, I started to get a consistent cup that was tastier and creamier.
My partner, then, found a blog post about a dude claiming that a stirrer and contact screen were a must if you wanted “a beautiful pour”. I have no idea why I want the coffee to look pretty coming out, but she bought them anyway. And, I’ll be honest, it does make a difference. Not a palpable one, but enough to help with the consistency problem. The last thing you want is for your coffee to taste weird on a Tuesday morning with only a couple of hours of sleep and 20 emails and a 2-hour conference call staring you down.
This was the hardest part. I’ve never been a Starbucks guy, but I originally bought their dark roast bags. Then I heard about Trade Coffee in a podcast and that changed everything. After a few months, I found a delicious US-based brewer that sold bags from their site. So I canceled Trade and started buying Klatch Coffee. Loved it and had no complaints for almost a year.
Then one day I made the mistake of looking up how much I spent on coffee in a year and promptly started looking for more affordable options. Went through a few mediocre brands before landing on Yes Plz. Again, from a podcast recommendation; ATP, I believe. And it’s been great! A nice variety, fairly affordable, and reliable shipping.
But then, Hank & John Green came out with their one coffee subscription, because of the same frustrations I’ve been having over the years. The company does right by the farmers and has delicious coffee. Theirs is by far my favorite. It has been consistently tasty.
All the options I mentioned are great, and I’d recommend any of them. But ACC is my #1 recommendation.
What do you mean why? Coffee is love, coffee is life. It’s liquid energy. And a very good cup of coffee can easily put you in a good mood. I’m not advocating for excessive coffee consumption or toxic behavior like “don’t talk to me until I have my coffee”. But just like a great meal makes anyone happy, a good cup of joe will give you that positive energy you need for the day.
“It’s a good time for a cup of coffee.”
—my father-in-law, at any time during the day