The Beginning Coffee Lover’s Starter Coffee Pantry

So you’ve been bitten by the coffee bug. Just in case you’re not sure, here are a few signs: you crave that dark brew every morning and perhaps throughout the day. You also prefer making your own, and not the instant kind either. Lastly, you have a few different presses: French, Vietnamese, etcetera. Yes, you are definitely a coffee lover, and you’ve come to the right place to talk about the necessary equipment to support your delicious habit.

What is a beginning coffee lover to do when you’re ready to take the plunge to master your signature creations? The sheer number of products available in the market can be overwhelming at times, especially if you just want a product that works well and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. (Of course, if higher end products are your thing, that’s great too.)

Besides the beans, your grinder is a crucial component. You could go with the electrical all-in-one spice grinders, but why? Those spice grinders take away your control, and the resulting mess isn’t uniform looking either. No, you are an artist, and you love coffee. That means you need a grinder with a bit more oomph that’s specifically made for coffee, like this sleek Cuisinart DBM-8. This one seems the best for French pressed coffee.

If you’re saying you’ll never drink enough coffee to warrant a grinder like this, all I can do is shake my head at you. That’s like saying you don’t need a cell phone with more memory because you’ll never use that many gigabytes. You will drink lots of coffee, just like you’ll use up all that memory for those photos, videos, apps, and text messages.

But if you’re still on the fence, here’s a great idea: if you have multiple coffee presses, you can make your coffee ahead of time and freeze it. This means saving time, a one-time clean up, and peace of mind.

What else do you need to stock the perfect coffee cupboard? Adorable coffee mugs and stainless steel thermoses, of course.  Last year my sister gave me an owl coffee mug with a sweet inspirational quote—it’s still the same mug I reach for each morning. All my other mugs are neglected because they’re boring, so make sure you have mugs that make you happy.

Regarding the stainless steel thermos, make sure it’s something that’s easy to drink from and fits inside your car’s cup holder. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone to the trouble of packing my coffee for my morning commute only to realize that my thermos is too large or small for the cup holder. And we won’t even get into silly spouts that make it tough for you to drink from. Little annoyances like that can make or break your day.

Don’t’ forget to have a variety of beans because some days are a double espresso kind of day.  Plus, once you figure out your preferences you’ll want to experiment with different flavors and proportions. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the coffee you’ll make. Who knows, perhaps you’ll end up creating viral coffee art, like that barista, Kangbin Lee, in Korea.

I almost forgot the most important part of making the best coffee: the water you use. If you tell me you use tap water to make your coffee, I’m going to have to end our friendship. That’s how serious the sin is. I’m not even kidding. I’ll say it again: do not use bad quality water for your coffee. In other words, use filtered water, or the best water you can afford.

It makes no sense to use horrible water with your quality coffee making equipment. Not only will your coffee taste strange, and that’s putting it mildly, but it’s a waste of those beans and your time. So now you know why good coffee shops use filtered water for their coffee.

Just in case, let’s make sure you have what you need: French press, good quality coffee beans, a grinder, and good quality water. If you have an espresso machine too, that’s even better. If you don’t, keep it on your list or save it for a birthday request.

You’re now all set to begin creating the finest coffee in your corner of the world. Once you perfect your favorite brews, you can impress your friends when they come over. (No friends? Use coffee as a conversation starter. You won’t know until you try.) There’s nothing like good friends, good food, and even better coffee to end a perfect evening.