Slate’s crash course in being a B+ coffee snob.
Here’s the truth: You don’t have to be a champion barista (or aspire to be one) in order to dramatically, and quickly, improve your at-home coffee process, nor do you need to spend $500 on equipment. And the per-cup price is better, too—such that, just a few weeks into your new at-home process, you’ll have recouped the costs of your initial investments.
The only moderately expensive piece of unfamiliar equipment you will need to acquire is a conical burr grinder, which grinds beans finely and evenly (as opposed to a disc grinder, which tends to chop them in half once and call it done). Apart from that, you’ll need to acquire a dripper, a server (a glass carafe with measurement lines on it), and, if you don’t have one already, a digital kitchen scale (preferably one you can “zero-out” after placing a small cup on it, which is what you’ll put the beans in as you measure).
You really do need this stuff, because you won’t get the full benefits of a coffee’s flavor unless you’re exact about the weight of your beans and the volume of your water.
Be a B+ Coffee Snob
I always make my coffee with a dripper when I’m on holiday. It’s a total lifesaver.