More of The Verge’s favorite coffee and tea gadgets
Last year, we asked the staff of The Verge to tell us about their favorite coffee and tea brewers, grinders, and other paraphernalia. It’s a year later, and so we thought we’d find out what other caffeine delivery systems are used while our journalists are powering through their days.
If you’re also an enthusiast, we hope you’ll enjoy looking over some of the gadgets that we enjoy using for our daily infusions.
The idea of having pre-boiled water on tap in a machine might be sacrilege to some, but I can’t imagine my life without mine, especially in the winter. I drink iced coffee year-round, so I use this for making tea, oatmeal, rice porridge, and anything else that needs hot water.
These are ubiquitous in every Japanese household — I recall my grandma having at least three in different rooms. They hold plenty of water, and the multiple temperature settings mean you can adjust to whatever you’re making. I’ve had an old model of this 135-ounce Zojirushi boiler and warmer for more than five years, and it’s still going strong. It’s a good option for people who refuse to microwave water for tea (chaotic individuals) but are too lazy to use a kettle every time (me). I’m bad at remembering to actually refill it — pushing the button and having the sputters of the last remaining drops come out is so sad. Don’t be like me!!! — Mia Sato, platforms & communities reporter
Last year, I recommended the Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder as a relatively low-cost coffee grinder that worked well in helping us prepare our morning coffee for our French press. Well, it’s a year later, and we’re still happy with it. As I wrote before, this isn’t a top-of-the-line grinder — it uses metal rather than ceramic burrs, for example. It’s still not that easy to clean, although I’ve learned that flicking a few drops of water into the beans before I start grinding will cut down severely on the static that makes all those tiny grinds cling to the various parts of the grinder. (Try it; it works!) But it still grinds our coffee beans to a decent coarseness, and a year later, we are still happily using it to make our morning coffee. — Barbara Krasnoff, reviews editor
I make my daily cup of coffee using a machine that’s about as basic as you can possibly get — you pour coffee grounds into a filter, add water, and press a button. There’s not really much thinking or room for making choices that can drastically change what kind of coffee experience you’re going to have. I’ve already waxed philosophical about this approach for probably far too many words, but the TL;DR is simple: in the morning, I want coffee to make me less tired, and if I’m tired, I don’t want to be fussing with something that requires me to nail timing or temperatures.
In some ways, the Mr. Coffee is more of an appliance than a gadget, but that’s okay. There’s room for both in my heart and my kitchen. For those who want to practice the art of making coffee, everything else on this list is totally worthwhile. (Plus, there’s no shame in drinking Mr. Coffee’s coffee out of an East Fork mug; I do it every day.) But if you’re looking for an easy and economical way to get your caffeine fix, this machine is hard to beat. – Mitchell Clark, news writer
I dunno, man. I’m not that interested in debates about the “best” coffee or whatever. Being able to drink garbage coffee is a job skill for me — I’m not guaranteed good coffee on reporting trips, especially to conferences. I just have an addiction, you know? I am absolutely going to microwave the half-drunk cup of coffee I forgot about and drink the rest of it.
Anyway, I bought a French press from Bodum about a decade ago, and I’m still using it. You don’t have to buy this one in particular; I just recommend getting something simple and durable that you can operate before you’ve had your coffee. That said, the forest green color is very pretty. — Elizabeth Lopatto, senior reporter
Look, sometimes I pride myself on how basic I am. I adore the AeroPress for its simplicity, even though I use my 14-cup Cuisinart coffee maker on a daily basis. The AeroPress intrigued me since the very first time I saw it used at a cafe in the Netherlands. It’s quite minimalist, yet it can make a great cup of coffee, and the process is half the fun. It gives me the slightest sensation of doing something by hand, kind of like the ritual of developing your own film. And just like that process, it’s horribly inefficient and takes overcoming a small mountain of inertia and laziness to get done. But it’s fun, and when I don’t mess it up, it’s capable of creating the best-tasting coffee in my house. It’s a lot of enjoyment from some basic tubes of plastic and rubber, and I love it even if it spends most of its time living in a kitchen cabinet. —Antonio G. Di Benedetto, commerce writer
I love the AeroPress and all, but Bialetti espresso pots are a damn institution that is near and dear to my heart. Learning to use one of these is a small rite of passage in many Italian households. I began using one to make espresso for my parents, aunts, and uncles when I was about seven years old. Every birthday, anniversary, or unannounced visit that called for cake and coffee inevitably meant my siblings or I would get tasked with making espresso for the adults — and since I was the youngest, the responsibilities of menial labor trickled down.
These stove-top espresso makers come in a variety of sizes, and my mom owned almost a dozen of them (she’d receive them as gifts and would happily give one away to anyone wanting or in need to spread the love). You can get them as small as an adorable one-cup version or a big-boi 12-cup. They’re not entirely foolproof, as my memories of a dining room full of grumpy old Italians complaining under their breath of burnt coffee can attest, but the learning curve is far from steep. There’s a treasure to these coffee makers that goes beyond the great espresso they create. Yes, one small joy is the adorable mascot of L’omino coi baffi (the mustachioed little man) on the side of the pot, but brewing a Bialetti is usually a communal event. Put it on after you’ve had a big meal with guests and get a pleasant jolt of caffeine as you sit around the table for some rousing conversation. Pair it with some sambuca or grappa to really get people feeling good, and don’t forget to talk with your hands. —Antonio G. Di Benedetto, commerce writer
AeroPress’ and Bialettis both make great coffee, but over the past couple of years, I’ve settled on the Hario V60 as my go-to brewing method. When I’m making a single cup, I use Hario’s little ceramic coffee dripper, but more recently, I was gifted one of Hario’s glass decanters, which can make up to three cups at a time, and looks really nice sitting on a breakfast table.
I like the V60 for a couple of reasons. First is, obviously, that it produces great coffee, but it’s also important to me that it looks nice. These items are out on my kitchen counter all day, every day, so I’d rather they not be an eye sore. Finally, and a little counter-intuitively, I kind of like that the V60 brewing process is a little more finicky than both the AeroPress and the Bialetti. There’s more of a skill to it, whether it’s learning how to slowly pour boiling water over your coffee grounds (a goose-neck kettle is helpful here) or experimenting with different grind sizes (consider picking up a flat or conical burr grinder for the task).
But you don’t have to be an obsessive little freak like me to get a nice cup of coffee out of a V60. Initially, I was using a cheap blade grinder and a standard electric kettle and getting delicious results using coffee YouTuber James Hoffman’s V60 method. Start there, and feel free to experiment if you like the results — Jon Porter, news reporter
I didn’t do this on purpose, but my silver Yeti Rambler has become my official coffee-drinking mug. I own lots of mugs, which I never use because every morning, I make 20 ounces of coffee in my Chemex and pour all 20 straight into the Rambler. It’s big enough to hold a morning’s worth of coffee, insulated enough to keep it hot all morning, and sturdy enough to survive the occasional over-tired drop or the daily dinging around in my bag. And it’s dishwasher safe.
I bought two lids for the Rambler, too — one with the magnetic slider for sipping and keeping the coffee warm and another that holds a straw for the iced coffee days. My only regret: not getting the one with the handle, which just adds an element of coziness to the whole thing. — David Pierce, editor-at-large
As a number of my colleagues may remember, a little under two years ago in our team Slack channel, I vociferously criticized buying a $100-plus coffee mug that did nothing other than keep your coffee (or tea, or hot cocoa, or whatever liquid you like to drink hot) at the exact temperature you set it to. Perhaps this was a case of a schoolyard bully negging the kid they have a crush on to hide their true feelings because I’d been coveting one of those fancy Ember mugs for years.
And when Best Buy put its exclusive blue color of the Ember Mug V2 on sale for Black Friday, I finally bit. Reader, this mug is fantastic. It keeps my coffee hot no matter how long I take to consume it, I never have to bother with microwaving a room-temperature mug, and I can even tweak its settings depending on what I’m drinking out of it (coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, usually). I even get the joy of occasionally updating the firmware on my coffee mug, a sentence that would have made no sense to anyone just a few years ago.
To be clear, this is a completely frivolous product that nobody actually needs. It makes a mildly annoying thing slightly less annoying, and its drawbacks (cost, can’t put it in the dishwasher, did I mention the cost?) probably outweigh those benefits for most people. It’s a little embarrassing how much I like it, which is why it’s a perfect guilty pleasure. I enjoy it, I feel a little awkward about it, and I’d like to never speak of it again. — Dan Seifert, deputy editor