Are you the sort of person who is always pondering how you can improve your coffee brewing? We can relate. Although there’s no substitution for a solid education and fundamental brewing skills, having the right equipment can go a long way towards enjoying better coffee at home, which is why we curated a list of our favorite hi-tech coffee gadgets.
A watched pot never boils, unless it’s on an induction burner. Throw your goose-neck kettle on this baby and it’s going to be in business before you get your coffee weighed and ground. One home barista friend mentioned to us he sleeps in 5 minutes more every day since buying his induction burner. Besides, heat transfer is so last year. (Note: conduction burners only work with magnetic metals.)
As a general rule of thumb, water 30 seconds off boil is perfect for brewing. But if you’re like us, you want to know exactly what temperature your water is. Sure, you may not be able to taste the difference between 204 and 205 F- but maybe you can! You won’t know until you invest in a thermometer, and Thermapen makes the best on the market. Its laser-fast readings and water resistance make it the ideal thermometer for the professional or committed home barista. Our favorite feature: it folds to fit in your pocket so you can take it with you to your favorite coffee shop and make sure your cappuccino is the proper temperature.
Variable Temperature Kettle
Putting two different appliances into one device is usually a bad idea. Look no further than the DVD/TV combo that permeates yard sales everywhere (confession: we’ve never actually gone to a yard sale.) But sometimes two different devices make so much sense together it’s upsetting to think they’ve ever been produced separately. The Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle is a perfect example. I’ve seen more than one barista modify their kettle to include a slot for a thermometer, so I wasn’t surprised when Bonavita built a thermometer into the base of their already popular electric kettle. But the Variable Temperature Kettle goes one step further: you set the temperature you want the water to be and it will stay at that temperature. Coffee television personality Todd Carmichael went so far as to glue the unit to the base of his kettle, which helped him win the Northeast region of the 2014 Brewers Cup. I settle for popping the kettle back on the unit between pulses, but even then it never drops more than a degree. Either way, I’ve noticed a discernible improvement in my home brews since switching to the Variable Temperature Kettle.
6 thoughts on “3 Hi-tech Coffee Gadgets for Advanced Brewologists”
After losing 2-3 thermometers (I’m way too rough on them) I switched to the Thermapen. It’s built like a tank and the 3 second readings make it wonderful for both coffee and food. Glad to see you guys giving it some love!
Cool list. Love my thermapen. Along with a digital gram scale, I think the thermapen is an indispensable item for any home cook and/or barista.
I’ve had a variable temp Bonavita since it came out and my personal opinion is that other than the hold temp functionality, the variable temp tech is completely unnecessary, especially for pour-over brewing. Once water makes contact with the grounds, ambient temp will stabilize the brew bed temp around 195f anyway.
I’ve since given my variable temp to my girlfriend and use a tea kettle/pouring kettle combo. Boiling in the tea kettle and transferring. Kettle temp from the pouring kettle (measured with a thermapen) is 206-208. With a generously preheated chemex, my brew bed temp is usually 195.
So, in summation, a couple seconds off boil and you’re fine. In my opinion, couple degrees here and there isn’t going to make a difference. In fact, I would guess that most variable temp users are setting their kettle temps too low. (I know I did for a long time).
Thanks for the comment Sam. I agree that a tea pot/ kettle combo is completely adequate. But I love how streamlined the process is with the Bonavita. Also, for people without a reliable thermometer it provides another data set which can help with consistency.
I absolutely agree most people are brewing with water that is too cool. I have my Variable Temp Kettle set at 97C.
Could you send me link or instructions for brewing pour over coffee? Thanks – Brian
If you check out archives we have several posts with tutorials. Though I would direct you to this one for a Chemex and this one for a V60 or Wave