How to Make the Perfect Cup of Italian Coffee
Unpacking the history, allure, and ways to use the humble Moka pot.
Our editors’ picks for the sleekest, most life-improving gadgets.
REMEMBER “THE JETSONS”? It’s a show I often think of these days as I read about phone-controlled home heating systems and self-driving cars. I can still recall how amusing it was to see Judy Jetson, the teenage daughter of the family, recording the day’s events in a floating robotic diary — the kind of thing that seemed laughably futuristic when I was a kid, and now sounds rather quaint. That’s because we are living in an era during which there are more time-saving, productivity-boosting, and generally life-improving devices available than ever before. That’s a lucky thing, but also overwhelming. By my account, there are, in fact, too many of these sorts of machines making big promises, and not all are created equal. That’s why we did the testing for you to select and share only the very best: gadgets for your happy home of the future. Here are our favorites: objects that are well designed and well made, nice to look at, and genuinely delightful. — Nina
Meet the kitchen appliance we call “the Tesla of espresso machines”: Terra Kaffe’s sleek, powerful countertop star. This isn’t your typical espresso machine with levers, pods, capsules, thermometers, or portafilters. It’s a ridiculously easy, super-automatic, pod-free, bean-to-cup espresso machine that produces the perfect cup with only the tap of a button. It can whip up whatever you’re in the mood for — an espresso, latte, cappuccino, macchiato, even a drip-style coffee — faster than you can count to 20. SHOP NOW
Composting has never been more important — or easier. The Lomi countertop composter turns messy food waste into odor-free, usable dirt that’s great for houseplants, gardens, and peace of mind. Its design feels reminiscent of the space age, with soft curves and an ovoid lid that moves elegantly like the butterfly doors of a supercar, making it an aesthetically pleasing choice for the kitchen from a company focused on the future. Pela, the makers of Lomi, are on a mission to make sustainable, eco-friendly products the new normal. Anyone with a houseplant habit will delight in the satisfaction of making their own soil. SHOP NOW
It’s understandable to be wary of technology that promises to improve practices as primal as heating meat over a flame. But the Traeger Timberline grill really does deliver on that promise. It has every bell and whistle, including a touch-screen control, an adjoining induction cooktop for sautéing and searing, and a smart combustion system that actually monitors your meat on its own to make sure it’s cooking consistently. Use the Traeger app to set instructions that cook your food exactly right (as well as for exploring a range of recipes to help you along your way). SHOP NOW
After decades of blindly enjoying prepackaged foods, many of us are waking up to the idea that we can do it better (and healthier) at home. Enter the Musso Lussino ice cream machine, the ultimate frozen-dessert maker that generates a silky-smooth indulgence from just a few ingredients. The sleek, stainless steel, Italian-made machine makes everything from ice cream to frozen yogurt to sorbet to (of course) gelato. Using it is a cinch: Put your ingredients into the bowl, set a timer, and about a half hour later, you’ve got a perfect finished product. SHOP NOW
We all want to breathe easy. The Molekule Air Mini+ may look small, but it has the power to make enclosed spaces much, much cleaner. To begin with, every Mini+ performs broad particle capture, picking up all the big, nasty pollutants. Then, there’s Molekule’s signature PECO filter, which uses free radicals to bust up pollutants on a molecular level, breaking down everything from mold to bacteria. And the latest research suggests that the PECO filter can kill around 99% of SARS-CoV-2 in a small circumference within about an hour. In short, this simple-looking mini appliance packs a punch and will have you inhaling deeply. SHOP NOW
The company Therabody was founded in 2016 by a doctor after he had a traumatic motorcycle accident. Its first product remains its most beloved: the Theragun, a percussive massager used by athletes following their workouts and the rest of us following, well, any kind of everyday stress. This tension-melting device is well-designed, weighty, and powerful. Those who like a lighter touch may find it too intense, but for anyone who welcomes the pleasurable/painful feeling that a massage is really working, the Elite will be your new best friend. SHOP NOW
Unless you live under a rock, you know that vinyl is back, and lucky for those of us who love records, some of the best electronics companies are making turntables. If you’re spinning tunes at home this holiday season, the Denon DP-400 is the crème de la crème: a beautifully designed belt-driving hi-fi turntable that can play at 33 1/3 rpm, 45 rpm, and 78 rpm. It takes mere minutes to set up, and connects easily to any amplifier or system with analog inputs or phono inputs. So start dancing. SHOP NOW
If you’re a (very) amateur picture taker like me, it’s easy to be daunted by cameras. That’s why I turned to a professional photographer, our executive editor, Skye Parrott, for a recommendation. My specs? I want a camera from a reputable brand, that looks cool, takes great photos no matter the conditions (or lighting) I’m in, and has both analog and digital capabilities. She told me the choice was clear: the Leica D-Lux 7 ticks all the boxes. The sleek, compact camera is virtually foolproof in any setting, and easily connects to Bluetooth to sync with your smartphone. It’s a portable but powerful tool to add to your memory-making arsenal. SHOP NOW
Sweet dreams are made of this. If you’re looking to actually rest this season, meet the Tuft & Needle x Snooz White Noise Machine, which uses natural noise to provide a soothing, uninterrupted soundscape. This pretty, unassuming app-controlled orb generates consistent sound with a real fan, so there’s no looping or compression. Just a sweet hush to help deepen relaxation and sleep. SHOP NOW
Nina Renata Aron is a writer and editor based in Oakland, California. She is the author of “Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls.” Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, the New Republic, Elle, Eater, and Jezebel.
Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.
Unpacking the history, allure, and ways to use the humble Moka pot.
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