Gear Guide: The Coffee-Making Essentials

If there’s one bottom-line lesson to take away from How to Make Coffee, Lani Kingston’s new book from Abrams on the art of brewing, it’s that the quality of your tools are just as important as that of your beans. Here, we tested the essentials you need to make the perfect cup—and found the best-designed versions to make sure they'll also look great on your countertop.

For more on How To Make Coffee, read our of review of the book »

Courtesy Hario
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Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Grinder

Of the two types of grinders—blade grinders (which slice or chop beans in a propeller-like system) and burr grinders (which use two revolving abrasive surfaces to pulverize them)—experts argue that the latter encourages a smoother extraction, thanks to a more uniform, even grind. After abandoning my Coffee-Mate for this compact hand-cranked mill, I noticed an improvement in flavor and consistency between brews—especially when using the French press, whose course grind is harder to approximate using a motorized blade grinder that relies on running time and constant eyeballing.