Good Food Blog
Top 10 coffee gadgetsPosted at 12:02PM, 27 April 2012 by Sarah Sysum - Assistant editor, Easy Cook magazine
Are you something of a caffeine addict? Sarah has 'bean' shopping to find the best gadgets to help you with the daily grind...
Krups GVX2 Expert Coffee Grinder
Whilst you can buy cheaper grinders it's really worth investing in a burr grinder if you can. Unlike traditional mills, which chop beans unevenly, the burr system crushes your coffee into thousands of uniformly-sized grains, without overheating, so it preserves the full flavour and aroma of the coffee. This model is pretty quiet and easy to use. I like the way you can set both the amount you grind and the size of grain you want.
BeanVac Coffee Bean Canister
If you can't buy your beans in freshly roasted batches regularly, then an airtight container is the best storage. This canister has a built-in battery-powered pump that sucks the air out of the container - meaning your beans will remain fresher, longer. The pump automatically activates whenever there is a pressure change in the canister, so you can take beans out and the vacuum kicks into action when you shut the lid again.
Coffee Joulies, set of 5
Joulies are a food-safe 'thermodynamic heat storage device' that looks like a coffee bean. Pop one of these into your mug and it will bring it down to a drinkable temperature 3x faster than usual and will keep it there 2x as long. These work particularly well when they're used in conjunction with an insulated mug, as you get the benefits of both heat-saving devices. Of course, if you're an espresso drinker you're not going to really reap the benefits, but if you like to sip your coffee, this is one little gadget worth adding to your collection.
Aerolatte Caffe Porcellana, Black
A traditional Italian style 4-cup espresso maker with an enamelled induction-friendly aluminum base and a porcelain pot that separate from the espresso base so you don't have to take the device to the table. I think the design is reminiscent of more expensive Italian brands. It made a lovely espresso with a thick layer of crema. However do use the coffee pretty swiftly at the little jug does cool down quickly.
Como espresso cup
This is the nearest I've seen to an Illy espresso cup (which retail at around £50 a cup). It has a large base with sides tapering to the top of the cup, which helps, keep heat for longer and allows a thicker layer of crema. For a really good coffee we suggest, as the top barista's do, that you pre-heat your cup before use by running hot water into the cup first, letting it heat up, and dumping the water before brewing into it.
£1.46 (saucer extra), coffeecups.co.uk
Horwood stainless steel milk frother
This clever jug is designed with a widened base and gradual sloping walls to produce optimal milk froth. I like the stylish design, which has some nice touches including the cool to touch Bakelite-style handle, which keeps your hands away from the steam.
Nespresso® Magimix® M100 Automatic
Confession: I've always been a bit sniffy about pod machines. Thinking they didn't make a decent coffee. This dinky machine has changed my mind. Firstly the capsules are sealed as soon as the bean has been ground, and I was hard pressed to tell the difference between this and coffee made the manual way. Really easy it was to use; pop a pod in and press down and it's good to go. It's easy to clean too. It's worth shelling out the extra for the machine that comes with the Aeroccino milk frother as it's definitely the best electric milk frothing jug on the market.
TFA milk thermometer
If you are planning on frothing your own milk then a milk thermometer is a must. This easy to read thermometer is the one the professionals use. It measures the temperature of the milk and the colour coding indicates when it reaches frothing temperature of between 56°C and 75°C. It comes with a handy clip to fix to your milk jug - a must for latte addicts.
Kitchen Craft Le'Xpress Coffee Measure and Bag Clip, Stainless Steel
A great coffee measurer, firstly because the neck is long enough to reach into the bag without covering your hands with coffee grains, but even more so because the integral clip on the handle seals the bag shut, so no more searching around for a spare clip. The spoon is good quality with quite a strong spring on the clip. Whilst not airtight it holds the bag closed pretty tightly.
Bodum PEBO coffee maker
Science geeks, this one's for you. In this unusual coffee maker, the water is heated in the bottom component, and as pressure builds the water rises and mixes with the coffee grounds. When the ideal temperature of 94°C is reached, the pot is removed from the stovetop and the liquid descends back into the bottom carafe. The result is you get the well-rounded flavour associated with a cafetière without the residual grinds at the bottom.
And if you're looking for coffee...
Sweet, smooth and easy drinking, this will please even the most addicted coffee fiends Climpson & sons decaf Brasil, £5.50/250g, webcoffeeshop.co.uk.
Lovely breakfast coffee with acidity and a touch of nuttiness too. Grumpy Mule Panama Hacienda La Esmeralda, £4.59/227g, grumpymule.co.uk.
By far the best micro-ground (this is a mixture of instant and ground coffee) we've tested; rich, smooth with a proper earthy flavour. If making a proper coffee is just too much work this will fool a lot of hardened coffee drinkers. Carte Noire Instinct, £4.99/100g, Tesco.