In what is slowly becoming a favorite series of mine to write, today’s guide focuses on coffee brewing paraphernalia that isn’t 100% necessary to have in your life, but is worthy of your consideration all the same.
Whether you want anything on this list for yourself or you’re looking for something novel to gift a loved one, I bet at least one thing here will pique your interest.
The Norwegian-made, timeless-looking Tias Kettle by Os Tableware isn’t just any kettle. It’s designed for brewing what’s called kokekaffe (don’t ask us to pronounce it), a traditional Scandinavian kettle-steeped coffee sometimes referred to as “cowboy coffee”.
The brewing process is actually similar to what happens inside a French press: You mix some coffee into the water boiling inside, let them get to know each other a few minutes, then serve. You’re probably thinking, “Wait, wouldn’t you just be pouring the grounds directly into your cup?” Good question, but no. The Tias Kettle has a removable plastic flow restrictor in its spout, which prevents grit from entering the cup while still letting all those tasty coffee oils through.
In the end, this is a novel way to brew coffee for you and any guests you have over.
As far as we’re aware, for North American customers the Tias Kettle is only available for $220 from Heart Coffee Roasters in Portland, OR. For those of you in Europa, Asia, and Africa, check Os Tableware’s international retailer list to find one more locally.
The folks at Fellow — makers of the Stagg EKG kettle — have an interesting product called Prismo that attaches to your AeroPress coffee maker (in place of the existing cap) and produces an espresso-like shot. No, it’s not actually espresso, but it’s pretty dang close and you don’t have to buy a whole separate machine.
It’s comprised of two main features: a pressure-actuated valve and a reusable fine-mesh stainless steel filter. The airtight valve doesn’t drip unless you put pressure on it, solving the “slow drip” problem inherent to the AeroPress. Two things to keep in mind:
- It does take more pressure to pull a shot from Prismo than you’d apply for a typical AeroPress brew, so expect a bit of an arm workout.
- Don’t use it on a thin/fragile glass vessel.
The resulting shot is full-bodied and has a long-lasting “crema”, with a thickness and consistency comparable to traditional espresso. You can even do a bit of latte art with it. If you think tomorrow will call for some cold brew, it can do that too.
The Gourmia GK320B foldable kettle is a silicone kettle that’s great for making coffee or tea on the go, then collapses down for easy storage. It works with two different voltages (100-120V and 220-240v) so you can bring it anywhere your travels take you. It holds enough water for 1 or 2 cups, and the heating element boils water within minutes.
The main downside is that the silicone interior can at first impart a funny taste and smell to the water you heat in it. To remedy this, you can simply boil water in it a few times — preferably with either a couple teaspoons of baking soda or some vinegar (but not both!) — and give it a good rinsing afterward. The silver ring around the top of the base also gets extremely hot during use, so be mindful not to burn your hand on it.
A home espresso machine is one of those specialty tools that almost no one needs, but for that person who really wants one, it pays to have one that does it all. Breville’s Barista Express fits the bill. It has a built-in conical burr grinder (sweet!), super accurate PID (proportional integral derivative) temperature control, an articulating steam wand for frothing milk, and includes all the accessories you need for pulling shots and steaming milk.
Let’s be honest, brewing pour-over coffee doesn’t have to be all that complicated. Most people don’t need a full rig in their kitchen to get the job done. However, if you’re truly dedicated to this brewing style, Osaka’s handsome pour-over coffee dripper w/ wood stand is a full set that has just about everything you need (minus a kettle).
- A wire stand with a stainless steel drip plate and water-resistant wooden trim. Also sports non-slip grips underneath.
- Stainless steel double cone filter.
- 20 oz. borosilicate glass carafe, which — in addition to being thermal shock-resistant — won’t absorb any odors, chemicals or residue from the coffee you brew.
Need a little music in your water-boiling routine? Check out Richard Sapper’s delightful Alessi 9091 kettle, which sports a brass whistle that produces a pleasant little melody when the water’s ready, rather than an ear-piercing screech.
The thing is, it’s not that good of a kettle as these things go. It’s certainly very solidly constructed, maybe even indestructible, but there are tradeoffs: The kettle is quite heavy even when empty, and it takes a long time to heat up. It’s also pretty expensive, at $225.
But, we’d argue you wouldn’t buy something like this for practicality anyway. You can use it like a normal kettle, but it’s more of a fun collector’s item from the 1980s — a quirky art piece you can show off to your friends and family.