Coffee and Equipment

Snob-free Zone

I’m in search of the perfect cup. Espresso or drip. Or any variation between.

It needs perfection without enhancement. It shouldn’t cost too much: Coffee is a drink of the people, not the elite.

I can buy the beans. Grind them. Brew them and pull them. I can buy the best equipment I can afford. But the best coffee I make is when I take the time to do it well.

I’m not a snob. I’ve shamelessly sipped coffee from gas stations. Milk. Sugar. Flavors. Go ahead, drink up.

I prefer it black. Brewed at the proper temperature, but slightly cooler when I drink it is best.

My Equipment

Espresso Machine


Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel

It grinds and pulls nicely, with plenty of options for cappuccinos and more. It’s important to note that as I have reviewed a lot of machines and use one of several every day, depending on if I’m in the kitchen, at the office, and beyond.

Knock Box

Breville BCB100 Knock Box, Die-cast is a basic knock box. There’s no need to overbuy.

My Beans

These vary. Intelligentsia (Chicago) when I can grab a bag. Chicago is a great coffee city. Stumptown, Dark Matter, I Have a Bean, and Metropolis all have filled my cup nicely. As I travel, I see great roasters wherever I go.

Buy local when you can. This is not merely a kind business gesture but because that’s how you’ll get them freshest.

Beans are, in my opinion, more important than any machine. A great machine won’t improve lousy or stale beans.

I like to buy in small batches. You should too. Spend a few extra dollars to ensure your beans are as fresh as possible. For me, I’m looking to use them between the third and seventh day after roasting. Real life doesn’t cooperate, so going into 21 days is OK.

Keep beans in a sealed, cool container, away from sunlight.

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Are we down here? There’s nothing to see. Well, since you are here, “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains.” John Keats wrote that.