My Coffee Setup (2021)

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 5 min read
My Coffee Setup (2021)

How about something totally not technical for once!? I think I’d rather use an Android phone than stop drinking coffee, so I thought it might be fun to look at my real addition: coffee.

Let’s get deep.

The Beans

The most important part of the coffee making process are the beans you’re going to use. You can have the fanciest gear in the world, but if you’re using Folgers coffee grounds, you’re not going to get something great (to my taste, at least).

I’m a subscriber to the Atlas Coffee Club and I get 2 bags of coffee every month from them. I sometimes run out before the month is up, and in that case I will get something from a local grocery store like Intelligentsia or Two Brothers. I recently tried BLK & Bold which was pretty good as well.

I keep the beans in a 50oz mason jar that I got from Target a couple years ago.

The Grind

To get the most flavor from your beans, you want to grind them as close to when you are going to use them as possible, so I have a kitchen scale I got for like $8 on clearance so that I can weigh out exactly how many beans I need.

The scale no longer exists, but any kitchen scale will do, I literally got this once because it was so cheap, so I’m not picky here.

I happen to know that I need about 35-42g of beans depending on the method I’m using that day, so I fill it up with however much I need.

Then the beans get thrown in the Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder, which I’ve now owned for about 4 years. I think the white one looks great when it’s clean, but it’s going to get messy, so I think I’d suggest going with the black one.

I’m not super partial to this specific grinder, but I do know that I want a burr grinder to get more flavor out of the beans, and i just like how this one looks so I got it, sue me 🙃

The Brew

I have 2 methods of brewing my coffee. The first method is the classic drip coffee maker.

I happen to have the Bodum Bistro Electric Coffee Maker and I got it because it has 3 things I really wanted:

  1. It looks nice
  2. It has a programmable brew time
  3. It’s freaking $30

This works how you’d expect, and I tend to use this every week night as I grind the beans and put them in here so it can brew at 5:30am, just 15 minutes before I wake up. There’s something special about waking up and being able to drink coffee with zero work.

Method 2 is usually reserved for the weekends, and it’s pour over. First I have to boil water. I’m not passionate about this bit, but I was gifted this electric kettle by my wife’s grandmother, so it’s the one I use. It’s a KitchenAid 1.25L Electric Kettle and it’s fine. It does look nice, but I would like to get a clear one so I can see how close the thing is to boiling and how much water is in there.

Then I pour over in the 8-cup Classic Chemex which is the only thing I bought on Amazon Prime day last year…and I did not get it from Amazon. I love this thing, and it helps me make the best coffee I know how to make, which is why my weekend coffee is a real treat.

The Mug

I have an assortment of coffee cups that I’ve accumulated over the course of a few years (mostly as Christmas presents). A few of my favorites include:

These sit on a Wisconsin-shaped, Green Bay Packer cutting board that I got from my uncle a few years ago and I have no idea where he got it.

The Setup

My setup is not very pretty, frankly. I know this post might be better for scratching that aesthetic itch if things were nicely arranged on a perfectly clean, modern counter, but that’s just not how it goes. I have a shelf where all this is crammed in, and it’s right above my toaster, dish towels, and buns.

The coffee still tastes great, though!

Shopping List

So it took me years to accumulate all this stuff, and I don’t expect anyone to buy all of this stuff today. With that in mind, here are the things I’d recommend looking at to get the biggest bang for your buck today.

  1. Better coffee. Seriously, if you put better beans into your current coffee making flow, you’ll immediately get better tasting coffee. A lot of fancier coffee comes as whole bean, but fear not, if you don’t have a grinder yet, you can almost always get it ground up as well. In terms of brands, I like Atlas, and Intelligentsia is great too, but my suggestion would be to go to a local coffee shop and buy some of their coffee to see if you like it. Otherwise, and this may sounds dumb, but buy one of the more expensive ones at your grocery store. Price does not guarantee quality, but it does increase the odds.
  2. Better cups. This may seem silly, but coffee is kinda like vinyl, half of the enjoyment is the experience, and drinking out of a nicer cup or thermos is going to improve your experience. The coffee will objectively taste the same, but you may enjoy it a bit more anyway.
  3. New coffee maker. Which one you get doesn’t really matter, but get one that makes coffee they way you want. Maybe you want it simple, in which case something like the drip coffee maker with a timer is the one for you. Maybe you want to have something that looks nice and makes you coffee feel fancy, in which case a Chemex might be right for you. this truly doesn’t matter a ton, but since you can get a totally great one for like $30, it’s not a bad investment.

Just remember, the coffee is 90% of the battle here, so go out and find something that you love. You can make the best coffee in the cheapest drip coffee maker you can buy from Walmart and it’ll still taste pretty damn good.