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It’s estimated that 49% of American adults drink coffee at least once a day, but serious coffee enthusiasts only make up a very small fraction of those drinkers. Nonetheless, for its most devoted followers, the art of coffee making is one that can always be improved, whether that’s with new techniques or new equipment. Those looking to improve their craft with the latter aren’t short of options: From camp-ready coffee machines to temperature-controlled travel mugs, there’s always a new gadget or accessory that promises to take your coffee to the next level.
We’ve rounded up ten of the most unique coffee gadgets that stand out from the crowd, all of which retail for less than $200, with some costing less than $50. They cover a range of coffee styles and price points, so whether you’re a time-strapped coffee addict or a meticulous home barista, there’s something to make your daily coffee routine that much better.
Ember Smart Mug
While a Bluetooth-enabled smart mug might not be the first thing most people think of when it comes to coffee gadgets, there are some real benefits for dedicated coffee drinkers and casual consumers alike. The Ember Smart Mug’s unique talent is that it’s able to keep coffee, tea, or other hot drinks at a specific temperature for much longer than a conventional mug. Exactly how long depends on the desired temperature: While the mug is rated for around an hour of life between charges, our testing found it to last closer to 35 minutes when turned up to its highest temperature setting.
When it runs out, it’ll need to be placed back on the charging coaster. If you’re the kind of person who always drinks their coffee in a similar place — say, a desk or table — then it’s possible to keep the mug charged enough for a day’s worth of hot drinks. But if you can’t be regularly near the coaster, you might need to keep a second, conventional mug handy for when the Ember is recharging.
It’s not perfect, then, but its app-adjustable temperature control is potentially a boon for drinkers who are very particular about their coffee and how they drink it. Either that, or if you’re the kind of person who frequently puts a coffee down and forgets about it. And while it might be useful, it’s an undeniably pricey gadget, retailing for just under $150.
The original Aeropress proved to be a huge hit among coffee enthusiasts, and the Aeropress Go doesn’t seek to reinvent the formula too much. It’s a revised, smaller version of the original that’s better suited to travel, and so makes a great upgrade for coffee drinkers who spend a lot of time away from home. Unlike the first Aeropress, the Go also features a plastic cup, which can be used in place of a mug or to share out a brew between two people.
Its $40 retail price makes it one of the most affordable gadgets mentioned here, although whether it’s worthwhile depends on a few things. Firstly, whether you already have an Aeropress: The Go is an upgrade over the original, but not a huge one. Secondly, whether you’re a frequent traveler — if not, the larger Aeropress might be worth considering, especially since it can be picked up for just ten bucks more.
For pour-over coffee drinkers who frequently find themselves strapped for time in the morning, the Espro Bloom might just be the answer. It promises coffee in less than half the time of rival cones, but without compromising on quality. Our testing found that it largely lived up to that promise, although there were a few flaws to note. The Bloom’s unique shape means that you’ll need Espro’s filter paper to get the best out of it, and it’s a little pricier than the unbranded equivalent. It also left our brews tasting less full-bodied than with other cones, although that could be offset somewhat by removing the paper altogether. That brought its own problems though, since the Bloom isn’t easy to clean.
However, there were also plenty of things we liked about the cone. It’s made of stainless steel, which makes it feel a lot more solid than most of its rivals, and the rubber grip was useful for handling it when hot. It also does, at heart, deliver what it claims to, with Espro’s claimed brewing time of two minutes taking some practice but nonetheless remaining achievable after a few tries. The Bloom is also reasonably priced, and can be picked up for just under $35.
Makita Mobile Coffee Maker
When you’re working outdoors, or camping off-grid miles away from the nearest outlet, it’s not easy to make good coffee. One of the more novel solutions is Makita’s mobile coffee maker, which uses the same LXT battery found on its power tools and can make up to three 5-ounce cups of coffee per charge. It functions much like any other coffee machine: Simply add in coffee grounds and water and it’s ready to go. There’s no paper filter needed either, as the machine features a permanent drip filter.
When the machine is out of charge, replace the battery pack with a fresh one and you’re good to go. It’s lightweight too, clocking in at just 4.7 pounds including the battery pack. It can fit mugs of up to 3.5 inches in height. Granted, the Makita still isn’t going to deliver quite the same precision as the best tabletop coffee makers, but it’ll be a big improvement over bringing bottled or canned drinks, or simply going without a caffeine hit for a few days. It’s not as expensive as many other coffee makers either, retailing for just over $180.
Sage Smart Grinder Pro by Breville
A step up from the average entry-level coffee grinder, the Sage Smart Grinder Pro offers a huge range of features without being too incomprehensible to less experienced users. The choice of 60 different settings lets users adjust for grind time and size, with the former being adjustable by as little as 0.2 seconds each way. There are four grind categories available, ranging from coarser plunger grind to finer espresso grind, and users can program and save a specific grind for each category.
Unlike some smaller grinders, the Sage will be a permanent presence on your countertop, as it weighs over six pounds and is a little larger than many rivals too. However, its metal and plastic build ensures it’s no eyesore. Its 18-ounce capacity is larger than most, and the support for both 58mm portafilters and smaller 50 or 54mm portafilters is a nice bonus. It’s far from the cheapest grinder on the market, retailing for just under $200, but then again, few others offer quite so much adjustability at any price point.
Nespresso Aeroccino 3
The Nespresso Aeroccino 3 froths milk with a single button press, replacing the need for a steam wand. It’s simple but very effective, and allows coffee drinkers short on time or lacking barista-grade levels of skill to make both hot and cold frothed milk. Operating it is straightforward enough that even the most bleary-eyed users will have no trouble in the mornings. You pour cold milk into the frother, press the button for around a second for hot milk, and around two seconds for cold. Wait for it to do its thing, then pour. It’s worth noting that the Aeroccino 3 comes with two whisks for varying levels of foam, and can also warm the milk without a whisk.
At a retail price of $99, it’s not an insignificant purchase, but the ability to create barista-style coffees without the need to run to the nearest coffee shop will potentially offset some of that cost. A newer, upgraded version of the frother is also available: The Aeroccino 4 retails for $119.00, and features a spout and handle for better pouring precision. There’s also just one whisk for all functions, rather than two. However, the basic functions remain unchanged, so which one to pick will come down more to design preferences than additional features.
Zoku Iced Coffee Maker
Making iced coffee at home can be a frustrating experience. Waiting for the drink to get down to the right temperature and then dealing with the inevitable wateriness that comes with rapidly melting ice all makes for an experience that’s significantly inferior to just buying a drink from a local coffee shop. However, the Zoku solves homemade iced coffee’s biggest problem: It doesn’t require any ice, so there’s nothing to melt. Instead, it features a stainless-steel core that needs to be put in the freezer overnight, and a plastic outer layer for portability.
As soon as you brew the coffee, take the inner core out of the freezer, place it inside the plastic shell, and pour the coffee straight in. After a few minutes, the coffee will have cooled down to exactly the right temperature. Exactly how long it takes depends on how cold you like your coffee, but somewhere around 10-15 minutes should produce suitably chilly temperatures.
There’s one big problem with the Zoku, and that’s the amount of time it takes to refreeze the core after use. It means it’s only suitable for one cup of iced coffee per day, and if you forget to put it in the freezer the night before, you’re out of luck. But still, even if it stops you from venturing into the coffee shop just once or twice a week, its $30 list price becomes worth the investment.
Timemore Black Mirror Pro
A good coffee scale forms a key part of the serious coffee enthusiast’s arsenal, and several brands dominate the top of the market. One of the more recent entries to the space is Timemore, which offers a range of capable models at affordable prices. Of those, the Black Mirror Pro stands out as a particularly good value. Other models in the Timemore range only measure in metric units, but the Black Mirror Pro can be switched between grams and ounces.
A built-in stopwatch also lets you time your pours as well as weigh them, while the water-resistant build means there’s no need to worry if a few splashes of coffee end up on the scale. The Pro’s design is simple and modern, and is available in both black and white. It’s charged via a USB-C port, although you should only need to recharge it once every few weeks or so. At a list price of $67, the Timemore undercuts some of its main high-end rivals, but offers just as much functionality, and arguably looks better to boot.
Ember Travel Mug 2
Ember’s standard ceramic smart mug can only be used around the house or the office, but the Travel Mug offers on-the-go temperature regulation to keep coffee at the ideal temperature no matter where you are. It functions in essentially the same manner as its housebound counterpart: Pour the coffee into the mug and it will cool to a preset temperature, and then the mug will heat it to remain at that exact temperature for up to two hours on battery power. There’s also the option to heat the drink indefinitely when the mug is placed on its charging coaster.
Much like the Smart Mug, the Travel Mug’s temperature is adjusted via the companion smartphone app, and can be defined to within one degree. The latest iteration of the mug also includes support for Apple’s Find My. It can hold up to 12 ounces of liquid — that’s not much, considering its price. In fact, at a retail price of roughly $200, only the most dedicated coffee fanatics will be able to justify forking out for this most cutting-edge of cups. It’s a high price to pay to avoid the hassle of a burnt mouth or lukewarm coffee, but potentially a worthwhile one if you’re extremely particular about your morning joe.
Govee Smart Kettle
Another niche gadget aimed squarely at the most dedicated smart kitchen enthusiasts is the Govee smart kettle, which adds a range of app-connected functions to the humble kitchen kettle. It can also be controlled via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It features several presets for different types of tea and coffee, so you always get ideal water temperature. You can also adjust the target temperature through the app.
Pour-over coffee drinkers who find themselves short on time in the mornings might also find the kettle’s timer feature useful. It can be set in advance, or triggered remotely through the app, so by the time you get down to the kitchen, the water is already boiled.
Perhaps the biggest downside to the Govee is its price – at $79.99, it’s more expensive than a standard kettle, and its time-saving capabilities are limited by your ability to remember to pre-fill it the night before. However, combine it with the Espro Bloom and you’ll potentially shave precious minutes off making your morning coffee, as well as ensuring the water is the perfect brewing temperature every time.
Source : SlashGear