Like the Ember temperature adjustable mug before it, Power Practical’s Jul Heated Smart Mug is godsend for those who like to nurse their coffee or tea, albeit with a stark price drop that comes with ditching the batteries. The goal when drinking coffee/tea is simple: get your drink down to a reasonable temperature quickly but have it stay there longer — or even indefinitely. Jul does so by shedding the excess insulation found in most travel mugs, which tend to keep temperatures piping hot and undrinkable for hours, and replaces it with a heater that’s adjusted by a twist of the base to set between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, place it on its cigarette adapter- (for in-car use) or USB-powered coaster. Thermometers inside the mug detect when the temperature has hit the set target, conveying this to you by way of a subtle glow from the base that lights up blue for too cool, red for too hot, and white for just right. It also includes a concave lid that’ll clear even the biggest of noses and that seals shut and opens up (to sip, or to vent and further cool your coffee) with a twist.
Grab one at Kickstarter – $45
With commercial-grade features found on machines expressly made for cafes and the like, the Rocket Espresso Mozzafiato Evoluzione R is perfect for those willing to invest a bit more effort (and cash) into a capable home espresso setup. Features include a 1.8-litre insulated boiler to brew and steam simultaneously, a full-sized rotary pump that pulls water from an integrated reservoir or, alternatively, from a direct water line, and a PID controller that keeps a close eye on water temperature. Its Italian-made good looks and chromed-out exterior don’t hurt, either.
Coffee aficionados have all likely enjoyed their share of espressos brewed from a La Marzocco machine. Some may even have visited their cafe/lab in Seattle. But even the best machine used by a skilled barista won’t make an excellent cup without good beans suited to your taste to begin with. That’s why La Marzocco’s Home Espresso Subscription wants to help you discover coffees you’d otherwise never stumble upon in your neck of the woods. The service ships two twelve-ounce bags to your door each month alongside brewing tips and parameters straight from the roasters’ mouth (or pen), to get you experimenting and mastering the tricks of the trade. April’s coffee — the single-origin Finca Tamana Espresso — from the acclaimed Tim Wendleboe of Oslo, Norway; others promise to be equally impressive.
Check it out at La Marzocco Home – $39 per month
You may have already heard of Kopi Luwak, the rarest (and priciest) coffee in the world — you know, the one made from half-digested coffee cherries found in harvested palm civet excrement. It may sound disgusting but it’s not quite the case as they’re cleaned before roasting. Not that we’ve tried it ourselves but the end result is apparently quite good, and now it’s coming to your Nespresso machine in the form of Halo Kopi Luwak Diamond Coffee Pods. Besides the premium coffee within, these pods are the first to be fully compostable thanks to a bamboo and paper pulp blend, so you can throw them into your compost bin and they’ll degrade away along with the used-up coffee inside. Of course at $10 a pod you’ll need to really want it, though Halo’s got other, less premium (but still premium by any other measure) pods ready to go as well.
Learn more at Halo – roughly $120
Manual methods are coveted for making the best coffee, but auto-drip has its perks, especially when brewed up by a Technivorm Moccamaster KBG 741 coffee machine. Fill its clear reservoir with water, pop in a Type 4 paper filter and some grounds on top, then set it to work. It’ll brew up a carafe of 10 cups in six minutes and does so with obsessive temperature controls in place (with temps at a consistent 196 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit), a nine-hole spray arm to evenly soak and disperse the water over the grind, and a build made of entirely replaceable parts on the off chance something gives out. It’s also not half bad to look at and comes in over a dozen color options if plain brushed silver won’t do.
Obsessed with the consistency of your grinds? You’ll likely appreciate the Kruve Coffee Grind Sifter. Kruve doesn’t replace your existing coffee grinder: instead, once the beans are done grinding, pour them into Kruve, close its lid, and shake gently side to side. The first sieve in the triangular device traps boulders (large particles) while the second, finer sieve lets through fines (powder-like particles) — both which otherwise adversely affect the taste of your brew — leaving behind a middle layer of perfectly consistent grinds. Interchangeable sieves come in twelve sizes, from 200μm to 1100μm, in 50 to 100μm intervals, so your grinds can be as perfect as you like. Boulders can always be re-ground the next time while fines can be composted or used in cooking.
Find it at Kruve – $50+
Brewing a coffee with a Nespresso machine is quick and convenient, but we can’t help but feel a little guilty every time we down an espresso shot after adding another pod to the trash. Colonna’s Compostable Coffee Pods ease feelings of wrongdoing by turning, as their name suggests, into compost in your home’s composter after use, sparing landfills. The coffee inside is a step above Nespresso’s offerings as well, with single-origin coffee from the Mi Bendicion farm in Honduras for now and more to come.
Learn more at Colonna – roughly $30 for 40 pods
Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it won’t brew great coffee. The Brux Pour-Over Coffee System doubles as both the vessel and brewer, with a vacuum-insulated mug as its base that contains a retractible brew cone for portability. To brew, pull up the brew cone, add a filter plus ground coffee, pour over some boiling water, then remove the cone and drink — all in all no different in function than a traditional pour-over system but significantly more convenient. Also included is a cap for a grand total of three parts. And since there’s no glass it’s the perfect coffee-brewing companion for bringing to the beach or to camping, not to mention a practical way to dodge the inexpertly brewed drip coffee at work.
Find it at Boco Living – $70