Home coffee setups don't have to be wild and crazy to make a big change in your daily routine. In this third of a series, we'll explore three easy ways to make huge improvements in what you taste—and how you think about brewing—each and every day. For those looking to take their home coffee bar to the next level, we offer a few ways to go big without robbing the bank.
1. KONE Filter
For those already converted to the Chemex, but looking for a way to brew that's both sexier and more sustainable, the wizards at Able Brewing (now spun off from Coava Coffee Roasters in Portland) bring you the new, improved KONE filter. The original KONE (pictured above) drew accolades, and has been improved upon with a support ring, "safer" flat tip (not sure how many injuries were reported, but we're sure everyone has recovered nicely by now). It fits in a standard Chemex as well as V60s and similar fully conical brewers.
Through its fine-grained stainless steel perforations, the KONE allows more of coffee's natural oils and acids into the cup—like a French press—allowing for a broader range of flavor than traditional paper filtration allows. And at $60, this American-made toy isn't chopping down trees left and right just so you can get your filthy little coffee fix, missy.
2. The Woodneck Dripper
For those to whom the notion of a metal filter does not appeal, how about a sock? Enthusiasts of the "sock" filter, best represented in the Hario Woodneck or "Nel Pot" ('nel being an abbreviation indicating this filter is flyin' the flannel), can't say enough about the subtle, delicious results of cloth brewing.
Hario's stylish, petite, and mid-priced (you'll be able to find it between $40 and $60 depending on where you look) carafe brewer allows for full development of your coffee's aromatics and flavor, while eliminating any of that disagreeable sediment that other body-forward brewing methods permit. Plus, it's terribly beautiful and pleasurable to use—at least up until the point where you have to clean the filter. Worth it, though.
3. Bonavita Kettle
While an abundance of luxurious water-pourers exist in the coffee world, the terrain of electric-yet-designed-for-careful-pouring is widely untrodden thus far. We've been spared purgatory, however, by Bonavita's 1 liter electric kettle, which at an affordable $50-60 is an electrifyingly great alternative to similar kettles which cost more and do not, themselves, heat water.
The gooseneck pour spout isn't the most precise on the market, but is comparable to the Hario Buono, and like I said—the water is already hot. (And watch the shelves for the soon-to-be-released variable-temperature kettle from these guys—tea people, I'm looking at you.) Clear off a little counter space for this one and shave some time off of your kettle routine, while having the precision control you need for that coffee in your steel KONE or flannel sock.
About the author: Liz Clayton drinks, photographs and writes about coffee and tea all over the world, though she pretends to live in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently compiling photographs of the best coffee in the world to be published by Presspop later this year.