3 Ways to Brew Better Coffee at Home When Money is No Object


[Photo: Liz Clayton]

Home coffee setups don't have to be cafe-caliber to make a big change in your daily routine. But if you're the sort of person for whom money is no object—or are in charge of selecting just the thing for someone of the sort—we encourage you to break the bank and buy one of these lavish toys. After all, coffee, and you, are worth it—right?

1. Trifecta Brewer

Are you looking for a fully automated countertop coffee (or tea?) brewer that's um, more than just a little extreme? Are you looking for something that looks sort of like an Aeropress that married your dishwasher in order to produce the perfect cup of coffee? Look to the Bunn Trifecta MB, an at-home version of the cafe-grade "air infusion" brewing machine released a couple of years ago.

Though not that many cafes have made the commitment to this curious-looking beast, the home version may prove more worthy—after all, who doesn't want to practice a little "turbulence surfing" of a weekend morning? This may be just the gadgety solution for someone who's looking to go beyond a pod machine and into a land of fine-tuned full automation (you can play with time, as well as the dishwasher, er, turbulence cycle). The idea being that user attenuation of things like time and agitation can enhance the tasting experience—each coffee's a little different, naturally—but that once you've dialed in your settings, this machine will do exactly what you want, for you, each time. And it sure is weird to watch! This model, their newly released consumer version, will run you about $530.

2. HotTop Coffee Roaster

Though at-home roasting isn't something this writer prefers to recommend—it can be hard to do well, and affordably, on this scale—there will always be those who prefer a hands-on approach to all aspects of their coffee experience. For you, then, is the HotTop roaster, a small, 1/2 pound roaster, that you can easily fit into your house or garage—so long as you promise me not to burn them down.

This is a drum roaster, meaning it rotates coffee in a cylindrical drum over heat, rather than the more common home roasters that heat coffee in more of a blow-dryer fashion, but it will also require a great deal of attention and being deeply tuned-in to your roasting process. If this sounds like just the romantic relationship you'd like to have with your own coffee, the different models range from $800-1000, depending on how much computerization you'd like in your intensely hands-on process. Just remember to ventilate, or I'll have to tell your fire insurance on you.

3. La Marzocco GS/3 Espresso Machine

Do you simply love to prepare espresso using the finest tools, or would you like to? Do you live nowhere near a retail establishment where other people can easily do this for you during most daylight hours? For those hunting for the best of the best home machines, without budgetary threshold, the single-group La Marzocco GS/3 has held down this corner of the market for several years now.

Hand crafted by the esteemed espresso machine manufacturer based in Florence, Italy, the GS/3 is the machine for you if you're looking for a professional quality machine that won't require an electrician or a plumber (fancy that!). The machine's dual boilers offer pressure to both the espresso group head and the steam wand separately—offering power surpassing nearly any other home machine on the market. The mechanical paddle option allows you full temperature-surfing control, or you can have it fully or semi-automated if that's your thing. Of course, it all comes at a price (but it costs less than it used to!)...expect to pay about $6500 for this beautiful creature. And you might have to make some extra room by throwing away the breadbox, too.