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I have so many opinions about coffee (worked as barista in college), but ultimately great coffee costs a bunch and is inconvenient to create. Not worth it for me.
I chug the drip swill FOR THE DRUGS
P.s. that having been said this grinder does great for anything other than French press (too much fine stuff in coarse grinds), and lasts forever. We abuse the fuck out of the one my friend gifted me, and it was great for 5 years until the top burr part wore out. And then we replaced it and it's still awesome.
Didn't notice a difference with the coffee while using the $10 grinder though....
I'm not sure you're going to find a decent grinder for $100, much less 2 of them. The biggest cost are the burrs, and even if you find a used one, chances are the burrs will be dull. Try to save a little more and you can get a brand new Baratza Encore. It's a great entry level grinder. Here's a link:
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder [link]
Family members love it and it has lasted for them. I'm doing aeropress as well so this works for me. If you are making your own espresso at home though I've read that you should go with their higher end model.
ooh, here's a rabbit hole we can go down
i've had one of these for several years now, which is considered the go-to entry-level burr grinder by the coffeegeek.com crows - you'd think, "how much diff could it possibly make?" but it totally does
i used to sip on coffee machine coffee all day - but now i only use either a £3 hario pourover cone, 32g of coffee into a big insulated mug and i'm set for the day on one fantastic cup - or 32g into the aeropress, pressed into lightly foamed microwaved milk, and there's my perfect flat white - once you have the knack, it really doesn't take that long, and both are far better than anything at all but the coffeegeekiest shop
You should buy the beans and grind them at home. (Here's my explanation of why.) The goal is to grind as close to brewing as possible; you definitely don't want to grind days before, and really not even twenty minutes. (Imagine eating hours-old popcorn.) This is a great grinder, and you'll be amazed at the difference in quality.
The process of getting coffee from the tree to the cup is complicated. It's picked, transported, dried, cleaned (usually washed), shipped, roasted, ground, brewed, and drank (drunk?). Most people just do the last two, but you should do the last three, and you can do the last four, if you want even more control and freshness.
The grinder is the most important part of making coffee. A good grinder will produce consistent particle size which when brewed will extract evenly. This way, you can dial in the grind to precisely match your brew-method.
I'd recommend the Baratza Encore ($129) if you want electric; or, if you're willing to spend more ($180) and do a little work the
Lido 2 manual grinder is unmatched and works great for all brew methods.
Regarding brewers, I'd start with pour over, get a Hario v60 & Filters - it's pretty simple to learn and there are lot's of instructional videos.
Alternatively people seem to really like the AeroPress
> I really want to learn to make good coffee at home so that my wife is happy to wake up in the morning. Plus, I'd like to save some money instead of going to Starbucks every morning. I don't personally like coffee (I wish I did. Closest I came to enjoying coffee was drinking a caramel brulée latte from Starbucks last Christmas) but I find the craft of it absolutely fascinating. And I'm really interested in learning to get my wife's perfect cup of coffee down to a science. (And if I learn to enjoy coffee, all the better)
So I started down this exact path about 8 or 9 years ago for my gal as well. I also had no interest in coffee but enjoyed the convergence of art & science.
Anyway the following is what I ended up with [and what I paid].
You can be patient like I did and buy over time to get things on sale but after owning each item for multiple years now I can wholeheartedly recommend each component.
All in a buddy was using a Keurig for the past few years and when it broke he reached out to me for the same thing. He bought everything but the scale (it was almost $70 when he was buying) and his wife is in LOVE with the setup. The neat thing is once you get the grinder and scale your options to multiple brewing methods opens up. Then with the water kettle you can then use it all for the Aeroporess, Kalita Wave, Chemex, V60, Clever Dripper (ETC) brewing methods.
Anyway once you have good enough gear you can then start trying finding local roasters and different beans. We have tried a few local joints and just recently found a few beans roasted fresh that are substantially better than anything we were purchasing in grocery stores. Alternatively there are SO many online stores to try (and a biweekly friday thread on r/coffee for what beans people are currently trying).
Compared to the $5+ a drink at starbucks we make great coffee at home for typically less than $1 a cup and it takes less than 5 minutes all in, including cleanup.
Best bang for buck grinder.
For Chistmas I would like to upgrade my Father's coffee game. Currently he uses a cheap electric bean grinder and old french press (I think).
I know he is interested in a Chemex, and I've read that a good burl grinder is a big upgrade over electric grinders. Here is what I'm considering buying:
I assume I'm on the right path. My issue is that I do not know what type of beans to buy him. That part I'm completely lost on. He currently buys 8 o'clock beans, but I've no clue what to buy to expand his horizons.
How much do you want to spend? I picked up a Barataza Encore about a year ago (same price, $130) and it was the best coffee related decision I've made.
Like everyone else has suggested, the Encore is a phenomenal grinder, and happens to be slightly under budget on Amazon.
I have it, and it's absolutely wonderful. And yes, investing in a solid grinder is perhaps the most important step in your coffee setup.
As for cleaning, I believe it comes with a brush which works well. If not, any coffee grinder brush will do. It's easy to maintain. If you are really serious about getting a good clean, buy some Grindz
EDIT: just read the bit about the kettle. Go ahead and buy a gooseneck! As for cleaning it, just boil that sucker with water, vinegar, and lemon juice. Let it sit for a bit, then pour it all out the spout. Get in there with a rag if you need to! I live in a dorm with the hardest water I've ever seen, and this method cleans mine spotless.
What's your budget? If you can drop $130 the Baratza Encore is the way to go.
When it comes to this type of machine there is good, cheap and convenient. You can only pick two of those adjectives.
Keurigs definitely fall into the category of cheap and convenient. I don't mean to sound derogatory or mean, but there's no respect for them here at all.
That said, it does sound like something is off with your machine. Looking at the review, on switching on you should hear a pump activate; the heating light should come on; the water should heat prior to the selection buttons turning blue. There seems to be no control for the water temperature, if it's not heating, then you have a fault.
There is a keurig sub on here that might give you some more advice.
Edit to add: if you really want to treat your mother, get her one of these: [link]
and one of these: [link]
I think the two most important questions are: what are some coffees that you've had and like? What sort of work are you willing to put into it?
My personal recommendation would be to get a Baratza Encore grinder, a digital scale, a gooseneck kettle of some sort, a Chemex, and a French Press. All that should easily fit within your budget. And of all the accessories I have, on 90% of the days I don't use anything other than those. Well, and some coffee beans.
But that will take some work -- measuring, grinding, pouring, waiting, more pouring. It will make much better coffee than any automated machine, but maybe you don't care that much and it sounds like too much work. In that case, the Technivorm Moccamaster and Bonvavita 1900 TS are good options for automatic drip machines.
EDTIT: Sorry, I missed "automatic" in the text. I still don't think that will give you the best coffee, but if you're set on it, ignore everything I said except the Technivorm and Bonavita.
I use Lavazza in the gold package. Tastes good and smells even better. I really want to upgrade to a espresso grinder, but for now I have found the pre ground packages at the local supermarket. They are vacuum sealed and cost around $5 in my area. I keep them in an airtight container, but they still only last about 1 week of max freshness. Get a good quality grinder if you are making espresso. Most reviews say they would rather use a $250 Grinder with a $100 machine than a $1000 machine and a $50 grinder.
As you'll hear from lots of espresso aficionados, the grinder is actually MUCH more important than the machine when making espresso. With a so-so machine it's possible to make great espresso (it just may be pretty difficult, and it might not be very consistent), but with a so-so grinder it is simply not possible to make great espresso. The grind size controls the pressure and flow rate, and with a poor grinder you won't be able to get a grind size fine or consistent enough for espresso.
The best entry-level espresso-capable grinder is probably the Baratza Encore.