Coffee

Watch closely now

Espresso, Intelligentsia

If you need proof of coffee practiced as an obsession, art form and science, this quick video -- a "how-to" on making a cup of espresso -- is exhibit A. Intellegentsia Coffee in Venice, California can come off as a little pretentious at first; but what you're really seeing is an unabashed expertise in truly great coffee. "We take every single step in the chain, from seed to cup, as seriously as possible", Kyle Glanville extols. We believe him.

Coffee for the man on the move

High and Dry: 5 Best Instant Coffees

Instant coffee belongs to the category of cultural food relics, the type of product introduced at a World's Fair, perfected with the help of military research, and eventually relegated to the pantries of grandmothers everywhere. It's a food item for people at the fringes: too old, too tired, too time-strapped, cookies for breakfast, sweatpants all day. Coffee purists will swat it from your hand. But we've all got a little stash just in case, don't we? Because the beautiful thing about instant coffee is that it's cheap, fast and the lowest-volume solution for getting a coffee fix on the move. We surveyed the market to find the best instant coffees readily available in grocery stores. We weren't looking for something that stacks up to a cup of Zambian Ljulu Lipati from Intelligentsia, but we did want a close approximation to freshly brewed coffee.

Hot coffee, un-burned crotch

10 Best Mugs for the Morning Commute

Life seems to get difficult quick if you can't bring your coffee with you; but if you spill, your treasured drink can become a mortal enemy. Nobody wants that. The solution: a great travel mug.

Better your inner barista

Single Origin Beans vs Blends: A Primer

Let’s face it: the average North American spends less time contemplating the beans behind his morning motivator than it takes his barista to scowl disapprovingly. To open his eyes and shed a little light into those dark waters, the GP team delves into the differences between single origin and blended coffees. Our goal? To arm you with information on micro-lot farming, blend aging and why that cup tastes the way it does. It's all about being informed and maximizing enjoyment in your every-morning drink. So put on your scholar cap, pour yourself a cup and read on to explore the methods used to turn those remarkable beans into a masterpiece.

In Search of Higher Grounds

Coffee Beans: Know Your Regions

Where did that coffee in your hand come from? We profile the major coffee growing regions of the world, helping you make an informed decision when it comes to Brazilian versus Indonesian, Colombian versus Monsoon beans from India. Grab a cup and study up.

Knowledge, Caffeinated Lore and Tools of the Brew

Introducing: Fortnight of Coffee

It's time to roll out the Fortnight of Coffee, two weeks of stories about our favorite morning drink. In our third issue (previously, Month of Beef and Bond Week) you can expect gear roundups, original storytelling, photo essays, videos and a few surprises. Hold on to your mugs. Coffee’s up.

Brew True

Behmor Brazen Coffee Brewer

Ask any coffee aficionado about the best method for brewing a cup and they’ll rifle off one of several manual techniques. That’s because doing it yourself is far more precise than your average Mr. Sloppy in terms of water temperature and distribution, which are key for the proper extraction of coffee bean oils. Behmor’s Brazen...

A baker's dozen for the culinary nut

12 Guys of Christmas: The Chef

Blame Anthony Bourdain and his gallivanting food porn circus. Blame Bravo’s utterly watchable, bro-it’s-not-reality-TV show, Top Chef. Blame the hipsters, the bandwagoners, the trust-funders — and for Guy Fieri’s sake — please, someone, blame Bobby Flay. Because if one thing is certain in today’s chow-crazy culture, it’s that you’ve got a foodie on your holiday...

Fostering your addiction

La Colombe Pure Black

If you sneer when people ask “cream and sugar?” you have two problems: a mean attitude and a nasty coffee addiction. La Colombe Pure Black ($6) coffee concentrate aims to abate the latter (which, fortunately, may also dismiss the former). The bottled java is steeped for 16 hours in stainless steel wine tanks — ah,...

The Fort Knox of coffee

Friis Coffee Vault

We appreciate the chain cup o’ joes that keep us rolling on the road; but at home, we especially attend to the efforts and offerings of the world’s coffee-roasting elite. To make sure those efforts don’t go to pot, keep your morning motivators in the Friis Coffee Vault ($22+). Like most coffee canisters, the Friis...

Rise and Grind

Baratza Virtuoso

Regardless of what those holiday commercials suggested as you were growing up, you can’t get excellent coffee by just scooping it out of a refrigerated red container. Grinding fresh beans is the fastest way to improve the quality of your coffee, but the way you grind is a big question mark. The Baratza Virtuoso ($249)...

Thanks a latte

Starbucks Verismo Coffee Maker

If you don’t yet have a single cup coffee maker, you probably will soon. And if you’re a ‘Bucks addict, your buy date just got bumped up. The Starbucks Verismo ($199+) maker takes a big step forward in home coffee brewers, providing a multitude of professional-level drinks in the comfort of your own home. Where...

Map o’ Java

Compendium of Coffee

We like our women coffee strong and sweet but regardless of your preferences, the Compendium of Coffee has the range covered. An exploration of the various grinds (extra-coarse to extra-fine), production methods (steeping, pour-over or drip, vacuum, or pressure) and outputs (coffee; regular or concentrated; espresso; ristretto, normal or lungo), adulterants (sugar, melted chocolate, sweetened...

Cup O'Excellence

Fracino Espresso Machines

A good cup of espresso can turn a bad day into a very good one. A bad cup can do the opposite. You can avoid the latter altogether with Fracino Espresso Machines, built in the UK for high end hotels, restaurants, and the best coffee shops around the world. Using ISO 9001 quality standards, their...

Get it while it's (not) hot

Bodum Bean Set Iced Coffee Press

Thought there was already a coffee maker for every type of drinker? You’re wrong. The Bodum Bean Set Iced Coffee Press ($45) is a 1.5 liter French press specifically “designed” for making cold-brewed iced coffee. In reality, the only distinction here is an additional lid that replaces the plunger while the grinds steep in the...

Discovering Local Frontiers

Drafting It | Todd Carmichael of La Colombe

As the co-founder of the Philly-based coffee roaster, La Colombe, and the company’s main sourcer, Todd Carmichael spends much of his time traveling the world in search of the highest quality, ethically traded coffee available, and soon you’ll be to able to follow his adventures through his upcoming Travel Channel Show, Coffee Hunters. But running...

Baggy brewin'

Grower’s Cup Coffee

We’ve covered plenty of solutions for drinking Barista-grade coffee out in the bush, but European brand Grower’s Cup should win the lazy bon vivant’s stamp of approval. Each of their Coffeebrewer bags are self-described as a disposable french press. Every bag contains a filter with 26 grams of specialty coffee — good for brewing up...

These beans count

Starbucks Indivisible Blend

Whether or not you’re a fan of the recently passed health care legislation, we can all agree that the good ol’ US of A could use a little help these days. That’s why the Seattle-based coffee giant has introduced Starbucks Indivisible Blend. Sold both by the cup and in one-pound whole bean bags, the blonde...

Counter art

Cafino Coffee Maker

The Cafino Coffee Maker ($165) is a lean coffee brewer with a tasteful aesthetic meant to ease the daily grind. Made of borosilicate glass (thermal stress resistant — think Pyrex) and stainless steel, this Tassilo von Grolman designed brewer utilizes a steel mesh sieve to reduce waste while extracting the perfect flavor. After brewing, remove the...

Brunch. Anywhere.

Nau Luxe Cafe Kit

Camping requires plenty of tradeoffs, but your morning routine is one area where you shouldn’t have to sacrifice. Highly functional and highly stylish brand Nau felt your pain and collaborated with Snow Peak to create the Nau luxe cafe kit ($125). It’s a lightweight set that provides most of the comfort of a typical brunch...

For pressing needs in the outback

GSI Personal Java Press

There’s nothing like the great outdoors, and for your money, that first cup of coffee on a cool wilderness morning is as good as it gets. But such serenity is easily undermined by a flat, bitter cup of instant coffee. Your delicate French press doesn’t really fit in the woods, but that shouldn’t keep you...

K-Cup, The Next Generation...

Keurig Vue V700 Brewing System

We’ve previously discussed the virtues of the Keurig brewing system and its thankfully-ubiquitous K-cup as a handy solution for a quick fix of caffeine. Now after years of success, it’s time to introduce K-cup’s second act – the Keurig Vue ($212). Gone are the days of having only one “brew” choice, and only physical buttons. Now...

Espresso for show. Otto's for pros

OTTO Stove Top Espresso Maker

The Atomic Espresso Machine, designed by Giordano Robiatti in 1947, is lauded by many espresso fans as a mid-century masterpiece. The OTTO stove top espresso maker (~$852) pays direct homage to this legendary machine (or outright copies it depending on your perspective) and has been somewhat of a Moby Dick of the coffee world. After...

DiCaprio joe

La Colombe Lyon Charitable Coffee

Philadelphia-based La Colombe Torrefaction has already captured the hearts of the coffee community and it looks like the charitable clique is next. Their new Lyon coffee ($13) is the result of an alliance with Mr. Amsterdam Vallon himself. 100% of all Lyon sale’s profits will go to the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation, which supports a variety...

Better for you and the earth

Keurig My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter

We’ve blabbered more than Scatman Crothers about how to manually brew better coffee, but if you still can’t wean yourself from the convenience of the K-cup, foodie and tech writer Matt Buchanan points out that the Keurig My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter ($19) offers some reasonable middle ground. This exclusive filter for the K-Cup system...

A better brew from Brooklyn

Kickstand Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

Kickstand started back in 2010 out of a shared passion for sustainably grown coffee and cycling. Founders Neal Olson, Aaron Davis, Peter Castelein and Benjamin Schleif mixed the two loves by biking their cold brew serving “mobile coffee stand” to various NYC outdoor markets, and they haven’t looked back since. The group’s success stems from...

Im-press-ive

Kickstarter: The Espro Press

Compared to standard drip methods, the French Press (or cafetiére as it’s known in the rest of the world) does an excellent job of brewing a great tasting cup of coffee. But it isn’t perfect. In fact, many java-elitest feel the process results in overextraction and dislike that used grounds often wind up thwarting the...

No Average Joe

GP Primer | Skip the Drip: How to Manually Brew Better Coffee

Auto-drip coffee is entrenched in American culture for three reasons. It’s cheap, easy to make, and has a relatively consistent taste wherever you order it, apart from the random Chicory-spiked landmines you can stumble on down south. Those benefits have been compounded now that the process of measuring grounds, water, and finding a filter has...

Easing the Daily Grind

Breville BDC600XL YouBrew

The intelligent new Breville BDC600XL YouBrew ($280) is a grinder and brewer designed to dish out the perfect amount of coffee your jittery caffeinated-heart desires (as long as it doesn’t exceed 12 cups at a time). Yes, you can do this today by adjusting the amount of coffee and water in your standard dripper, but...

Just Don't Drink It

Wash With Joe

Coffee and a hot shower form a one-two punch that gets many of us out of the house and ready to work. Short of bringing your mug in the shower, Wash With Joe ($24) is the best way we know of to combine these two daily steps. Packed with a healthy helping of Arabica coffee...

Porta-Joe

Coleman Propane Coffeemaker

There are plenty of ways to get your coffee on in the great outdoors. The Coleman Propane Coffeemaker ($90) just happens to look and operate like most home java makers, which can reassure less savvy campers worried about missing their fix. Unlike other alternatives, this brewer can also produce a full 10 cups in one...

No Simple Joe

Stumptown Hair Bender Espresso Blend

One can’t help but think that when Stumptown decided to name this blend Hair Bender they were considering the origin’s complexity versus the zippy after-effect. Made from coffee sourced in all three coffee growing regions (Latin America, East Africa and Indonesia) Stumptown Hair Bender Espresso Blend ($12) is not only their most popular coffee but...

Keep the Star and Leaving the Bucks

David Lynch Signature Cup Organic Coffee

No, this isn’t a surrealist joke from one of his films. Instead, David Lynch Signature Organic Coffee ($10/Lb) is yet another tangible extension of the creative, and often crazy mind of David Lynch. Fans of his work and coffee aficionados alike can choose from one of three kinds of joe including a house blend, an...

One Select Brew

La Colombe Atelier Haiti Blue Forest Coffee

Founded by Todd Carmichael and Jean Philippe Iberti, the Philadelphia-based La Colombe Torrefaction has built an admirable reputation among the coffee-roasting elite. Their select beans can be found in gourmet restaurants throughout the country, or in their own La Colombe Cafes in NYC, Philadelphia, and Chicago. The Atelier line, however, is a caffeinated skunkworks of...

Four Loco? More like pour Stumpco.

Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee

We’ve been fans of Stumptown coffee ever since we first encountered the Portland, Oregon brewer a few years back. Since then, the brand has gained notoriety, even opening an outpost in NYC at the trendsetting Ace Hotel. Recently, Stumptown launched a new line, bringing the fantastic taste of cold brewed coffee to the masses. It’s...

On the Scene Caffeine

Handpresso Outdoor Espresso Kit

A reader recently wrote us to ask if we knew of any solutions for making coffee at a picnic. It seemed a bit strange considering we’re in the middle of February, but we can’t blame people for planning ahead. While the GSI Mini Espresso Maker is ideal for roughing it, the Handpresso is a slightly...

Get Iced, Minus the Smirnoff

Fretta V60 Iced Coffee Maker

We have all tried (and failed) to create iced coffee by brewing a pot, and immediately pouring it over a glass of ice. A true glass of iced coffee however takes time, patience, and effort. Or at least that’s what we thought before discovering the Fretta v60 Ice Coffee Maker ($33), which effortlessly brews a...

Roughing It Without Coffee? Yeah, Right.

Brunton Flip N’ Drip Coffee Maker

We’ve got a soft spot for Bruton’s line of outdoor products. Brunton’s new Flip N’ Drip Coffee Maker might just take the cake though for satisfying both inventiveness and purpose. Built to help outdoorsmen of all interests get their day going with a jolt of the world’s favorite caffeinated beverage, the Flip N’ Drip combines...

Espresso Technology Done Right

Illy iperEspresso & The Francis Francis X7

Recently here on Gear Patrol, we’ve had a great dialogue about one of man’s favorite drinks, coffee; we’ve collectively debated the various ways the brew can be prepared and consumed. Some of us seem hell-bent on using a french press as the only way of doing the brackish ambrosia justice, while others in the business...

Boil Like You Mean It

Breville Variable Temperature Kettle

All of this talk of glorious, French-pressed coffee got me thirsty to thinking. Sure, boiling water is a pretty simple task, but what simple task hasn’t been made better by the advent of a wonderful gadget to perform it for you. Wheras I love a nice stove-top kettle as much as the next guy, I’m...

The Evolution of Espresso

Handpresso

Like most of the writers here at Gear Patrol, I’ve developed an addiction and a fine appreciation for caffeine. A straight cup of black coffee is my standard, but I like to up the ante with an occasional shot of espresso. I’ve owned the nice combo machines that froth the milk and pull shots, but...

One Cup Coming Right Up

Keurig Mini Brewing System

After reading Dusty Overby’s review on the Keurig Brewing System (aka: K-Cups), I was convinced I needed one for my home. The simplicity of the system (read: busy schedule) with an absolute need for space utilization (read: New York apartment) made one of the available options a perfect solution. Forgoing the larger Keurig Platinum Brewing...