Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Starting with specialty coffee is EXTREMELY Intimidating and Confusing. We know. Coming from a Tier III city, Patiala, there were (are) no specialty coffee shops around. How do you start with specialty coffee, when you DO NOT know what does the coffee taste like?
"Would I like the coffee with milk or without?"
"What equipment do I need to purchase?"
"The equipment isn't value for money."
"How will I achieve a perfect cup of coffee?"
"How do I understand tasting notes in my cup?"
I call these above mentioned questions as "The Lack of Reference Points".
(Please refer to the summary in the end if you just want the answers)
What options do we have to start with?
The easiest option to start with is to visit your nearest specialty coffee shop, and ask the barista to help you taste coffees, both with and without milk. Listen to what your palate and your heart has to say. Do not rush and join the "Black Coffee Movement". Coffees with milk are equally (or even more) awesome.
However, if you're not one of the lucky ones (like us) who Do Not have any specialty coffee shop around, you might have to take a plunge. I, being a marine engineer, like to dive deep into the merits and demerits and do a proper research. My research lead me to this beautiful equipment known as the Hario V60. Safe to say, it's one of the best (and the cheapest) equipment to start with.
Naughty Beans, I'll prefer my coffee with milk. Where do I start?
The easiest, and historically trusted way is to start with a moka pot. The moka pot originated in Italy in the year 1933 (YES!) and is still one of my favorite ways to brew a cup of coffee. Although, technically not espresso, moka pot brews can be considered espresso-esqe. Pair it up with milk, and you've made yourself a cup of coffee which tastes better than any of the commercial coffee shops. Want to brew a perfect cup of coffee using a moka pot? Follow our "Ultimate Moka Pot Guide" down below:
Naughty Beans, I'm ready to switch to the DARK SIDE. Where do I start?
Fun fact: Black coffee is not black. It's more like red wine.
To enjoy your coffee without milk, there are a countless number of equipment available. Automatic Percolators, French Press, Hario V60 Dripper and a host of other drippers (Kalita Wave, Meliita, Torch, Origami) to name a few. Options, options.
Easiest way out?
Get a plastic Hario V60. Period. Size 01 (not 02) if your requirement is of a single cup.
^for all the curious cats (and experts) wondering why size 01 over 02, the 01 allows you to pour from a lower height over the slurry, which is a desirable trait for better extractions.
Get the Hario V60 filters of the correct size (same size as the dripper).
Get a basic kitchen scale (you don't need a professional one the bloggers/influencers use).
Get a kettle to pour water, and a source of heat to boil the water. If you're planning to invest properly, we would definitely recommend a goose-neck kettle.
For me, and most of the other significant people in the industry, the Hario V60 is the most dependable and the go-to brewer. It might be the cheapest one around, but it's the most effective one. Want to brew a Perfect cup of coffee using a Hario V60? Follow the link down below:
If you're planning to drink coffee with milk, buy a Moka Pot.
If you're planning to switch to the Dark Side, buy a Hario V60.