What Do I Need?

A lot of people ask us, “What do I need to brew coffee”.  A proper setup will consist of freshly roasted beans, water, and a brew device of your choice.  If you’re just interested in the what, and not the why, skip the the “What Next” section at the bottom.

Freshly Roasted Beans

Your beans can be the most important part of the brew process.  For optimal results, you want to use coffee beans that are 24 hours to 14 days off of roast.  Going over that 14 day limit will not be harmful to you, but you might notice a difference in taste.  That being said, fresher is not always “better”.  Some beans will hit a sweet spot around 7 days.  Different regions will contain different tasting notes.  Depending on your tasting preference, you may want to pick up beans from specific regions over others.  Check out the tasting notes section in our beans description for details.  Always look for the roast date


In blind studies it has been shown that freshly ground coffee affected taste more than any other factor.  Yes, even a blade grinder is better than buying pre-ground coffee beans.  Tasting Notes recommends a true burr grinder as the bare minimum setup for our customers.  Do not be fooled by “fake” burr grinders out there.  The three most recommended automatic budget grinders are: Capresso Infinity, Bodum Bistro, and Baratza Encore.  The Hario Skerton if the most recommended manual hand crank grinder.  Most coffee enthusiasts would suggest going with the Baratza if you are looking for an automatic grinder.  Baratza, as a company, has amazing customer service, builds their products to last, and outperform their competitors at that price range.  The Baratza can be purchased directly from Tasting Notes.  If you are interested in espresso you will need to spend a little more and that is a whole other write up.  Email support@tastingnotescofee.com for advice on espresso grinders.


Weighing your coffee beans is a very important step in reproducing a great cup of coffee.  Using a tablespoon can produce a good cup one morning, and an over extracted cup the next.  The best way to recreate that perfect cup is to get rid of the changing variables.


Water is just water.  Right?  Chlorine, Calcium, Ph level, are just a few variables that can affect the taste and extraction of your coffee.  Try to use the cleanest water that you have at your disposal.  Stay tuned for a future blog post about how you make the perfect water for brewing.  Water temperature should be between 206F and 212F.


This will depend on your brew device and the recommended ratio of water:coffee.  Typically we like to see an 18:1 (water:coffee) brew ratio.

Brew Device

The brew device is just as important as the beans and can have a huge impact on taste and mouthfeel.  Pay attention to the filter being used in the device.  A French press uses a metal screen to filter out the coffee grounds from the water.  This keeps a lot of the oils in your cup and creates a heavier mouthfeel.  On the opposite side of the spectrum is a Chemex.  If you’ve ever seen Chemex filters, you probably noticed how thick the they are.  This is going to filter out a lot of oils and fine particles, creating a thinner, cleaner, mouthfeel.  This is all a preference of the coffee drinker and we encourage you to try many methods if you can.

Proper Device

There are a lot of ways to brew coffee.  There are a lot of wrong ways to brew coffee too.  If you have a automatic coffee machine, there is a chance that it is brewing coffee that do not meet SCAA standards.  The SCAA is the Specialty Coffee Association of America.  They have made a list of certified automatic coffee machines and there are only 16 on that list.  Three of those devices are for sale at our shop.  I will attach the list of certified home brewers at the end.  The reasons that most coffee makers do not make that list are: brew temperature and water displacement.

What’s Next?

For the ultimate budget setup pick up a Hario Skerton, French Press or V60, scale, and Kettle.  Having any part of your setup, grind or brew, automated will cost you a little more.  The mentioned setup will get you going on a low budget.  As time goes on, upgrade and replace.  If you are wanting to upgrade your current setup you should start with a scale.  Next I would suggest a grinder.  If you are buying your coffee pre-ground, you aren’t getting the best flavors.  After a grinder upgrade, you can start experimenting with some different brew devices.

This should be everything you need to get started.  As always, feel free to email us support@tastingnotescoffee.com with any questions.

At this time, current SCAA Certified Home Brewers are:

  • Technivorm Moccamaster
  • Behmor Connected Brewer or Behmor Connected Coffee Brew System
  • KitchenAid Coffee Maker KCM0802
  • KitchenAid Pour Over Coffee Brewer (model KCM0801OB)
  • Bonavita Coffee Maker (model BV1900TS)
  • Bonavita BV1900TD 8-Cup Digital Coffee Brewer
  • OXO On 9-Cup Coffee Maker
  • OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Maker
  • Wilfa Precision Coffee Maker
  • BUNN 10-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker
  • Behmor Brazen Connected 8 Cup Coffee Maker
  • Cuisinart PurePrecision™ Pour Over Coffee Brewer

Past SCAA Certified Home Brewers are:

  • Lance Larkin BE 112 Brew Express
  • Bonavita 8 Cup Exceptional Brew Coffee Maker with glass or thermal carafe
    (BV1800 and 1800SS)
  • Bunn Phase Brew 8 Cup Coffee Brewer

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