Must-haves for the coffee connoisseur

Make barista-quality coffee at home

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Serious coffee lovers have an arsenal of ingredients and gadgets up their sleeves to make the best, freshest cup of coffee possible outside of a café. Depending on your kitchen space, budget and preferences, there are options to suit everyone.

Starting with great coffee beans and finishing with professional touches, it’s easy to act like a barista at home. These must-haves will have you on your way to being a coffee connoisseur.

Cool beans

Coffee connoisseurs know that the best cup of coffee starts with the beans. Everyone has different tastes, so first try a variety of coffees in different strengths from different regions. You might find that you have a preference for dark French roasts or smooth varieties from Guatemala. Some people even like to start with green coffee beans and roast their own (you can do it on the stovetop!) to get the exact roast they want.

Grind your own

In addition to using the best beans, coffee connoisseurs also know that the freshest cup of coffee comes from whole beans that have been ground right before brewing. A small coffee grinder is inexpensive, and only adds a minute onto your morning coffee making ritual. For the serious coffee aficionado, invest in a burr grinder, which grinds the beans more evenly for an even better brew.

Brew

Once you’ve got the beans down, it’s time to decide how to brew the coffee. There are lots of options out there in every price range. The traditional electric drip coffee maker is fine, but more and more coffee connoisseurs are turning to other methods. An espresso maker is a popular choice and makes it easy to prepare specialty drinks like cappuccinos. For less money a stovetop espresso maker can produce a good, strong cuppa coffee as well. A French press (also known as a coffee plunger or press pot) is another economical and space saving option, as is an old fashioned Chemex.

Finishing touches

Now that you’ve made the perfect cup of coffee, it’s time to put on the finishing touches. For a coffeehouse feel, foamed milk can add a nice finish. Even if you don’t have an espresso maker, there are lots of tools for foaming milk at home. A battery operated, handheld milk frother is a great, easy to use choice. For another step up try an electric frother, which can also heat up the milk.

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Katherine Martinelli is an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer. In addition to writing for Fabulous Foods, Katherine also contributes to various sections of SheKnows She recently released her first cookbook, Puff Pastry at Brunch: 10 Sweet and Savory Recipes to Start Your Morning (Hang Time Press, 2012). Katherine writes about her adventures in food at KatherineMartinelli.com.