It’s 2023. Another year on YouTube, another year diving further and deeper into this coffee rabbit hole, and another year grateful for the community and platform I’ve built here over the last couple years - even if it's still small.
This year, my goal is to be more intentional. About the videos I produce, the coffee I brew, and the gear I hoard. I mean, collect.
This is my annual coffee bar update for 2023.
I’ve had the opportunity to try out many many different products that have come my way and out of all that stuff, these are the things I’ve found myself coming back to and using daily. But before going into that, let’s talk about the space itself first.
So my coffee bars have evolved so much since I first got into this hobby. Since this space lives in a corner of my living room thats just 4x6 feet, I don’t have much space to expand, so things have to become more intentional with regards to both what I keep here and the design.
I’ve replaced my old wall shelves with a slat wall that I coated with a neutral wood oil to help the oak wood pop.
I think it looks really cool, and actually helps frame me for shooting these videos. Especially with the added bias lighting down the sides.
I also have a Husky work table top that I’ve used for a while now just to help ensure the bar table underneath doesn’t collapse, since it was never intended to hold so much weight let alone a few espresso machines.
I’ve moved my original shelves off to the side to make extra use of wall space for storage and a spot for some decor.
In past years, I’ve been a milky espresso drink consumer 9 times out of 10. But in recent months, I’ve actually been on a filter kick more and more, enjoying some light to light medium roasts while reserving the more developed roasts for espresso.
For filter coffee, I’ve been using the DF83 for the majority of my brews. A grinder with huge 83mm burrs that really draws out clarity and highlights fruity flavor notes in a beautiful way that I’ve not experienced with any other grinder yet.
I’ve typically been brewing with either the Orea V3 or the Hario Switch as my main brewers. That’s not to say that I don’t whip out the occasional Aeropress here and there but these have been my daily go-tos.
And on those lazier days or days where I just want something quick on the go for my commute, then I’m turning to the Fellow Ode Gen 2 with the Moccamaster KBGV. A historically popular automatic brewer that just works for those mornings when you can’t.
These both live in my kitchen alongside my countertop reverse osmosis water filter that was sent to me by RKIN.
I want to say that this device is the last true upgrade I could possibly ever have for my home coffee station - perfect zero water to remineralize with my Third Wave Water packets. And between myself and my girlfriend in blind tasting, the results speak for themselves and this was truly an upgrade.
The machine itself is solid, there are a few quirks with the build quality, but other than that - it just works. Tap water goes in the bottom chamber, you press the button on top, then it deposits the filtered water at the top.
I usually use a blender to dispense water into which I then pour into these 1 gallon water jugs so I can remineralize it. It’s been a great solution so far and better than any of my previous attempts of buying single distilled gallons or 5-gallon jugs with a pump.
By far my most favorite accessories I’ve used lately when it comes to assisting in my morning coffee routine has been the filter holder, customized and printed by OpitkalBlitz, and my bean counter by Big Bean Vibes.
I’ve covered this filter holder before but can’t emphasize how nice it really is to just store all my filters, brewing accessories, and even have a little garage for the Acaia Pearl scale.
And this bean counter which is a new item I purchased has been pretty cool to use too. I’ve been using it to auto dose 16g in the morning for filter brews and while it's not airtight, I run through my beans quick enough to not have a major detriment to the quality or freshness of the beans.
When it comes to espresso, my machine of choice is the Lelit Bianca v3. I do still have the very fun to use Profitec Pro 800 lever machine that lives in the office coffee setup, but here at home, the Bianca reigns supreme. This machine was sent to me by my friends at Cliff & Pebble who also happen to be the sponsor of today’s video.
If you’re in the market for your first or next espresso machine, grinder, or coffee accessory - be sure to check out Cliff & Pebble. The Chicago based team has a huge selection of machines from some of your favorite brands including Rocket, Lelit, Eureka, Baratza, and more. They provide excellent pre and post-purchase service and can you rest assured knowing they’ll help you out with your coffee brewing endeavors.
So once again, thanks to Cliff & Pebble for sponsoring this video.
So, back to the Bianca, with its electronic flow control capabilities, paddle, overall aesthetic and design, this machine has been reliable and keeps brewing delicious coffee daily.
For my espresso grinder of choice I’ve been using the Acaia Orbit which I’ve found has a great blend of clarity and body for the style of shots that I enjoy. And depending on when you’re watching this video, my full review on that grinder may be out already and if it is, it will be linked in the description down below.
Espresso prep has come a long way from a simple swipe with the finger and a tamp to a plethora of fancy tools, gadgets, and accessories.
My current prep tools include a paper filter on the bottom of the portafilter, coffee on top, WDT, tamp, puck screen, and pull.
For my WDT tool I use this one from Sworksdesign with a nice alu handle in red and this sits in a little 3D printed cup filled with dry rice.
The tamper I use is constantly moving around between a few that I have but my main tamper of choice is the Pullman Bigstep, customed with my name and logo.
All this sits on the Saint Anthony Industries Bloc which I’ve had for years now and acts as a nice bay to dump puck screens out onto. Pucks themselves get knocked out into the La Marzocco walnut knock box.
And while I have bunch more coffee accessories and gadgets that live in the drawers underneath, I’ll spare you the details on those and just link the ones I truly enjoy using in the description down below. So that’s going to be my coffee bar update for 2023.
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