say hello to my newest toy

I mentioned recently that I was saying goodbye to my Rancilio Rocky grinder after much faithful service. The reason was that I have lost the will to ignore the siren song of the gorgeous gear produced by Fellow Products, and have bought an Opus grinder. You may recall a recent post about the Opus and a new Moccamaster home grinder.

If I’m looking for justifications beyond the fact it looks so damned good, I was interested in the Opus because of its smaller footprint and quieter grinding. I was also attracted by the Opus coming with a simple grind guide on the inside of the hopper lid, which will make our lives easier when we’re grinding beans for my wife to use in her French Press.

photo: Evan Malachosky/Gear Patrol

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thank you for your service

so long, old friend

Unless the buyer flakes out on me (always a risk with Facebook marketplace), today I will say goodbye to my Rancilio Rocky grinder. This was the first piece of quality equipment I purchased, and it’s given me almost 6 years of joy. I hope it enjoys its new home and whirrs away for many more years.

No issues with it, just succumbing to lust for beautiful looking gear. New toy is on its way.

(yet another) new toy

Further proof that the universe of coffee gizmos and knickknacks is infinite and, for some of us, remains irresistible. Behold, the WDT tool.

WDT stands for Weiss Distribution Technique, which is a fancy way of saying gently stir ground coffee in the portafilter before tamping, to break up clumps and even out the density in the puck. The promised benefit is a reduction in channeling (water finding empty space within the ground coffee during brewing), which should lead to more consistent quality and higher extraction. The technique was developed by a PhD computer scientist and home coffee enthusiast, John Weiss.

I recently got one, and tried it for the first time today. To be honest, I think this is something where it will be impossible to find significant impact. If nothing else it will mean a little more confidence as a home barista, and I found it oddly soothing to stir the grounds gently, which felt soft and fluffy.

guest post: home roasting

Thanks to my friend Charles for sharing his story of roasting coffee beans at home. Interesting read!

Coffee roasting at home; A review of the Fresh Roast SR800.

About 20 years back, I thought roasting my own coffee would be my thing. However, living in South Africa then my options for home roasting equipment were limited. The idea quickly faded due to likely mess, smell, and cost!

For Christmas 2022, I was given a coffee roaster by my wife (bravo to Robyn for encouraging you! – mm). It is a Fresh Roast SR 800. Nothing fancy, but with many good reviews. It is not a barrel type of roaster; no disrespect to it, but think of a multi-heat level hair dryer blowing up into a cylinder. 

Here is my short review and perspectives on roasting at home.

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new grinders for the home

Coffee obsessives who brew their drinks at home have a couple new options for grinding fresh beans. Both look absolutely terrific.

Moccamaster KM5
If you read my most recent holiday gift guide, you’ll know that Technivorm Moccamaster has some of the best-looking home coffee makers – and they also make cute Christmas tree ornaments.

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The Matty Macchiato 5th Annual Holiday Gift Guide – Part II

photo: iStock/Svetlana_nsk, via The Wirecutter/NY Times

Part I of this year’s guide focused on branded swag. Today we’ll try for most everything else.

Here are suggestions on what to get for the person who……..

Wants to make better coffee at home, by any method

I could wax poetically about coffee demigod James Hoffmann and his new book, How to Make the Best Coffee at Home, ($19.99 – available from all major book retailers, though it would be nice of you to support your local independent bookstore), but better to let the man himself tell you all about it.

If you are interested in coffee at all, Hoffmann’s YouTube channel is an absolute treasure ($FREE).

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The Matty Macchiato 5th Annual Holiday Gift Guide: Part I

So two weeks before Christmas may be a little late to be much help. Remember, if something doesn’t arrive in time you can always print a picture and let them know their present is on the way! Or start normalizing New Year’s gifts.

If for some reason you’d prefer well-written professional writing and images – can’t imagine why – many quality coffee roasters have added holiday gift guides to their websites. You should also check out Counter Culture Coffee’s staff recommendations page for recommendations on the best gear for making great coffee at home.

Many of these are repeats from past guides, but I’ve tried as much as possible to find new/different/improved versions. Okay, let’s go.

Swag ’em up
Everybody loves swag, whether it represents their favorite sports team, beer, or coffee roaster/café. Our beloved Little Red Fox tee is no longer available, but here are some awesome pieces of branded merch from coffee world.

Verve Coffee Roasters Fuego Pocket Tee, regularly $25, currently on sale for $13(!)
The mullet of coffee tees: all business in the front and all party in the back.

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say hello to my little friend

This is Eddie.

photo: Fellow website

I’d been thinking about finding an affordable way to improve my home gear to make better coffee. For me, ‘affordable’ would not mean splashing out north of $1,700 for a Rocket Appartamento, even if it’s gorgeous and Gail from Seattle Coffee and my buddy Dillon each have one.

I was browsing through the Fellow Products website with that idea in the back of my mind when I came across the Eddie pitcher. Hmm, maybe it wouldn’t make a big difference in taste, but it would be nice to up my milk art game. Also very convenient to have a bigger pitcher than my stock Breville, for those times I make two or three coffees at a time for me and the fam.

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The Matty Macchiato 4th Annual Holiday Gift Guide

tick tick tick

This year I’m taking a slightly different approach to my previous gift guides (2018, 2019, and 2020). While some of the models may have been replaced by newer iterations, pretty much all the recommended items in those posts would still make for great gifts. This version, however, is for those of you who just thought, “Oh $#%@!, it’s five days to Christmas and I haven’t written my annual gift guide post finished my shopping yet!”

So if the calendar is not your friend, supply chain worries are making you pull out your hair, and you’ve got a coffee lover in your life, here are a few suggestions.

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