If you follow our monthly Strategist haul, then you’re familiar with the idiosyncrasies of our editors’ and writers’ shopping habits. While we think of those as the highlights, there are plenty of other, less glamorous things that we buy — and love — on the regular, too. So whether you’ve wondered about the SPF moisturizers we slather on our faces, or the toothbrushes we use, this is the Stuff We Buy Ourselves. In this edition: the coffee makers (and one tea maker) we rely on to get our mornings going, starting with Maxine Builder, who’s written at least six other articles on coffee gear, and has lots of opinions.
Maxine Builder, writer
I own an excessive amount of coffee-making gear — including a French press, a cold-brew coffee bottle, and an all-in-one pour-over coffee brewer — but my go-to coffee maker is the pour-over setup from Blue Bottle. I like the Blue Bottle–designed coffee dripper because it’s ceramic with a flat bottom. That means the hot water drains through the grounds more evenly than through a traditional cone-shaped dripper, and this design makes it easy to ensure a smoother, less bitter, and over-extracted brew, even if your pouring is shaky. The dripper fits nicely over this handsome glass coffee carafe, but if I’m in a rush, I’ll brew straight into a travel mug. The one annoyance about this setup is that I can only get replacement filters from Blue Bottle because they’re custom-designed for the brewer, but the inconvenience is worth it for a reliably good cup of coffee from a solid brewing setup. I like it so much that when I cracked it accidentally in the kitchen sink a while back, I bought a new one.
Jason Chen, deputy editor
Lori Keong, writer
Sometimes people try to fight me on whether or not French presses are more efficient than pour-overs, but I’m solidly in the pour-over camp: They are super easy to clean, store, and carry for a single cup of coffee and yada yada about the enhanced flavor. I don’t get too fancy with my pour-overs, though I know some people do — there aren’t any thermometers or design-y kettles involved — but I do insist on making coffee out of a certain beautiful, colored glass pour-over from Yield because just look at it. It’s made of double-walled borosilicate glass and looks like a little art objet when it’s not in use.
Lauren Ro, writer
This works great with limited kitchen counter space, as I can put it away after I’m done with it. Sometimes I wish it were a little bigger so that I could make more than two cups at time, but I still reach for this over my French press, which just doesn’t cut it when it comes to making a smooth cup of coffee. I stockpile these filters because there’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning and realizing that you’ve run out.
Margaret Rhodes, senior editor
For a long time I used and loved a very basic Mr. Coffee drip pot that made it so easy to drink mug after mug of black coffee, back to back, diner-style. My more refined French press came in the form of a romantic gesture: Years ago, upon learning that I’m basically nonverbal in the morning until I’ve had coffee, my boyfriend went to a shop near his house and bought a French press for his apartment. When we moved in together and merged our things, my sort of gross drip pot didn’t make the cut. It’s more civilized this way: Now I only drink two-ish cups in the morning, and the matte white ceramic looks nice on the kitchen counter.
Katy Schneider, associate editor
I have lived with a Bodum French press for about four years now, and though it is really the easiest thing in the world to use, I always find a way to mess it up. I’ve shattered it’s glass body twice, and have made coffee rife with floating grounds in it countless times. Fortunately, I tend to live with people who are very capable of making totally fine-tasting coffee for me with the thing.
Karen Iorio Adelson, writer (and tea drinker)
Maybe it’s because I come from a long line of tea drinkers, but there’s something about a whistling kettle I find very comforting. High-tech versions are tempting, but I think it’s impressive that someone designed the whistling kettle based on some intuitive knowledge of steam vibrating against a narrow spout — and that it took scientists more than 100 years to explain the physics behind it. The only thing I don’t like about my kettle is the metal handle, which gets way too hot to hold without an oven mitt. If I ever were to replace it, I’d get a kettle with a silicone handle and spout cap (like this one).
One occupational hazard of being a Strat writer is that I constantly want all the things I write about. I’m usually good at restraining myself, but I had to pick up this awesome two-in-one tea cup and tea pot with built-in strainer after learning about it while researching the best gifts for tea lovers. It’s an easy way to make a single serving of loose-leaf tea.
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