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Forget Starbucks—you can brew better coffee at home

Welcome back, hot coffee season!

Forget Starbucks—you can brew better coffee at home
[Photo: Eivaisla/iStock]

For a mere concoction of beans steeped in hot water (that’s been consumed by folks for more than 500 years), the health effects of coffee are awfully controversial. It seems that every other day there’s a study praising its health-bolstering abilities only to be challenged the next with charges of staining teeth or straining your heart.

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But we like to place our bets on a recently published comprehensive meta-analysis, which compiled findings of 200 academic studies pertaining to the health effects of coffee. The meta-analysis, which was printed in peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ, found that consuming three or four cups of coffee per day was associated with a lower risk of death from all causes and a lower risk of several cancers. On top of that, other recent studies (some of which were included in the meta-analysis) have given caffeine-fueled legs to other benefits that drinking coffee can offer. A report from the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism connecting coffee consumption with physical and cognitive performance enhancement found the majority of the 20,686 Olympic athletes analyzed had caffeine in their urine. Additionally, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that people who drink as little as one or two cups every day are less likely to experience mild cognitive impairment. And a 10-year-long study published in the medical journal JAMA found the caffeine in coffee can help regulate moods by allowing the neurotransmitters in your brain to release dopamine and serotonin—feel-good hormones.

Throughout our own (unofficial) research here at Fast Company, we’ve found that many of the most innovative, cool, and productive people we interview (CEOs, chefs, artists, founders) swear by a good cup of joe (or two, or more). These are their favorite tips, products, and caffeine-fueled routines, so you can enjoy the best coffee (and all of its benefits) yourself.

A strong start

“I have never in my life felt as inspired as I do now to get up every day and get to work,” Brandon Krieg, cofounder of investing app Stash, says. “I do, however, need a really strong cup of coffee for the switch to really click on. Working at startups has taught me the importance of not just coffee but good coffee.” Sarah Harden, CEO of Hello Sunshine, swears by Australian-born roasts, telling us “Australian coffee is next level.” If you want to splurge on an Aussie roast, try the Ruby St. roast from Aroma Coffee, which won an Australian International Coffee Awards gold medal.
Aroma Coffee Ruby St. Roast ($45

[Photo: courtesy of Café du Chateau]

Feeling pressed

Overall, we’ve found that professionals prefer to prepare their morning cup in a good, old-fashioned French press. “My French press makes the best, most flavorful coffee,” startup adviser and investor Fran Hauser says. “My Keurig machine is great for convenience, but when I have the time and I’m in the mood to truly savor a cup of coffee, a French press is the way to go.” The Café du Chateau French press is an FC favorite for its spring-loaded base and double-screened stainless steel filters that seal to the glass edges of the pitcher during pressing—so that you don’t have any of that cloudy, muddy residue at the bottom of your cup.
Café du Chateau French press ($25

[Photo: courtesy of Harold Import Co.]

Skip the (cream and) sugar

Because cream and sugar can add unnecessary calories and saturated fat (and thus nearly negate some of coffee’s health benefits), it’s best to skip the additions. But for those who can’t stomach the idea of drinking their coffee no-frills, unsweetened almond, coconut, or oat milk is a healthier alternative to cream—and it naturally takes on a sweeter taste when heated or frothed. “Every morning, I follow my workout with a cup of La Colombe coffee topped with steamed almond milk,” Suzie Welsh, founder and CEO of Binto (a women’s health company that provides personalized, subscription-based supplements and vitamins) says. To get perfectly warmed, super creamy and smooth milks, try your hand at using a professional frother, like the HIC Milk Creamer Frother. And if you’re opting for dairy-free, oat milk is one of the best-performing alternatives.
HIC Milk Creamer Frother ($27)

[Photo: courtesy of Blue Bottle Coffee]

Splurge on a setup

Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, swears by his Blue Bottle pour-over kit for the best at-home brew. “My Blue Bottle coffee setup is probably my one addiction in life,” he says. “I use fresh ground beans—or their amazing instant coffee—poured slow over their custom dripper. I love the simple pleasure of a really good, slow poured-over coffee.” The Blue Bottle Coffee Essentials x Fellow Stagg Mini Pour-Over Kettle kit includes a Blue Bottle coffee dripper, 30 Blue Bottle Coffee custom filters, one carafe, three packets of ground coffee, and an exclusive pour-over coffee guide. Get pouring.
Blue Bottle Coffee Essentials x Fellow Stagg Mini Pour-Over Kettle Kit ($140)

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