Support a Small Business & Improve Your At-Home Coffee Game

While not "essential" by government standards, coffee is an essential part of most Americans' daily rituals. Now that the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily shuttered coffee shops and restaurants, it's been hard to get your usual fix, especially if you have a favorite barista.

But don't let that stop you from enjoying coffee-house quality brews at home. It's important to give yourself a little something to look forward to every day -- even if it's a simple cup of joe.

Here are some key tips:

Lisette Gaviña of Don Francisco’s Coffee shares a few ways you can improve your morning cup of joe.

Start with the basics. Coffee is 98% water so you want to use water that is free of odor and visible impurities. Springwater or filtered water is best. The temperature of the water is also important. You want to make sure it's just under boiling -- between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

In terms of the actual coffee, you can get your caffeine fix while simultaneously helping a small business struggling to stay afloat.

Check if coffee roasters in your community are offering delivery options. Fellow products has put together a website to help roasters by matching them with customers. You could also consider ordering beans from the following:

  • AKA Coffee - The Oakland roaster is offering free shipping on all orders over $25
  • Andytown Coffee - Order online using code WFH20 for 20% off and free shipping. You can also purchase coffee and pastries to be delivered to healthcare professionals working at hospitals and senior care facilities in San Francisco.
  • BackYard Brew - Located in Palo Alto, they're doing local deliveries and shipping worldwide. You can help their business by ordering some coffee or tea or buying an e-gift card.
  • Bar Nine - The Culver City, Calif. shop is closed but they're selling bags of their Come Together blend. You can also support their furloughed employees on GoFundMe.
  • Bones Coffee - For out-of-this-world flavors like "Mint Invaders from Chocolate Space," "Electric Unicorn" fruity cereal flavor, "Sinn-O-Bun," "Bananas Foster" and more, use code STAYHOME for 20% off.
  • Cafe Virtuoso - This San Diego-based organic coffee roastery is women-owned. They're offering free shipping on all whole bean coffees ordered online with code: CVFREESHIPPING
  • Chromatic - Their San Jose, Calif. shop is open with restrictions. You can also order online using code WORKFROMHOME for 20% off.
  • Coffee Attic - If you're local to LA, you can order pickup or delivery with any of the major food delivery apps. Otherwise, all online orders ship for free.
  • Darwin's LTD - 3 out of 4 of their Cambridge Mass. shops are open for take-out and delivery with restrictions. Locals can buy gift cards online to further support.
  • Equator Coffees - The Mill Valley coffee roaster is offering free shipping on all orders and is posting regular how-to guides on Instagram so you can make better coffee at home. Show your support by purchasing a coffee subscription or donating to their staff's virtual tip jar.
  • Excelsior Coffee - Restaurant/bar or coffee workers local to San Francisco can stop in for a free cup of coffee or cold brew (just tell them where you work). They're shipping their coffee beans and merchandise for free when you use code STAYHOME.
  • Fiction Coffee - The Dallas, Texas coffee shop has had to lay off half of its staff. Consider contributing to their GoFundMe to support those that are still employed as well as their laid off baristas.
  • Lady Falcon Coffee Club - This women-owned and women-run business is offering free 24 hour delivery in San Francisco and $7 flat rate shipping anywhere in the country.
  • Lone Light Coffee - While both of their Charlottesville, Va. locations have closed, you can buy e-gift cards, bags of coffee beans, mugs, tumblers, and other merchandise to help them keep their business going.
  • Lost Sock Roasters - For $5 you can sponsor a coffee drop to a medical professional in Washington D.C. and add a personal note to say thank you. Also order some small-batch specialty coffee for yourself. Orders over $35 ship for free.
  • Joe Coffee Company - All 21 of their NYC cafes are closed but their Long Island City roastery is operating and shipping out orders. You can lend your support by purchasing a gift card "bond" at a 25% discount, which can be redeemed once cafes reopen. Also consider donating to their Employee Relief Fund
  • Kaveri Coffee - The Berkeley roaster is operating on a limited schedule due to childcare responsibilities. To support this woman-owned business, pre-order your coffee before their next roast date (listed on their website). Orders over $30 ship free.
  • Ligature Coffee - Located in Orlando, they're a wholesale roasting operation that has seen most of their accounts close. They're now shipping individual orders out nationally.
  • Mighty Oak Roasters - While their Astoria, New York cafe is closed, they're still sending out orders from their online shop with free shipping. With the money you save, consider leaving a virtual tip for their out of work baristas. They're the only wood-fired roaster in all of New York State.
  • Mother Tongue Coffee - This women-owned coffee roaster in Oakland, CA is offering free shipping on all orders.
  • Mudhouse Coffee Roasters - Their Charlottesville Va. locations are closed but they're still delivering locally and bringing coffee to hospital workers. Support them by ordering some coffee. Shipping is free.
  • Paper Moon Coffee Co. - Buy a bag of coffee, subscription or t-shirt through their website and use code 1and1 for free shipping on orders over $29.99. The Santa Clara coffee roaster is providing free coffee to nurses in the Bay Area. They're also accepting donations to support their staff during this time.
  • Progeny Coffee - Located in Berkeley, they're offering free Bay Area delivery and free U.S. shipping. Buy some of their coffee and/or donate to their GoFundMe to support them and the farmers they work with.
  • Proyecto Diaz Coffee - San Francisco locals can continue to find them at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Farmer's Markets are considered essential businesses and a great place to get fresh local produce and shelf-stable goods in an open-air shopping environment. Grab your coffee online using code STAYHEALTHY for 15% off and free shipping.
  • ReAnimator Coffee - They've closed their 4 Philadelphia, Pa. locations and had to lay off their baristas. Placing an online order can help them to stay afloat until they can reopen and hire back their workers.
  • Ritual Coffee Roasters - Both of their San Francisco locations are still open for pick-up orders. But you can support their small business from anywhere by ordering a coffee subscription.
  • Sachi.LA - Angelenos can place their orders for pick-up through Instagram, Facebook or on their website. E-gift cards are available for future use. They also offer shipping across the U.S.
  • Stereoscope Coffee Company - Their Buena Park and Newport Beach, California locations are open. All online coffee bean orders ship for free.
  • Sweetleaf Coffee Roasters - All four Sweetleaf locations in Queens and Brooklyn, New York are staying open for takeaway "as long as they can." They're offering 25% off all retail items in-store and online.
  • Swift Coffee Co. - The Lancaster, Pa. roaster is offering 15% off sitewide and providing coffee to hospitals most affected by COVID-19 through their "Give a Cup, Get a Cup" campaign.

Once you've gotten your coffee, relish in the preparation by brewing with a Chemex or Aeropress. Check out these tips in the videos below:

Making delicious home-brewed coffee will be easier than you think with these quick and easy steps to make coffee using a chemex. 

What You'll Need:

  • Chemex
  • Chemex Filter
  • Scale
  • Gooseneck Kettle
  • Timer
  • 50 grams of coffee
  • 8mg of water just off the boil
  1. Place the filter in the brewer with single fold away from the spout and multiple folds lined up against the spout.
  2. Rinse the filter with hot water using your goose-neck kettle to prevent any of the paper taste from being imparted.
  3. Dump the rinse water and fold the filter toward the spout to reinforce this area.
  4. Add your coffee grounds to the filter and zero out the scale.
  5. Set your timer and "bloom" for 15 seconds with the hot water. This will trigger the oils of the coffee to create a marinade of sorts.
  6. After 20-25 seconds, begin the second pour until you've achieved the grounds that you're looking for.
  7. Fill to the top and let it drain down
  8. Remove the filter and give it a couple swirls to aerate it
  9. Enjoy!
Making delicious home-brewed coffee will be easier than you think with these quick and easy steps to making a cup of coffee with an Aeropress.

What You'll Need:

  • Aeropress
  • Scale
  • Kettle
  • Timer
  • Fresh ground and fresh roasted coffee
  • Hot water
  1. Add coffee grounds to Aeropress itself
  2. Add 60 grams of water from your gooseneck kettle
  3. "Bloom" for 15 seconds
  4. Brew for 1.5 minutes
  5. Put the cap on with a filter
  6. Stand the aeropress on a sturdy mug
  7. Push down to release the coffee

If you only have instant coffee on hand, try one of the most popular coffee recipes to sweep the Internet as of late -- Dalgona coffee.

Pictures of the dalgona coffee began sprouting up across Instagram during the coronavirus pandemic, as people looked for ways to occupy their time while social distancing. Here's how to make the South Korean recipe.

What You'll Need:

  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  1. Grab a small mixing bowl
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of instant coffee
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of boiling water
  5. Mix for 3-5 minutes until golden brown
  6. Pur 1 cup of milk into a glass with ice
  7. Top the milk with the coffee mixture
  8. Enjoy!
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