This story is part of our end-of-year series This Year in Gear, rounding up the most notable releases of 2021.
The beautiful invention that is coffee has been around for centuries, yet somehow we manage to find ways to make coffee new and exciting. In 2021, innovations in coffee were no exception. We found new ways to drink coffee (hello, Minor Figures canned coffees), new ways to get exceptional coffee to your doorstep just by sending a text (Fellow Drops, we see you) and even a new-and-improved take on the humble French press (we get it, Fellow, you do coffee gear). Regardless of how you take your coffee, there's something for everyone in this list of new coffee gear from 2021.
Flying Coffee The French Roast
Wes Anderson was back this year with his new film The French Dispatch, and the release has been hyped up with some highly collectible merch. You could have picked up a copy of the French Dispatch magazine from New York City's Casa Magazines, or you can still grab a bag of coffee, the French Roast, made with recently founded coffee brand Flying Coffee. The Colombian beans harken back to when French roast was every coffee nerds go-to type of bean, which has since fallen out of favor for fruity and sweet light-roast beans. The French Roast has a smoky-sweet flavor with hints of chocolate and nuts. It's the type of coffee you'd expect a French Dispatch journalist to drink black, its coffee staining their notebook, though it would work wonderfully paired with milk and sugar.
Great Fellow Kettle
Millennial direct-to-consumer cookware brand Great Jones and coffee accessories brand Fellow have teamed up to become Great Fellow. It's not an actual new brand, but it is the name of Great Jones' take on the ever-popular Fellow Stagg EKG kettle, our Just Get This pick for an electric kettle. The kettle comes decked out in a green (dubbed broccoli) colorway, while the power button/temperature dial comes is yellow (or mustard). Get this if Fellow's kettle in black just wasn't to your liking.
Fellow Carter Move Mug with 360° Lid
Fellow's Carter Move Mug is one of the best travel coffee cups out there. It has a ceramic coating that won't leech flavors into your joe, and it'll keep it hot or cold for up to three hours. With the addition of the new 360° lid, the Carter Move is even better. Instead of having a single place on the lid to sip from, you can drink from anywhere on the lid. As little of a detail as that sounds like it may be, it makes drinking coffee on the go so much easier. And if you already have a Move mug, you can buy the 360° lid on its own for $10.
Partners Coffee Rockaway Cold Brew
As if cold brew couldn't get any simpler, Brooklyn-based coffee roasters Partners Coffee made its cold-brew blend of coffee beans into tea bag-like satchels for easier cold brewing. Each package of Rockaway Cold Brew contains four pouches of pre-ground coffee, so all you have to do is steep it in 24 ounces of water for a day to get delicious cafe-quality cold brew.
Fellow Clara French Press
Fellow released its version of a French press earlier this month, and it's about as Fellow as it gets. From the matte black construction to the thoughtful details, it promises to make a better cup of French press coffee. It has an ultra-fine mesh filter to reduce the muddiness of your coffee, an agitation stick to help with coffee extraction and a non-stick coating to help with cleanup.
The only hesitation about getting one may be its price: $99 for matte black or $129 for matte black with walnut accents.
Quintal Coffee Subscription
Eduardo Umaña and former World Barista Champion Raul Rodas source and roast rare Latin American coffee — at origin — every month and send it to your door. It's only just begun, but the first round of coffee was exceptional, and $20 a month for 10 ounces of some of the best coffee in the world isn't a bad deal at all.
Alldae Cascara Tea
If you've never had it, cascara is tea made from the skin of the fruit of the coffee plant. When processing these fruits to get the seed (what we call the coffee bean), the skins are removed and typically discarded. Cascara gives them delicious purpose. Alldae is a new company making cascara out of Gesha coffee from Panama. If you're hunting a mid-afternoon pick-me-up that isn't as jarring as a cup of coffee, Alldae's canned cascaras are an excellent option. I like the pineapple flavor best.
Price: $24 (six-pack)
Fellow Shimmy Coffee Sieve
No matter how good your coffee grinder is, you're bound to get a little thing called microfines, which are basically super-tiny coffee grinds that can ruin your coffee's flavor. While some may not notice how much those microfines are affecting their coffee, you can trust that your coffee would taste way better without them. The answer to removing these microfines is called a coffee sieve, and Fellow just released its own take on the device, called the Shimmy. All you do is place your ground coffee in the canister and give it a little shake to displace the microfines from the coffee grounds you'll actually be using to brew. Give it a try with any coffee brewing method you use to make a better cup of joe.
Grady's Cold Brew The Spouch
Since launching in 2011 as a brand of bottled concentrates of New Orleans-style cold brew, Grady's has since expanded into ready-to-drink and brew-it-yourself iterations. New Orleans-style cold brew, if you're not familiar, is a cold brew made with coffee, chicory and spices. The brand's new Spouch makes it easier than ever to make your own cold brew at home. The Spouch, which is a portmanteau of "pouch" and "spout," makes 48 ounces of cold brew that can be then poured straight from the cold-brewing vessel.
If you're riding the internet coffee wave, consider Fellow's text-to-order service. Load your credit card info and phone number in and receive intermittent texts with specialty-grade, freshly roasted coffee. The roaster roster is varied, so you'll be able to try a number of coffees from around the U.S. It also feels a bit anti-tech to order coffee through text, as silly as that sounds, and that's never a bad thing.
The whole shtick around cold brew is that it takes a long time to make, and the result is a fairly lackluster cup of low-acidity coffee. Osma's new countertop brewer, the Osma Pro, can supposedly make cold brew coffee in just 90 seconds. Just add ice, water and coffee and the Osma Pro essentially recirculates the water through the grounds to get a three-ounce espresso shot or 12-ounce cold brew in less time than it takes to explain exactly what's going on.
Humblemaker Coffee TACA Blend
For Autism Awareness Month in April, California-based coffee roaster made a blend for The Autism Community in Action, a non-profit that supports families raising children with autism. All proceeds from sales of the TACA blend go to the organization, one that has a special place in the heart of Humblemaker co-founder Bryan Marseilles, who has two children on the autism spectrum. This coffee isn't just all about doing good — it's a good coffee in and of itself with notes of dark chocolate, vanilla bean and caramel.
Minor Figures Canned Coffees and Teas
You may have seen Minor Figures' oat milk before. The brand is known for drawing attention thanks to its quirky branding, and the oat milk itself has a dedicated fanbase, mostly comprising coffee lovers and baristas. It's now making canned coffees and teas mixed with its infamous oat milk, and it's like having a barista making café-quality beverages in your home. The lineup includes a latte, matcha latte, chai latte and mocha, all of which can be found in select indie coffee shops and Whole Foods (later in April in mid-Atlantic stores) across the US.