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Good Tools


Good Tools

Paul Haworth

Every craft has tools that come with the territory. There are tools that are indispensable and there are those that are completely frivolous. Some tools have such timeless value that they are passed from generation to generation and we see them on Antiques Roadshow. Others are sold at 2AM on obscure cable channels and are forgotten by sunrise.

At Coffee Bureau, we would like to offer some objective points to consider when investing in your home coffee crafting tools. What makes a tool most valuable to us is how it connects hand, heart, and mind in the context of performing a task. The more a whole person can be involved in an act, the more value that act can bring to the whole person.

Everyone knows that a good tool will provide stability, mechanical advantage, and a liberation of faculties. What we don't always consider is what we may be trading in for one or more of those things. Sometimes, the trade is not worth it. When the tool brings about greater freedom without sacrificing precision, this could be considered a positive exchange, or 'trading up.' When a tool sacrifices precision for convenience, this is 'trading down.' But it isn't just about precision or convenience. A good tool will also have something we like to call an 'aesthetic of legacy.' If you can't imagine your children's children using something, it is missing this. Given these guidelines, how do we navigate the barrage of options we have when investing in our home coffee crafting implements? We will break it down with the three categories we have already mentioned: hand, heart, and mind. 

It is always very important to pick up a tool and hold it for a few seconds.

  • Does it seem to extend your sense of faculty or does it burden you?
  • Does it contour to your humanness or do you need to contour yourself to its form?
  • Is it obvious where you put your hands and what you are meant to do, simply by how it is designed?

We believe that if you are having a difficult time setting something down, it could be said to have wonderful 'hand appeal.' If you are able to put it down easily, it was probably not worth picking up in the first place.

Now for the heart. A good tool will inspire. As you're holding it, does this tool make you excited to craft? Chances are, if it makes you excited initially, it will always have that effect. Some tools have an ability to inspire us. How amazing is it to hold a freshly sharpened pencil, for example? It is this immediate sense of potential that we are after in a good coffee tool. 

Finally, let us move on to the mind. A tool needs to be practical. It needs to actually help us perform a task in a straightforward and efficient way. Furthermore, a tool's monetary cost needs to be justifiable. Some tools cannot justify their existence practically, even if they feel good in the hand and initially inspire our hearts. It is important to ask yourself if something actually makes sense.

If you have been able to satisfy all these categories, you should buy the coffee tool you are considering.