Coffee Essentials for This Back to School Season

by Cat DeLaus Updated: August 05, 2022 13 min read

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As summer comes to a close, back to school season is coming ever closer. With it will come early morning classes, late night study sessions, and loud roommates that never seem to get in trouble for blasting music during quiet hours. That means that your college packing list shouldn’t just contain textbooks, school supplies, and room decor – you also need to make sure you have the tools to keep you properly caffeinated this school year.

Whether you’re an underclassmen living in a dorm on campus or an upperclassmen or grad student in your own apartment, it’s important to get the right coffee makers and tools for your needs. This list goes over a few of the essentials to make sure that when sleep fails you this school year, coffee won’t.

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Being back-to-school ready means being ready to brew.

Coffee Essentials for Dorm Living

Living in a dorm usually means that you’re on a dining plan and may have some on-campus coffee options available to you, but there’s nothing worse than oversleeping and having to skip your morning coffee because the line is too long at your usual shop. Whether you need a coffee maker for daily use or just on days when you don’t feel like trudging to the dining hall, these are some great options that will still fit in your dorm.

Single Serve Espresso Machines

Single-use pods and capsules can be a lifesaver when you’re running late or too busy with work to take a break long enough to measure out coffee grounds. These machines are compact and easy to use so you can worry about your classes instead of your caffeine.

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The Illy ESE Pod Machine ready to brew before a study session.

Illy ESE Pod Machine

This extremely compact, sleek machine is very easy to use to brew yourself a single or double shot of espresso. After brewing, the machine automatically will eject the pod into a compartment behind the drip tray that holds nine ESE pods, so you won’t have to worry about too much daily cleanup. There’s even a fold down tray if you want to brew directly into an espresso cup instead of a larger mug for making milk drinks or Americanos.

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Illy E.S.E. Pod Coffee Machine - Black

Illy E.S.E. Pod Coffee Machine - Black

The Illy E.S.E. Pod Coffee Machine brews delicious espresso using Illy’s ESE pods. The compact design makes this espresso machine perfect for any at-home coffee setup.

Lavazza Classy Mini

This compact machine features an adjustable drip tray as well as the option to brew single or double espresso. It’s ready to brew 28 seconds after being turned on, so you won’t have to worry about a long warm-up time when you’re already tight on time. Just pop in a Lavazza Blue capsule and you’ll have a delicious drink in no time!

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Lavazza Classy Mini Espresso Machine - Black

Lavazza Classy Mini Espresso Machine - Black

3 Reviews
The Lavazza Classy Mini is a Lavazza Blue capsule espresso machine with a minimalist design that focuses entirely on espressos and lungos.

Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe Espresso Machine With Aeroccino

If you like to alternate between brewing espresso and coffee, this pod machine may be the right choice for you. With just the touch of a button, the machine will read the barcode on the capsule you insert to figure out what size drink you’re brewing and get to it.

This set also comes with an Aeroccino milk frother, which allows you to froth milk for lattes, macchiatos, and flat whites. You even have the option for a cold froth if you prefer iced drinks or want to add cold foam to a drink.

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Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe Espresso Machine by DeLonghi with Aeroccino - Black

Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe Espresso Machine by DeLonghi with Aeroccino - Black

The Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine by DeLonghi with Aeroccino3 Milk Frother bundle, in black, offers freshly brewed single-serve coffee with excellent crema and authentic espresso in two convenient cup and capsule sizes, all at the touch of a button. Featuring patented Centrifusion extraction technology developed by Nespresso, automatic blend technology and the Aeroccino3 milk frother, preparing your favorite beverages at home has never been easier.

Nespresso Lattissima Plus

This machine is a bit more expensive than the other pod machine options, but it packs a punch the others don’t. With one touch you can craft customizable milk drinks from cappuccinos to just warm milk for hot chocolate. The detachable milk carafe can be stored in your fridge between uses so you don’t have to empty it out and clean it daily.

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DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima Touch Espresso Machine in Silver

DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima Touch Espresso Machine in Silver

0 Reviews
Owning the DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima Touch Espresso Machine The DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima Touch Espresso Machine in silver goes from power to ready-to-brew in under thirty seconds. In one t...

Pods and Capsules

If you’re getting a pod machine (or if you already have one), it’s important to stock up on pods so you don’t suddenly run out when you need it most. Make sure to check what kind of pods the machine you chose uses to ensure that you’re getting the best quality coffee and espresso.

Lavazza Blue Gold Selection

Lavazza Blue Gold Selection are some of our best selling Lavazza-compatible capsules, and it’s easy to see why. With notes of almond and honey, you’re sure to get a delicious shot of espresso to drink alone, in a milk drink, or in an Americano. This 100-pack will keep you stocked for a few months so you won’t have to worry about buying new capsules until midterms are over.

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Lavazza BLUE Gold Selection Capsules - 100 Count

Lavazza BLUE Gold Selection Capsules - 100 Count

1 Reviews
Lavazza BLUE Gold Selection capsules contain a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffees to produce a shot of espresso with smooth notes of almond and honey.

Illy E.S.E. Pods Intenso

If you’re looking for a bolder, more intense flavor for your coffee pods, these Intenso ESE pods from Illy are a great choice. You can brew authentic Italian espresso shots with these perfectly premeasured pods filled with sustainably grown Arabica beans. The best part? These pods are 100% compostable.

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illy E.S.E. Pods Intenso - Dark Roast

illy E.S.E. Pods Intenso - Dark Roast

19 Reviews
Intenso (Dark Roast) Intenso, bold roast coffee has a pleasantly robust finish, with warm notes of cocoa and dried fruit.. Prepare authentic Italian espresso with pre-measured E.S.E. pods. illy’s d...

Compact Coffee Makers

If you want to brew with a coffee maker instead of a pod machine, but you’re still tight on space in your dorm, these coffee makers are a great solution. You can choose to brew one cup or a bigger batch to share (or drink over the course of a long cram session).

Bonavita BV1900TS 8 Cup Coffee Brewer

Bonavita’s coffee makers are known for their status as brewing coffee that fits the SCA Golden Cup Standards. That means that you’re getting delicious coffee that’s brewed right every time for a coffee that’s well balanced and delicious every time.This Bonavita brewer holds up to 8 cups of brewed coffee, so you can make a big carafe for your friends or choose to only brew one to two cups for yourself.

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Bonavita BV1900TS 8 Cup Coffee Brewer

Bonavita BV1900TS 8 Cup Coffee Brewer

22 Reviews
The Bonavita 1900TS 8-Cup Stainless Steel Lined Carafe Coffee Brewer does its best to deliver perfect coffee without any bells and whistles.

Technivorm Moccamaster Cup One Coffee Maker

Moccamasters are known for brewing delicious coffee with just the touch of a button, and the Cup One is no exception. If you’re low on space but want the delicious flavor of a larger Technivorm, this coffee maker is the perfect option. This Moccamaster also brews SCA-approved coffee, and it will brew a 10oz cup of coffee in just four minutes, so you don’t have to think too far in advance to make sure you have fresh coffee before class.

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Technivorm Moccamaster Cup One Coffee Maker

Technivorm Moccamaster Cup One Coffee Maker

12 Reviews
The Technivorm Moccamaster Cup-One offers a simple to operate single-serve brewing experience that can produce a 10 oz coffee in 4 minutes.

Off Campus Caffeinating

Once you move off campus, it’s a little more crucial to have an at-home coffee setup. You might be lucky enough to have a coffee shop on your commute to campus, but when you’re short on time (or money), it’s much easier to be able to brew at home. These espresso machines, coffee makers, and grinders will help you brew barista-quality coffee without ever leaving your place.

Super-Automatic Espresso Machines

If you want to step into the world of at-home espresso, these super-automatic espresso machines are a great choice. With built-in grinders and programmable settings, you can play around with how you brew without worrying too much about having a range of accessories to keep track of so you can keep your focus on your schoolwork.

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The Gaggia Brera with a Gaggia cappuccino cup.

Gaggia Brera

This Italian-made espresso machine allows you to easily brew espresso and steam milk to craft delicious drinks using its intuitive controls. The pannarello steam wand allows you to steam milk with little-to-no effort on your part, so you won’t have to worry about your steaming technique. The 8.8oz bean hopper also means that you will have freshly ground coffee for every brew cycle, and you can switch between five different grind settings on the grinder to get dialed in for whichever coffee you’re brewing with for the drink you’re brewing.

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Gaggia Brera Espresso Machine in Silver

Gaggia Brera Espresso Machine in Silver

359 Reviews
The Gaggia Brera is an Italian made super-automatic espresso machine with real stainless steel accenting. Its intuitive controls make brewing coffee or preparing milk drinks like cappuccinos a breeze.

JURA ENA 4

If you’re looking for a sleek, stylish, and easy-to-use espresso machine, the JURA ENA 4 is a great choice. You can choose to brew single or double shots of espresso as well as a single or double coffee, so you can get barista quality espresso and coffee at home with just the touch of a button. The built-in Aroma G3 Grinder is quieter than a grinder outside of a machine, which is perfect for making sure you don’t wake up any of your roommates who may have stayed up too late the night before.

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JURA ENA 4 Super-Automatic Espresso Machine - Full Nordic White

JURA ENA 4 Super-Automatic Espresso Machine - Full Nordic White

4 Reviews
The ENA 4 from JURA offers an affordable yet impressive super-automatic espresso experience. With the Intelligent Pulse Extraction Process, the machine optimizes extraction times for barista-level espresso shots and grinds exceptionally fast in order to extract as much flavor as possible from your espresso.

Coffee Makers and Tools

If you aren’t ready to make the jump to getting a full espresso machine but you still want to be able to make your own coffee at home, these coffee makers and accessories can help. Whether you want the ease of a french press or the control of a pour over setup, these products are perfect for all of your at home brewing needs.

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Pour over brewing with the Fellow Stagg Kettle and Espro Bloom Pour Over.

Fellow Stagg Kettle

This kettle is perfect for any brew method. You can easily set it to the exact temperature you want using the PID temperature control and keep it at that temperature for up to an hour if you want to brew more than one cup without waiting for your kettle to reheat. The gooseneck spout allows for extreme control during pour over brewing, so you can make sure that you’re getting an evenly extracted cup of coffee every time.

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Fellow Stagg EKG 0.9L Kettle - Polished Copper

Fellow Stagg EKG 0.9L Kettle - Polished Copper

3 Reviews
The Stagg EKG Electric Kettle is a minimalist coffee lover’s dream, equipped with PID temperature control, a built in timer, and an ergonomic handle.

Espro Stainless Steel French Press

When you’re trying to fit all of your necessities in a too-small college apartment kitchen, it’s inevitable that there will be some wear and tear on your kitchenware. This Espro Stainless Steel French Press will not only stand the test of time, but it will also brew delicious coffee with Espro’s double filter basket. You can also use your french press to brew cold brew alongside hot coffee if you want to add variety to your routine.

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Espro P7 Press for Coffee 32oz - Polished Stainless Steel

Espro P7 Press for Coffee 32oz - Polished Stainless Steel

2 Reviews
At first glance, the Espro Coffee Press makes a commanding statement, thanks to its shiny stainless-steel construction. At first taste, this innovative French press delivers equally impressive results. Available in 3 sizes: 8, 18, and 32 oz.

Espro Bloom Pour Over

Sticking to durable brewers, the Espro Bloom Pour Over is a stainless steel pour over device that has survived camping and is sure to be fine in your off campus housing situation. Using filters for this pour over device is optional, so if you run out in the middle of the week, you can brew without them for a few days until your next order comes in.

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Espro Bloom Pour Over Coffee Brewer 18 oz

Espro Bloom Pour Over Coffee Brewer 18 oz

1 Reviews
Espro Bloom Pour Over 18 oz Overview The Espro Bloom Pour Over 18 oz utilizes a durable, stainless steel design and a silicone sleeve around the top for insulation, grip and exterior temperature co...

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

If you want to brew espresso without an espresso machine, the AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is convenient, durable, and pretty easy to use once you have the hang of it. The AeroPress creates a vacuum seal in order to build pressure for brewing espresso, so you can try out different grind sizes to see what will work best for your taste preferences during the brew process.

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AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

14 Reviews
The AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is an innovative alternative to the traditional drip coffee maker, espresso machine and French press. The Aeropress features two copolyester cylinders, one fitted with a rubber plunger, to create an airtight brewing environment.

Breville BDC450BSS Precision Brewer Thermal Coffee Maker

This drip coffee maker not only makes delicious coffee that meets the SCA Golden Cup Standard, it also has a range of other settings so you can brew quickly, extra strong, over ice, or even brew cold brew. The thermal carafe will keep your coffee hot (or cold) for a while, so you can brew a pot for the entire apartment and let everyone get up and grab a cup on their way to class.

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Breville BDC450BSS Precision Brewer Thermal Coffee Maker

Breville BDC450BSS Precision Brewer Thermal Coffee Maker

14 Reviews
The Breville Precision Brewer Thermal Coffee Maker BDC450BSS is the answer for anyone who best enjoys craft filter coffee.

Grinders

Fresh ground coffee makes a noticeable difference in the quality of your brewed coffee, which is why it’s best to get your own grinder for high-quality at home coffee. Whether you’re opting for a pour over, a cold brew, or a french press, these grinders will produce the right consistency for your grounds.

Baratza Encore

The Baratza Encore is a coffee-focused grinder with 40 grind settings that allow you to dial in for your taste and brewing preferences. It’s also designed to keep relatively quiet while grinding at 450 RPM to reduce heat on your coffee grounds while still ensuring that you’re getting the right consistency. In addition, you can choose to grind into the included plastic container that hooks into the machine or remove it and place your french press or pour over device directly under the chute.

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Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder in White

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder in White

29 Reviews
The Baratza Encore is a 40mm conical burr grinder that’s adjustable across 40 degrees of fineness. Its high-torque motor quietly spins the burrs at a low speed of 450 RPM to remove heat and static from the grounds. The versatile Encore is a favorite of ours, and a great value.

Hario Ceramic

Some kitchens can be a little short on the number of outlets provided, and if that’s the case in your off campus housing, this Hario Ceramic hand grinder is a perfect solution. You can adjust the grind setting to suit whatever your preferred brew method is to ensure your coffee is perfectly dialed in every time. You can also easily travel with this grinder if you like to spend the night at your friends’ houses or if you like to travel during the summer or weekends.

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Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Mini Plus

Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Mini Plus

7 Reviews
Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Mini Plus Overview Hand powered and portable, the Hario Mini Mill coffee grinder is ideal for those who prefer their joe on the go. Made of plastic and sporting ceramic b...

Drinking Coffee On the Go

Whether you’re heading to class or to a shift at your part time job, you need a dependable travel mug to bring your coffee with you. These mugs go from functional to just for fun so you can find the right one for your coffee drinking preferences.

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The Espro Travel Mug with the lid and double basket filter on display.

Espro Travel Mug

If you have a tendency to run late, this travel mug is perfect for you. The built-in french press will allow you to brew on the way to your destination, so you can arrive to class on time and with a delicious, fresh cup of coffee. You can also brew cold brew in this mug by putting in grounds and water the night before and grab it on your way out to really keep your morning moving.

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Espro P1 Travel Press for Coffee - White

Espro P1 Travel Press for Coffee - White

Highlighted by the SCAA as the best new consumer product of 2015, the Espro Travel Press perfects the art of portable coffee.

Goat Story Black Leather Goat Mug

Although this travel mug may be the least traditional option on this list, it’s easily the one that will turn the most heads. Whether you’re heading to class with coffee or tea in this mug or to a party at a friends, this mug will easily make any drink more fun. This dishwasher-safe mug seems non-functional at first glance, but you can easily carry this mug using the included strap, and once you arrive at your destination, the hot sleeve can be removed and used as a stand for your mug.

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Goat Story Black Leather Goat Mug 16oz

Goat Story Black Leather Goat Mug 16oz

The Goatstory Goat Mug makes drinking coffee on the go a unique and stylish experience, all while keeping your drink safe. Available in either real brown or black leather, the Goat Mug holds 16oz of coffee, and with the included strap, simply throw it over your shoulder and go!

Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug

This sleek mug comes in a range of colors, so no matter what your aesthetic is, this mug can match it. This travel mug will keep your coffee hot (or cold) for hours, so you can sip at it throughout your three-hour lecture class without worrying about it tasting gross by the end.

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Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug 16oz - Matte Black

Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug 16oz - Matte Black

5 Reviews
Meet Carter, a 16 oz multi-sensory enhancing mug made to reveal the best tastes and smells that your coffee has to offer. The Carter Everywhere Mug by Fellow was made to take your coffee with you everywhere and boost your coffee-drinking experience.

Whole Latte Love Camelbak Mug

I might be a little biased on this one, but I love this Camelbak mug. The insulated mug will keep your coffee warm for hours, so if you have a long study session ahead of you, you can sip from this cup for hours at a time without having to drink lukewarm coffee. When I was in college, I used a mug like this when I pulled all-nighters in the library and would refill it at the cafe in the lobby so I felt more like I was at home and not in a crowded library during finals week.

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Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug 16oz - Matte Black

Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug 16oz - Matte Black

5 Reviews
Meet Carter, a 16 oz multi-sensory enhancing mug made to reveal the best tastes and smells that your coffee has to offer. The Carter Everywhere Mug by Fellow was made to take your coffee with you everywhere and boost your coffee-drinking experience.

In Conclusion

College requires caffeination, and whether you’re living on campus for your freshman year or in an apartment off campus for the final year of your masters degree, these products can help you brew the best way for you. Whole Latte Love wishes you the best of luck for your upcoming school year, and we hope this guide helped you find the best way to caffeinate!

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Cat DeLaus
Cat DeLaus

Cat DeLaus joined Whole Latte Love in 2022 as a content writer. She writes and edits product copy and blogs, and loves getting to test out the products she writes about. She has always had a habit of drinking too much coffee, though she’s new to the world of espresso brewing and is excited to learn more about how to make great espresso.