Food & Drink

Craft the Perfect Cup of Joe

The owners of Southern coffee shop the Daily spill the beans on setting up the ultimate home-brew station

photo: Melody Shemtov

Melody and Michael Shemtov’s at-home coffee station set-up.

Melody and Michael Shemtov don’t mess around when it comes to their morning cup of coffee, whether it’s made in their acclaimed Charleston and Atlanta-based coffee shop the Daily, or at home in their kitchen. “That first cup of coffee is an act of love, both for yourself and anyone else you’re making coffee for,” says Melody. Beyond the love, there’s also some key components the Shemtovs swear by: the right equipment, fresh beans, and bonus syrup or frothy milk when you’re feeling fancy. Steal their secrets for the perfect pour every time.

photo: Drew Perlmutter
Melody and Michael Shemtov.

1. Fresh beans—always.

“I grind fresh for each cup and every shot, every time,” says Melody. “Investing in a grinder is the single best decision for any serious home coffee maker.” 

Their picks:

Breville Smart Grinder: Worth the price for the ability to adjust grind size depending on whether you’re brewing a pour-over or an espresso shot. For drip coffee, the Shemtovs opt for a 1.5 scoop per cup ratio (i.e. strong!).

Onyx Coffee Labs beans: Onyx sources the highest quality beans from around the world and focuses on sustainability—from their completely carbon-neutral, solar-powered roastery to their bio-degradable, compostable packaging. For this reason, the Shemtovs serve it at both Daily locations as well as at home. While Michael leans toward the Ethiopian coffees, this Costa Rica blend is Melody’s current go-to.

2. The right equipment for your brew style

With two young children and several restaurants to keep tabs on (they also own Butcher & Bee and Red Headed Stranger restaurants), they have options for both a quick cup and a more thoughtful pour. “Being a busy mom, I go for the pour-over first thing in the morning, because it’s faster and easier,” says Melody. “Being a gourmand, Michael will patiently wait for the espresso machine to warm up and then make himself a perfect cortado (and then one for me).”

Their picks:

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine: “It pulls a perfect shot every time, and steams milk to perfection, but does require some expertise, training, and finesse,” says Melody. “This is for when we have a bit more leisure time in the morning. It takes time to heat up, and has several steps, but once you know how to work the machine, it’s worth the extra time.”

V-60s ceramic pour over: The Shemtovs heat the water in a Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle—which boils in under a minute and holds the water at temperature in case there’s lag times between your first and second cup. And they love these reusable CoffeeSock filters, which last forever.

3. Add some flare

When it comes to adding milk, flavoring, or a shake of spice, the Shemtovs are a house divided. While Michael rarely strays from black coffee, Melody prefers steamed almond or oat milk. “I add some flavored syrup to the milk while it heats—and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top if I’m feeling super extra.”

Their picks:

Nespresso Aerocinno Milk Frother: Melody and Michael have been using a similar model—which they say is a total workhorse—for almost a decade. With the push of a button you can opt for light-and-airy or a denser froth consistency, and it’s ready within 80 seconds.

Daysie Syrup: Made to use in coffee (or cocktails, or to sweeten your next baking endeavor) these all-natural syrups were developed by Charleston-based businesswoman Tara Pate, who started looking for quality flavored syrup for her own home coffee bar during the pandemic. When nothing met her standards, she created her own. Current flavors include Coconut Almond, Madagascar Vanilla, and Salted Caramel. And with their gold spout they’re pretty enough to display on the counter.