Thanks to espresso machines that are easy to use and designed to fit perfectly in your kitchen, making your own espresso at home rather than wasting a ton of money buying your favorite espresso drinks from a coffee shop every morning has become easier than ever. But, getting homemade espresso right is not always easy, and if you have decided to start brewing espresso at home in the morning, it can be quite challenging to get started with. There are several different variables that you will need to control when brewing espresso, along with equipment that takes some maintenance.
The good news is that getting the right accessories and home coffee supplies can make it easier than ever for you to brew the perfect coffee from the comfort of your own home and thrive as a home-based barista. Whether you have already invested in your home espresso machine or are considering getting one for your home soon, these are some of the most important accessories that will make sure that you’re set up to brew the perfect, well-rounded espresso that is satisfying and filled with flavor.
When it comes to the coffee accessories that you need for making your own espresso at home, a push tamper is one of the most important. A standard tamper will often come included with your espresso machine, but you can get your own separate push tamper option, which is quicker, more convenient, and easier to use when getting your coffee grounds at the right level and consistency ready for brewing. Studies have even found that using a push-style tamper can reduce the risk of elbow, back, and wrist injuries to baristas. This might be worth considering if you want to brew your own espresso at home, although it is worth bearing in mind that the study was conducted with professional baristas who tamp hundreds of grounds per day.
Once you have finished brewing your espresso shot, you’ll be left with a puck of grounds sitting in the portafilter. You’ll need to knock these out to clean the filter ready for the next time that you use it. Using your regular trash can might pose problems, as it can lead to food bits, bacteria, and germs all over your espresso machine as a result. Instead, a knock box is one of the best coffee gadgets to consider. You can find options that are sized perfectly for using at home, providing you with somewhere to throw your used grounds away conveniently.
While you can use regular kitchen scales to weigh out your coffee if you are using a manual espresso machine at home, it’s worth bearing in mind that they do not always get the most accurate results, which can ultimately lead to problems with your coffee. Because of this, one of the best coffee tools that you can invest in when it comes to brewing your own espresso at home is a smart scale that is designed with baristas in mind. Ideally, you will want to get a very precise and accurate scale since the weight of the coffee grounds that you use will have a massive impact on the final coffee, with even the smallest deviation causing a massive change to the resulting taste.
Espresso Machine Cleaner
Keeping your machine clean and well-maintained is important for anybody who brews their own espresso at home. It’s important for expanding the lifespan of your machine and will ultimately save you money in the long term since the machine will last for longer and is less likely to have problems that you will need to get a professional out to repair. It’s a good idea to invest in a dedicated espresso machine cleaning powder. Urnex is an ideal choice; their cleaning powder is quick and easy to use and does not leave any taste or residue in your machine. All you need to do is dissolve some of the powder in hot water before using it to soak your machine’s portafilter and dispersion screen. You can also use it for backflushes and wiping down the grouphead.
If you have an espresso machine with a steam wand for milk, then you’re all set to create some of your favorite milky espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. However, before you get started, you’re going to need a milk pitcher that is designed to create the right type of milk that you need for these drinks. Rattleware is a great brand to choose, with pitchers that are designed specially to help the milk rapidly swirl around when steaming, encouraging a smoother texture and finer microfoam. They also come with an easy pouring spout that you will love if you’re practicing latte art at home.
Before you start making your own espresso at home, it’s a good idea to invest in a tamping mat that is designed to protect your kitchen counter from your heavy coffee ground tamper. Additionally, they will also protect your tamper by creating a barrier between the two and will make tamping your coffee grounds much easier and more comfortable due to adding some cushioning.
Espresso Shot Glasses
While you can certainly drink your espresso from an espresso cup or even your regular mug if you like, many people enjoy pulling them into shot glasses. This makes it easy to split your shot between two glasses if you have a split portafilter. Along with this, shot glasses are the ideal way to make espresso if you are making a drink like a latte macchiato, where the shot is added to the top of the drink rather than pouring the milk over the top. And, they’re also awesome to watch since as your shot is pouring, you can clearly see all the different layers of the espresso through the glass.
Brewing Coffee at Home: The Basics
Whether you are making espresso at home using an espresso machine or have opted for another method of brewing your coffee such as a drip coffee machine or a Moka pot, there are some basics that every coffee drinker needs at home to keep their coffee tasting great every time. No matter what brewing method you’ve decided on, you need the following:
Of course, it’s never going to be possible to brew coffee at home without coffee beans! There are a few things to consider when choosing which coffee beans to use. Ideally, you should go for whole beans rather than pre-ground since coffee beans are only at peak freshness after roasting for around 2-3 weeks, and they will quickly lose their freshness when ground. Because of this, you should also go for beans that are as close as possible to the roasting date.
How you store your coffee beans will make a huge difference when it comes to how long they stay fresh and flavorful. Ideally, you should store your coffee beans in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. While a cupboard in your kitchen might offer this kind of environment, coffee beans will always stay fresher for longer when they are kept in an airtight container. It is worth considering investing in a coffee cannister with a vacuum seal and a one-way filter system that allows the CO2 gas released by the beans out of the cannister without allowing anything else to get in.
If your espresso machine does not have a built-in grinder, then you will need to get a separate one for your kitchen. Whether you go for a manual or electric grinder is purely down to personal preference. Electric grinders tend to be faster, while manual grinders are quieter, and more portable if you want to brew coffee on the go. Whichever option you choose, a burr grinder is always a better choice compared to a blade grinder. This is because with a blade grinder, the grinds are not going to be consistently the same size, which can lead to an unbalanced cup of coffee due to over- and under-extraction. This can cause problems particularly with espresso, where the coffee grounds need to be super fine and consistent to get the best taste.
Finally, while most good automatic espresso machines will brew to the perfect temperature without any input from you, a manual machine means that you are in control of the water temperature. A thermometer is important here, along with when using any other method of brewing coffee where it is down to you to get the temperature just right. The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, and the easiest way to make sure that you’re not risking under-extraction or worse, burnt coffee, is to test the water with a thermometer quickly before brewing.
If you want to start brewing your own espresso at home or are getting started with a different method of brewing your own coffee rather than buying it at a coffee shop, investing in these accessories will ensure you get the best experience.