Welcome to the exciting world of home espresso!
If you’re new to espresso or just getting started with home brewing, you might be wondering what kind of equipment you need. Don’t worry – we’re here to help. This guide will introduce you to the 13 essential tools every home barista needs to make great espresso.
First things first – let’s talk about brewing espresso. To make a great shot of espresso, you’ll need a few things:
First and foremost, you’ll need an espresso machine. There are many different types and brands of espresso machines on the market, so it’s important to do your research and choose the one that’s right for you. An espresso machine can be:
Automatic Espresso Machine
An automatic espresso machine will grind the beans, dose the coffee, tamp it, and extract the shot for you.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
A semi-automatic espresso machine will require you to grind the beans and dose the coffee, but it will tamp the coffee and extract the shot for you.
Manual / Lever Espresso Machine
A manual or lever espresso machine will require you to do everything – from grinding the beans to extracting the shot.
Whether you choose an automatic, semi-automatic, or manual machine, it’s important to get one that fits your budget and your needs. However, if you’d rather have more control over your shot, we recommend a semi-automatic or manual machine.
Making the best espresso is all about finding the perfect balance of grind, dose, and brew time – and with a semi-automatic or manual machine, you’ll have more control over those variables. So, if you’re serious about making great espresso, these are the tools you’ll need besides the machine itself.
Essential Barista Tools for Home
1. Get A Good Coffee Grinder
A good coffee grinder is an essential piece of equipment for any home barista. A quality grinder will help you get the most out of your coffee beans, and it will make it easier to make consistent espresso shots. There are two main types of coffee grinders:
A blade grinder has spinning blades that chop up the coffee beans. Blade grinders are typically less expensive than burr grinders, but they’re also less precise. That means getting a consistent grind with a blade grinder can be difficult, which can lead to inconsistent espresso shots.
A burr grinder has two abrasive surfaces (called burrs) that crush the coffee beans into a consistent grind. Burr grinders are more expensive than blade grinders, but they’re well worth the investment if you’re serious about making great espresso.
If you’re just getting started, we recommend a burr grinder. It will make it easier to get a consistent grind, and it will make it easier to make great espresso.
An espresso tamper is a tool that you use to compact the coffee grounds in the basket before brewing. This is important because it helps to ensure that the water extracts evenly from the coffee grounds, which leads to a more consistent shot. There are many different types of espresso tampers on the market, so it’s important to choose one that’s a perfect fit for your machine’s portafilter.
A scale is an important tool for any home barista. When making espresso, it’s important to use the right amount of coffee. A scale will help you measure the coffee so that you can make sure you’re using the right amount.
We recommend a digital scale because they’re more accurate than analog scales. And, when it comes to espresso, accuracy is key.
It’s also important to have a thermometer when making espresso. The water temperature is critical when brewing, and a thermometer will help you make sure the water is at the right temperature.
Some espresso machines come with a built-in thermometer, but we recommend getting a separate one so that you can more accurately measure the water temperature.
When preparing espresso-based beverages like lattes and cappuccinos, the milk temperature is critical.A milk thermometer will help you make sure the milk is at the right temperature.
You need a timer when making espresso because the brew time is critical. The goal is to extract the shot for the perfect amount of time – too long, and the shot will be over-extracted and bitter; too short and the shot will be under-extracted and sour. A timer will help you keep track of the brew time so that you can make sure you’re extracting the shot for just the right amount of time.
Non-Essential Espresso Tools and Accessories
A knock box is a tool that you can use to dispose of the used coffee grounds. It’s not essential, but it’s a nice tool to have if you want to keep your espresso area neat and tidy.
7. Tamping Mat
A tamping mat is for tampers what a cutting board is for knives. It’s a lifesaver for your countertop, and it makes tampers last longer. It’s not so much an espresso tool as it is a tamper tool, but it’s still a nice accessory to have.
8. Dosing Tools
Dosing tools can help you measure the coffee for your espresso shots. They can be helpful if you want to be extra precise, but they’re not essential.
9. Cups and Glasses
Of course, you need something to put your espresso in! There are many different types of cups and glasses on the market, but we recommend getting a set of double-walled espresso cups. Double-walled cups keep the coffee hot longer, which is important because espresso shots should be served immediately after brewing.
10. Cappuccino Art
Cappuccino art is the practice of pouring steamed milk into espresso to create designs on the surface of the drink. There are many different ways to do it, but a set of stencils can be a helpful tool if you want to try your hand at it.
Espresso Machine Maintenance Accessories
Descaling solution is used to clean espresso machines. It’s important to use a descaling solution regularly to keep your machine in good condition. The hard water in many areas can lead to mineral buildup, and a descaling solution will help remove that buildup.
A backflush disk is a tool that you can use to clean your espresso machine. You can use it to remove coffee oils and residue from the machine’s Group Head.
It’s an important tool to have if you want to keep your machine in good shape, and it’s something that we recommend for all home baristas.
*Backflushing an espresso machine without a solenoid valve is not recommended. You may damage the equipment.
These are just a few of the essential tools and accessories that you need to make great espresso at home. Of course, there are many other tools and accessories that you can buy, but these are the ones that we think are essential. So, if you’re just getting started, make sure you have these 13 items on your list.