Home Barista Tools and Accessories – 12 Essential Espresso Tools

Barista Tools and Accessories

Barista Tools and Accessories
As you start making espresso at home, you will face various tasks that require you to use certain tools. The minimum barista tools required depends on the espresso maker you are using, and how perfectionist you are. If you aim for espresso greatness, you definitely need the right equipment. A variety of espresso brewing tools and accessories can help you in a few ways:

  • They will help you control certain brewing parameters, until you get the confidence.
  • Certain tools will make your barista life easier, improving your overall experience.
  • Other accessories will help you maintain your equipment, in order to get a great cup every time.
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Can You Make Espresso Using a Keurig [Keurig Rivo Might Be an Answer]

Espresso and Keurig

Can You Make Espresso Using a KeurigWhat is a Keurig and how do you operate one? Everybody knows what a Keurig is. You must have at least heard of it, unless you lived in a cage for the last 10 years. It’s the coffee maker that probably revolutionized the home coffee brewing in the last decade. It makes a perfect drip coffee, with minimum of effort and with consistent results. It’s so easy to use… The only skill it really required is to know how to operate a button (just push it). What can we ask more from a coffee maker?

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How to Make Real Espresso at Home [Using a Pump Espresso Maker]

Pulling Espresso Shot in Bodum Pavina Cup 3

Espresso Shot in cupOkay so I’m going to be very honest with you. When I first learned how to make coffee, I was pretty confident that I’d nail it. But then I got behind the machine and actually started making an espresso. Did I nail it? Well, let’s just say, I didn’t pull the famous “god shot” that baristas obsess about. That shot was less than average.

Preparing an espresso is a simple process, once you get the hang of the variables and use the right equipment. Once you understand how to play with tamping, grinding, dose and extraction time, you will be able to customize the taste of your shots to your liking.

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How to Make Espresso with an Espresso Machine – Infographic

SemiAutomatic Machine Espresso Machine Brewing Guide Infographic

Brewing espresso with a semiautomatic machine is a skill that starts to disappear. The convenience of super automatic machines shifts the buying preferences of the modern coffee lover. There is also the beverage preference that plays a role, but is not the subject of our brief guide. This infographic is the shortest guide possible, to get you started. We have the written version after the graphic, and is a bit more detailed. However, if you want to perfect your technique, and pull cafe quality shots, check our detailed espresso brewing guide.

SemiAutomatic Machine Espresso Machine Brewing Guide Infographic

  1. Use Good Water
    Fill up your water reservoir. The best is spring water, but distilled water works too. Distilled water is good because is odourless and tasteless, and it prevents scaling. But spring water gives your shot the extra taste dimension that it needs.
  2. Turn On the Machine
    Ensure the boiler is hot. The light on your machine will indicate when the machine is ready.
  3. Dose your coffee.
    If your grinder doesn’t have a doser, weighing on a scale is the best option. Use 14-18 grams of coffee beans for a double espresso. Use 7-9 grams for a solo. You can still use volumetric dosing, by measuring the scoops. What I do, is measure by scoops, and then weigh the beans. When I change the beans I repeat this operation.
  4. Grind Coffee
    Grind your coffee finely. The grind size is smaller than for drip coffee, but not quite powder. Table salt is good comparison size.
  5. Fill the Portafilter
    Dump your coffee grounds in the portafilter, aiming to distribute them evenly in the filter basket. Lightly tap the portafilter to achieve perfect distribution. You can tap with your knuckles on the sides of the portafilter, or knock it on the tamping mat. This is an adapted technique. If you have a grinder with a doser, step 5 and 6 are a single step.
  6. Tamp it.
    Give it a good tamp, aim for about 30 pounds of pressure. That pressure can vary, depending on your coffee variety and roast, and the grind size. But as a beginner, you need to change just one variable at a time. So be consistent with your tamping force at 30 pounds.
  7. Start Brewing
    Lock in your portafilter into the brew head of your machine and press the brew button.
  8. Pull the shot
    Aim for a 25 seconds extraction time. Depending on how fine is coffee ground, this can vary up and down by 5 seconds. The extraction time is the same, whether it is a solo, or a doppio.

Happy brewing!

This infographic is a simpler, graphical version of our guide on how to use a semi-automatic espresso machine. We love this infographic because is a fast way to start. We do recommend you though, to bookmark our espresso tutorial here, as a comprehensive list of articles on the topic, including espresso pulling, milk frothing, espresso alternatives, and brewing equipment.

 

How to Make Espresso without an Espresso Machine – Three Great Tasting Espresso Alternatives

Espresso Cup

Espresso CupEspresso is my favorite way of brewing coffee. Everything from the intoxicating aroma and pungently sharp flavor, to the astounding amounts of caffeine per ounce, make it the most desirable coffee cup. I brew a cup every morning, from the comfort of my home. It’s my ritual; I own two espresso machines, though one is catching dust in the basement. Sometimes I can’t prepare my daily lungo, double shot at home. In these crisis situations, I pass by the neighborhood cafe, and grab one.

What if I didn’t own an espresso machine?

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Breville BES980XL Oracle – Espresso Machine Review

Breville Bes980xl Oracle Review

Breville Bes980xl Oracle Review

Breville Oracle is Not a Super-Automatic

The price tag of the Breville BES980XL Oracle is within the range of super automatic espresso machines, yet the Oracle is just a semiautomatic machine. Well, not exactly a semiautomatic either, but this is where it got me. You’ll see why in a bit.

Breville’s marketing team was inspired when they named its high end espresso machine “Oracle”. Yes, this machine has all the brewing answers espresso lovers were looking for. It seems a bit steep for a machine that doesn’t qualify as a super-automatic.

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How to Tamp Espresso – The Perfect Espresso Tamping

Espresso Gear

Ristretto Espresso ShotEspresso tamping is one of the most important steps when pulling a shot. If you get the tamping wrong, your espresso is ruined, because the water will pass through the grinds too fast, and the result will be a beverage close to drip coffee. Here are are a few tips to ensure a perfect tamping every time.

How To Tamp Espresso – Techniques, Tips and Tricks

Ground coffee in portafilter
Photo by Nicholas Lundgaard via Flickr

Tamping Pressure

The pressure for tamping the ground coffee into a filter-basket is 30 pounds of pressure.

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How To Brew Espresso – How to Make the Perfect Espresso

girl drinking coffee

How To Make the Perfect Espresso

espresso shot
espresso shot photo by Mike Rohde

When you start to learn how to brew espresso, you get frustrated, and some even give up and they return to the mediocre shots at the famous coffee shop chain. This is understandable, because making the perfect espresso is a complex, elaborated, sometimes intuitive combination of coffee quality, extraction pressure and time, water temperature, coffee grind and roast, and more… If only one of these parameters is off, your espresso shot will be an average one.

As in all areas where talking about savor, aroma and taste, preparing a good coffee needs strict rules.

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