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.

 

DeLonghi Magnifica Espresso Machine – ESAM3300 vs ECAM22110SB

DeLonghi has a great line of automatic espresso machines, probably more than any other manufacturer. Their machines are great, reliable, and you can pick from a diverse range, on all budgets. The Magnifica line has a few great machines, with the low end range priced somewhere between 500$ and 700$. The ECAM22110sb and ESAM3300 are many times compared because they are very close price wise, and they belong in that low end range. The purpose of this post is to show you the differences between the two and help you choose yours.

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Espresso vs Nespresso vs illy iperEspresso – Capsule Espresso Machines vs Semiautomatics

Espresso vs Nespresso

You are on the quest to getting the best shot of espresso, and naturally, you need to compare Espresso vs Nespresso. Even the most fervent Nespresso enemies have tasted it, just to have an idea. Whether they like it or not, Nespresso is here to stay, and it will serve millions of happy customers. The question is “Is it good enough for you?” Let’s try to answer this question together.
I know you want to buy an espresso machine right now, whether it is a regular semiautomatic, or a capsule based one.

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Five Amazing Espresso Coffees – These might Be the Best Beans for Espresso

Espresso shot

Espresso shotWhat if I told you I found the best beans for espresso? Would you believe me? Don’t believe me and don’t believe anybody for that matter. Not that I can’t recommend you some fantastic espresso blends. But when you have a few great choices, you can’t choose one blend over the other. All are great in their way, and you will probably like them all. Coffee taste, like wine, is subjective. It depends on the person who drinks it and their mood at that time.

Regardless of the subjective side of espresso tasting, there are a few objective things to consider when evaluating some espresso beans.

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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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The Combination Coffee Espresso Machine – A Guide and Reviews

Combination Coffee Espresso Machine
The new hype in the home coffee brewing is the combination coffee espresso machine. If you’ve ever been mesmerized by the motions of your barista behind the counter while you waited on your latte, you’re not alone. There is a certain meditative quality to espresso drinks: brew the espresso, steam the milk, pour the espresso, pour the milk, wipe off the steam wand, flush the wand, repeat. Baristas are passionate for a reason. Coffee is a lifestyle.Combination Coffee Espresso Machine Now, you don’t have to fill out an application to your local coffee shop to experience the bliss of being a barista.… Read more

The Best Latte Machine – Make Lattes at Home

Latte with latte art

When my cousin asked me a couple of weeks ago : “What is the best latte machine?” I didn’t have an answer on the spot. When it comes to coffee brewing, obviously, all friends and family rely on my expert advice. I was a bit disappointed by myself for not being prepared for this question. In my defense, I am not a latte drinker. I can fix a perfect one, I can even throw in some latte art if I’m in good mood, but it never occurred to me that many people are actually using the espresso machine to make exclusively lattes.

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Best Cheap Espresso Machines

Pulling Espresso with Cliff Hanger Beans

Gaggia - One of the Best Cheap Espresso MachinesFor a coffee lover on a budget, buying an espresso machine might prove challenging. How do you choose the best cheap espresso machine? What are the criteria that separates a good espresso brewer from a bad one? This is what this post proposes, to familiarize you with the technology, and give you a few hints on how to choose the best espresso machine for your budget.

For years owning an espresso machine was synonym with spending a lot of money, and the espresso and latte preparation was reserved to professional baristas, or wealthy people.

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Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine Review

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine close up cropped
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

The Breville BES870XL Barista Express espresso machine is one of the most impressive devices in the semiautomatic class. With an overwhelming feature set, with a modern look, and a great reliability, the BES870XL is a great choice for any serious espresso enthusiast. If you are on the market for a new semi automatic espresso machine, you probably looked at least at another few options including Gaggia Classic and the Rancilio Silvia, which are the standard for the price bracket. What is it that makes Breville BES870XL so wished for, and how does it compare with the other two?

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Rancilio Silvia vs Gaggia Classic

Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine

Should I buy a Rancilio Silvia or the Gaggia Classic?

If you are looking for a semi automatic espresso machine that will give you consistent shots, and will look great on your kitchen counter, you probably have in mind the Gaggia Classic and the Silvia from Rancilio. There are other machines within the same price range, however, these two espresso machines are the best rated by customers.

Let’s see what technical aspects of the two machines we can compare: brew group, boiler size, shot consistency, quality, temperature stability, versatility, reliability, and price.

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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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