How to Get Started Brewing Espresso at Home
How To Get Started Brewing Espresso At Home
Espresso at home is for everyone
We have all been entranced by the deft hand of a barista—dosing each shot and carefully weighing it; steaming and swirling silky smooth milk; and topping each drink with latte art, a stamp of approval, a temporary reminder of the care with which the drink was made. After watching a barista with such skill and pride, it can be easy to feel like espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes are meant only to come from behind the counter. From someone else. But, with the right sort of equipment and a little bit of knowledge, we believe that anyone—yes, even you!— can be a barista at home, too.
This page is all about the right gear and the best resources for folks who want to jumpstart their espresso journey. Here you’ll find our recommendations for espresso machines, grinders, and accessories, curated to help anyone build a complete espresso bar at home.
Check out our Intro to Espresso CourseLearn More
Recommmended Home Espresso Brewing Gear
In the past ten years, the home espresso machine market has exploded. With so many options available, choosing the right machine can be overwhelming. To help make your life a little easier, we’ve selected a few key home machines for you to consider, each one possessing the ability to brew delicious espresso and steam glossy milk much like your favorite cafe. Once you find the right machine, keep reading. We’ve compiled a short list of grinders, too, because every espresso machine needs a companion.
Ideal for a drink or two at a time, the Rancilio Silvia is a wonderfully affordable option for people who are home espresso-curious. Its quality build and small footprint make it an easy addition to most any kitchen, and its after-market customizability makes it a fun piece of gear for the tinkerers among us.Shop Now
This feature-laden entry-level machine makes consistency simple with its integrated PID temperature control and intuitive display. Featuring independent boilers for coffee and steam, the Silvia Pro X allows for steaming milk and brewing espresso simultaneously. Inside the menu are controls for boiler temperatures, a shot timer, automatic sleep and wake-up modes, and even an automatic cleaning cycle.Shop Now
When it comes to cafe-level features, the Lelit Bianca is tough to beat for the price. It comes with a commercial-grade grouphead, adjustable flow paddle, PID temperature control, integrated shot timer, and a few other goodies all wrapped in a stainless steel package with walnut accents. This machine would be a smart investment for people who plan to make espresso for years to come and wouldn't mind a little experimentation along the way.Shop Now
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While the espresso machine is often the biggest investment for home baristas, the grinder they choose will have the biggest impact on the quality they’re able to produce. Espresso requires very fine, very consistent grounds, which is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve with the average coffee grinder. Lucky for you, we have a collection of high-quality options, a few of which we have included below, at a range of prices. Once you find the right grinder, keep reading. We have compiled a short list of scales, too, because every espresso setup needs at least one.
Built expressly for home espresso, the Sette 30 is a paired down version of the Sette 270 and Sette 270Wi, equipped with 30 steps of fine adjustment, built in forks for your portafilter, and programmable grind time for precision dosing. Combined with Baratza’s excellent reputation for parts availability and long-term product support, the Sette 30 is a no-brainer for entry-level electric espresso grinding.Shop Now
Manual grinders are a great way to access quality espresso grinding at a fraction of the price of their electric counterparts. Featuring an external stepless adjustment for quick precision tuning, Titanium-coated burrs for super fine grinding, and even the ability to fit inside an Aeropress for compact travel, the Aergrind is one of our favorite hand grinders for every brewing method.Shop Now
If you’re ready for a larger investment, the Mahlkonig X54 is one of our favorite pro-sumer home espresso grinders, designed in the spirit of its commercial sibling, the Mahlkonig E65S. The X54 is a programmable multi-purpose grinder for all brew methods, featuring outstanding grind quality and speed.Shop Now
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Consistent quality is only possible with a consistent recipe, and a consistent recipe is easiest to accomplish with a high-quality scale. Most baristas want one to weigh the ground coffee in the portafilter (often called the dose) and one to weigh the brewed espresso (often called the yield). Below, we have assembled a short list of scales that fit on espresso machine drip trays and can, in a pinch and with a dosing cup, weigh the entering dose in addition to the yield. Once you find the right scale, keep reading. We have selected a few accessories for you to browse, too, to complete your setup.
Timemore’s Black Mirror Nano scale is the perfect choice for those who desire to use one scale for both dose and yield. Designed to be small enough for just about any drip tray, yet large enough to accommodate any mug, server, or even 10 cup Chemex brewers, this scale covers all the bases. In addition to its perfect size, this scale features 0.1g accuracy, a timer, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, and different automatic modes for both pour over and espresso.Shop Now
With its tiny footprint, 0.1g-resolution display, and modest price tag, the XC2000 is a nice budget-friendly espresso scale. At 4.5" x 3.5", it is a little small for holding and weighing portafilters but is perfectly sized to sit on drip trays, making it a great choice for weighing shot yields. Because it isn’t water-resistant (like the other two scales on this list), it must be kept dry, which takes a little more attention and care but is worth it in the long run.Shop Now
The Lunar has made itself the industry standard espresso scale with its rock solid features: reliable water-resistance, lightning-quick response time, rechargeable battery, and compact footprint. Like all Acaia's scales, the Lunar is a worthy investment, a carefully calibrated scale that is sure to last a long time, even on the busiest espresso machines.Shop Now
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Espresso Brewing Accessories
Now that you have an espresso machine, a grinder, and a scale (or at least have narrowed the field), it is time to complete your home espresso setup with the right accessories. Some are required, like a tamper, cleaning supplies, and milk pitcher. While others are meant to complement the rest of your gear and make the process of making espresso more enjoyable.
You’ll need a tamper to make espresso, and with the wide range of sizes available for our Prima Coffee Tamper you can be sure to get the right fit for your basket no matter what machine you’re using.Shop Now
A simple solution to keeping tidy, this knock box is great for spent coffee pucks or for quickly discarding a little coffee if you’ve over-dosed your portafilter before tamping.Shop Now
A small but important piece, this tamping mat will protect your countertops from scratches and dents made by portafilters and tampers.Shop Now
Keeping your espresso machine clean is absolutely critical for the machine’s longevity and for the best tasting coffee. You’ll need to consider a Group Head Cleaning Brush for scrubbing inside the group, Coffee Detergent for backflushing, Grinder Cleaning Tablets to remove excess grounds and oils from your grinder’s burrs, a Counter Brush to sweep up loose grounds and chaff, Microfiber Cloths for wiping the steam wand immediately after each use, and Milk wash solution to remove built on residue on the steam wand.Shop Now
Beautiful espresso drinks deserve beautiful serviceware, and with Ancap’s high-quality porcelain you can pick and choose from four different sizes to be sure you have the right cup on hand for your favorite drink. Durable and affordable, these cups are perfect for a new home cafe.Shop Now
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Resources For Brewing At Home
|To Brew:||Coffee Dose||Espresso Yield||Brew Time|
|A Single Shot||9-12 g||18-24 g/~1 fl oz||22-25 seconds|
|A Double Shot||18-20 g||35-40 g/~2 fl oz||25-30 Seconds|
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