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 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 get started on their own espresso journey. You will find our recommendations for espresso machines, grinders, and accessories, all of which are made for home cafes with the same care—though a little less material—that goes into those imposing and intimidating machines on cafe countertops. Because you may need a little help getting started, we have also included resources, including videos and workshops.
Recommmended Home Espresso Brewing Gear
In the past ten years, the home espresso machine market has exploded. Reading about espresso machines, then, not to mention choosing one, has become an ordeal. There's a lot to process. In all aspects of our business, we aim to make life a little easier for you, the customer. That is why we have selected a few home machines for you to consider, each one having the ability to brew delicious espresso and steam glossy milk much like your favorite cafe. Once you find the right machine, keep reading. We have 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.
This feature-laden entry-level machine makes consistency simple with its integrated PID temperature control and simple display. Having dual boilers, unlike its brand sibling, the standard Silvia, the Silvia Pro allows for steaming milk and brewing espresso simultaneously. Inside the menu are controls for boiler temperatures, automatic sleep and wake-up modes, and automatic cleaning cyle; and during use, the display acts as a shot timer.
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.
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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 270Wi comes with loads of features to make espresso efficient for anyone. Its stepless fine-tune grind adjustment, automatic dosing, and built in forks for your portafilter make grinding a perfect dose a breeze, while Baratza’s reputation for quality shines through in the build and support you’ll get with this machine.
While many hand grinders excel with filter coffee, every model in the Timemore Plus series was constructed with burrs that do everything from espresso to cold brew. Premium materials (including some tasteful wood accents), efficient burrs, and precision manufacturing at a reasonable price make the G1 Plus a perfect companion to many entry-level home espresso set-ups.
The affordable and durable Rancilio Rocky doserless grinder has been around for more than 20 years and is still grinding. In addition to the recognizable metal body, which perfectly complements the Silvia, it has contemporary touches in the blue accents and rounded tray and grinds espresso at a speedy 1350 RPM with 50mm steel burrs.
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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.
With several built-in brewing modes, including those dedicatd to espresso and pour over, the Brewista Smart Scale II will meet every barista's needs in cafes and in kitchens. It boasts a 2 kg capacity, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (with a USB-C connection for charging), and a perfect size (4" x 5") for life on the drip tray. Luxuries include automatic shut-off, .10-gram resolution, and a silicone pad to protect the scale.
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.
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.
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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. Some are required, like a tamper (for espresso) and milk pitcher (if you plan to steam milk), while others are meant to complement the rest of your gear. All in all, these accessories will make espresso preparation and clean-up as easy as possible.
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.
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.
Espresso may be a perfect product on its own, but steamed milk makes it magical. If you want to make cappuccinos, lattes, and more at home, this steaming pitcher is exactly what you’re looking for.
A small but important piece, this tamping mat will protect your countertops from scratches and dents made by portafilters and tampers.
It isn’t glamorous, but keeping your gear spick-and-span is necessary for making delectable drinks. This starter kit comes with everything you need to keep your grouphead shining, your steam wand steaming, and your grinder turning out pristine coffee grinds.
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.
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Workshops: Brewing Espresso At Home
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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