Choosing Espresso Equipment
With fresh knowledge, it's time to ask: do you have the gear to get going? Perhaps you're shopping for your first machine. Or maybe you're ready to upgrade that dinosaur on your kitchen counter. And what are you grinding with, anyway? There are a dozen models that we could recommend without thinking twice, but these are our among favorites for beginners.
Espresso machines for beginners
The Silvia set the standard for home espresso machines more than 15 years ago and it hasn't yet been outdone. With a solid build and a simple interface, it's the best entry-level machine there is.
Want even more control over your shots? The Crossland CC1 is a single boiler machine with built in temperature control and pre-infusion timers, which allow you to dial in your coffees more easily and store profiles for your favorite coffees. It's small enough to fit under your cabinets, but powerful and versatile - ideal for learning the art of espresso.
For a real café-at-home experience – endless steam and hot water, temperature control, and a plumb-in option – the Duetto is our go-to. This mammoth machine is unbeaten in its class and can handle anything you throw at it.
If you'd like to learn where the term "pulling a shot" came from, a direct-lever espresso machine like the Europiccola will give you plenty to love. This is a fully manual espresso machine with few modern conveniences, but it is oh-so rewarding to master. With this style of machine, you can even pressure-profile your shots, allowing for more complex extractions. To learn more, check out our blog post on these machines.
Espresso grinders for beginners
If you're just starting out your home cafe and have a more modest budget, you can't beat the performance-to-cost ratio of a great hand grinder. The Feldgrind by Knock is a superbly crafted grinder in its own right, and we happen to think it's one of the best ways to start making espresso on a budget. The stepless adjustment makes it easy to make fine tweaks to get the perfect shot, and the conical burrs make short work of your doses even at espresso fine settings.
Baratza's latest and greatest grinder is built with espresso in mind, and it's a perfect fit for the mid-range budget. The new burr drive keeps retention down to a minimum, and the convertible forks can be used to grind directly into your portafilter or into the included grinds bin. With 30 grind settings as well as a stepless micro adjustment, the Sette is also great for switching between espresso and pour-overs if you've got more diverse coffee drinkers in your household.
For an espresso-centric home café, consider the Vario. Its weight- and time-based programming allow you to save your work and repeat results time and time again. With special ceramic burrs, the Vario is truly designed to make stellar espresso.
The tall, sleek shape of a Mazzer grinder has become an icon of specialty espresso. These Italian workhorses are classic grinders that have set the standard for quality. For long-lasting performance and unparalleled durability, make the Mazzer Mini your home espresso grinder.