Gone are those times when a fancy local coffee shop was the only place to relish the true taste and aroma of the world’s most popular beverage. Luckily for all coffee buffs, amazing mornings with a steaming cup of espresso, cappuccino, macchiato, or some other heavenly tasty variation at our own kitchens are not a dream anymore. More than that, sophisticated coffee machines have successfully settled in the break rooms of the great bulk of offices, contributing to a more conducive atmosphere and boosting productivity.
Here you have it: perfect kitchen add-ons that guarantee a premium espresso experience for all coffee lovers – just the same (or even better) as you can get at that famous place around the corner.
Well, this is a no-brainer, if you want espresso, you will need to invest in one of those hi-tech wonders that can cater to your whims. With a myriad of different models available in the market, shopping for your perfect match can be pretty overwhelming, all the more so, prices vary dramatically. However, the most important thing is to define your needs and set the priorities – the moment you’ve done with this task, everything else (including squeezing your dream into your budget) will be a piece of cake.
Depending on whether you want a machine for your home, office, or, who knows, maybe your own coffee shop, think of how many people will use it on a daily basis. For family use, you definitely do not need a huge water tank of more than 2 liters, neither you should pay too much attention to the high energy efficiency of the model.
On the other side, there are other significant elements to consider, for instance, the first question you have to ask yourself is whether you want a semiautomatic or automatic version. The latter is more expensive but ends the brew cycle for the user while the semi counterpart is more affordable but usually takes some time to learn how to use it for crafting perfect espresso shots every time.
Other things to decide on are a grinder (built-in or separate), water source ( pour-over when you add it manually or directly-connected to a water line), and noise.
If your choice is a machine without a built-in grinder (congratulations, you have just joined the cream of the crop among the coffee connoisseurs!), then, you will need to buy a quality stand-alone espresso grinder. Ask experts and everyone will tell you that this piece of equipment is a very important part of the whole story, hence certainly not the one you should skimp on.
It’s common knowledge, the taste of your coffee depends on the quality of the grinder. For the ultimate experience, look for models such as Mahlkonig E65S GBW or similar that are equipped with amazing 65mm flat burrs able to deliver richly flavoured espresso. Low-quality grinders can spoil even the best whole beans, which are far from being cheap stuff. On the other hand, premium products can serve the purpose for many years to come, constantly delivery perfect shots of your favorite beverage.
If you are a newbie in the world of coffee making, here are some essential things you have to know about burrs. Let’s start with the type and as a rule, you will come across flat or conical grinding disks. Give preference to flat ones because they provide for that rich flavour, which is so appreciated by experts. Size is another factor that matters – the bigger, the better. You do not want your beans to get sizzling hot and ruin the taste of your espresso, and large burrs provide for less friction and less heat respectively.
In contrast to both a coffee machine and grinder, an espresso tamper may seem like a small thing but believe it or not, this tool often means the difference between a luxury treat and a weird watery drink someone tries to call a coffee. Every barista worth their salt will tell you that proper tamping is key to getting a quality shot, hence if you do not own a coffee machine with a built-in grinder, take shopping for a tamper seriously.
Although tampers come in four different styles, if you are not a professional barista stick to a dual-head model, just make sure to choose the diameter to fit your basket. Other types such as handle or puck tampers seek some skills if you want to reach the lofty goal and make it more difficult for the water to rush through the grounds.
If you still do not have a kitchen scale, it’s the right time to purchase one because you hardly can get the perfect shot of espresso if you measure your coffee with a spoon. We guess you have heard of a water-to-coffee ratio that is key to a tasty cup of this beverage. When it comes to espresso, it is usually 1 part coffee to 3 parts water but many people love it 1 to 2. If you know your golden ratio, use precise scale to measure the grounds for the ideal result every single time.
If you have a portable pour-over coffee machine, make sure not to use water from the tap as it can damage the machine and ruin the taste of your espresso. If you do not like the idea of buying bottled water, consider purchasing a quality water filter. Avoid using softened or distilled water as it delivers terrible results.
Nothing compares to the magical ability of coffee to make us feel happy and alert but the reality is not everyone knows how to make that perfect cup. Even though in the vastness of the internet you can fish out a plethora of secrets, tips, and hacks on the topic, let’s face it – your chances to succeed without proper equipment are slim to none. It’s especially true in the case of espresso, which is arguably the most sought-after shot. When you add the fact, it also serves as a basis for the majority of exquisite coffee drinks, you have no alternative but to learn how to prepare your dream cup yourself.