Last Updated on November 20, 2021 by John Moretti
Whether you’re a new home brewer or an experienced barista, knowing the espresso accessories and what they do can be of great help to you. From helping you not burn your milk, keeping you from running around to a bin every time you pull a shot, or even distributing coffee correctly in your portafilter, some accessories can make your life a lot easier.
Distributors, tampers, tamper mats, coffee scales, and knock boxes are some of the essential accessories every coffee enthusiast should have. With the help of these tools, you ensure less wasted time, better espresso extraction, and even improve the health of your portafilters and machine.
Though the world of espresso accessories might seem overwhelming and expensive, these tools will help any coffee enthusiast on the journey to the perfect cup of coffee. Knowing what you can use to enhance your everyday coffee experience by saving you time or a lousy extraction is essential.
What To Know – The 5 Best Espresso Accessories
Finding the best espresso accessories can be tricky. Every coffee enthusiast must decide what they feel they need to help them in the brewing process. However, it is easy enough to see what people buy along with their espresso machine.
Another way to find out what accessories are useful is by going to coffee shops. I have asked around to see what baristas think the best accessories are to help you on your journey to making the best espresso you can.
Though distributors haven’t always had the best reputation in the coffee industry. However, it has been proven that using a distribution tool does help provide you with a more even extraction of the coffee grinds in the portafilter.
If you are the kind of coffee enthusiast chasing after that perfectly extracted espresso and golden crema, this is a tool you must have. The process of distributing your coffee grinds means that you even out the coffee grinds in the portafilter. Well-distributed grinds help you with rich crema, even extraction, and even cleanliness.
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No matter who you are or where you make coffee, a tamper is your best friend when it comes to espresso. There are many different types of tampers, and the one you choose to use is primarily up to personal preference.
When you extract coffee from grinds, high-pressure water is forced through the coffee in a way that extracts all the coffee goodness through the filter and into your cup. If your coffee is not tamped before extraction, the water will always find the way of least resistance. This causes uneven extraction and can result in a terrible cup of coffee.
Tampers are made to help you apply enough pressure to the grinds in your basket to even out and compress the coffee and create better extraction. By tamping, you compress the grinds, so the water gets into contact with more coffee instead of taking the path of least resistance. This process dramatically improves coffee extraction.
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Tamper mats are, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked espresso accessories. There are a lot of coffee enthusiasts that disregard the importance of a tamping mat, by so doing, disregarding the cleanliness and health of the rest of their espresso stations.
Tamping mats have multiple uses. Using a tamping mat, you can secure your portafilter and apply tamping pressure without moving around. At the same time, you are protecting both your portafilter itself and the counter you’re using to apply the pressure on.
Many tamper mats even come with dedicated places to hold your tampers. In my opinion, few things look as good as an espresso station that is clean and shiny. And not only does a tamper mat help you achieve cleanliness, but it also helps your stability while tamping.
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The importance of a good coffee scale should not be underestimated. With the help of a coffee scale, you can improve the taste of coffee, the consistency of your coffee, and even reduce waste.
With a scale like the Apexstone Coffee Scale, you can experiment with the coffee to water ratio, allowing you to perfect your cup of coffee. Not only does this help you achieve optimal extraction, but it also allows you to reduce the waste of coffee by allowing you to see exactly how much coffee you need for your preferred espresso.
Knock boxes like the Breville BCB100 are essential espresso accessories for a coffee enthusiast to have. Not only is a knock box an easy way to get rid of your used coffee grinds but getting the right one can help keep your portafilter safe and in good shape.
The knock box is one of the most effective espresso accessories anyone can get. Using a knock box saves you time by not going to a bin to struggle to remove grinds. With the bar in the middle of the knock box, you have an easy way to remove coffee without damaging your portafilter.
All you need to do is “knock” your portafilter onto the bar to remove most of the grinds. The rest is easy to remove either with a quick rinse or a brush.
What Accessories To Use For Milk-Based Espresso Drinks
Not everyone likes the taste of pure espresso or espresso and water drinks like Americano. That is why it is essential to know your milk-based espresso drinks and what accessories you need to make the best drinks you can.
Along with the Espresso accessories mentioned above, that will help you improve the taste of your coffee, there are also other accessories to help you on the way to making the perfect cappuccino.
Milk Frothing Pitcher
Choosing the right milk frothing pitcher for your purpose is very important. Using a pitcher that is too small may extend the time it takes to make your drink if you need to froth milk a second time for just one drink.
At the same time, using a pitcher that is too big may cause you to waste milk. Wasting milk can cost you quite a lot of money over time. That is why it is essential to know your cup sizes as well as your frothing pitcher sizes.
You can ensure high-quality milk without wasting any milk leftover by getting the correct sized pitcher. One of the best ways to make sure you use the right amount of milk is by filling up your cup with water. Fill it to the point where you would usually fill your cup for a milk-based drink.
After filling your cup, pour out the water into the pitcher leaving enough water to represent where your espresso shot would usually be. Looking at how much water you have in your pitcher should give you a rough idea of how much milk to use. Just make sure you account for how much foam you make when frothing.
Keeping your milk from burning is crucial for making an excellent milk-based espresso drink. By burning the milk, you will cause unwanted flavors to appear in your drink. Burnt milk is one of the easiest ways to ruin a good cup of coffee.
Investing in a milk thermometer is always a good idea if you enjoy milk-based espresso drinks. There are multiple different thermometers to choose from to help you regulate the temperature of your milk. One of the coffee shop favorites is the thermo-sticker like the Color Changing Temperature Tag. It means there’s no need to hold a thermometer in your jug, as you can easily see the sticker on the side.
Microfiber cleaning cloths
The importance of cleanliness in an espresso station is essential. By not cleaning things like your froth wand, you can cause a terrible taste in your milk.
Cleaning cloths can help you avoid unwanted tastes and help you clean up to keep everything in good order. Ideally, you want a minimum of two cloths. One cloth would, of course, be used to “purge” and clean your froth wand. The other would be to clean the area around your machine if you make a bit of a mess or spill something.
Other Accessories To Improve Your Coffee Experience
Though we have covered the basics of both milk and espresso-based coffee accessories, there are other important accessories that you may need. These accessories are just as essential as the accessories mentioned above.
There is just something about seeing the layers of your espresso as it leaves the portafilter. Proper see-through shot glasses would provide you with that view and a lot of other things.
Not only is it about the view. Getting Proper coffee shot glasses can help you measure your shots and even help you split your coffee between two drinks if someone prefers a single shot drink.
Shot glasses are also an opportunity to show off. By keeping the coffee in a shot glass and adding it to the cup last, you can make a variety of beautifully separated coffee drinks.
Even though you might already have cups that you can use for your coffee machine, there are many more details to look at when using a cup for espresso and espresso-based coffee drinks.
Not only is it essential to have different cups for your different drinks and drink sizes, but there are also other factors to think of when it comes to choosing cups. Heat retention and the flavor changes that a cup might cause are two critical factors to think of when choosing a cup.
It is generally good practice to heat your cups either on the machine or with some hot water before pulling a shot into it. By heating your cups first, the coffee’s heat does not get redistributed to the cup to warm it to the liquid temperature inside. Instead, the heat stays intact, meaning that you have a smaller chance of a cold cup of coffee.
There is a general leaning to double-sided glass cups or glasses for coffee drinks. The inclination to double-sided glass cups is due to the fact that you will not only be given a spectacular view from the side, but the heat retention is good, and there is minimal, if any, effect on flavor.
Other Cleaning Accessories You Need
As you will know by now, keeping your espresso station clean is a vital part of making good coffee and creating a good coffee experience.
By buying a couple of different cleaning brushes, you can help this process along and ensure that no unwanted, old, or burnt coffee is reextracted into a new cup of coffee. By investing in a kit like the ACKLLR Coffee Cleaning kit, you can keep both your machine groupheads and your portafilters clean and free of unwanted coffee grinds.
Another critical part of cleanliness and a surefire way to ensure your machine stays in good working order is to get some espresso machine descaler.
Machine cleaners like the Urnex Cafiza Espresso Machine Cleaning Tablets have been made to be used during a daily routine called backflushing. Backflushing is a process during which you use a “blind filter” or a filter with no holes for water to come through.
The process is done by putting detergent in the blind filter and then forcing the pressurized water from the machine to mix it and push it back into the machine to deep clean the valves and groupheads.
Many accessories can help you on the journey to perfect the art of making coffee. Whether you are a coffee enthusiast or a barista who makes coffee by trade, it is important to keep updated on the tools that can help you. Many tools will help you make better coffee and keep your machine and station clean and in good working order.