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What to buy with an espresso machine: 9 best accessories

So you’re just about to pull the trigger on a brand new espresso machine. Now you need some accessories! So you’re probably thinking about what to buy with an espresso machine. This includes accessories and any additional gadgets you may need to enhance your coffee experience.

Espresso accessories you need to have

1. Tamper

One of the most critical parts to a good espresso shot is how well you tamp the coffee grounds. Tamping is the process of tightly packing the coffee grounds into a puck. The tighter the puck, the richer the flavor of the coffee.

Unfortunately, the tampers that you get with most home espresso machines are garbage pieces of plastic that will end up causing you joint pain if you try to tamp too hard with them!

Plus, a proper tamper looks really cool and would make for an excellent addition to any coffee counter. You’ll also see that most coffee shop baristas will use proper tampers to make espresso.

Note: you’ll need to match the tamper size to the size of your portafilter.

HIC Dual-Sided Espresso Tamper, 4-Ounce Weight, 50-Millimeter and 55-Millimeter
  • HIC’s Dual-Sided Espresso Tamper compresses ground espresso coffee into a puck that’s level and dense for a richer, more flavorful espresso brew
  • Made from heavyweight aluminum; resists damage caused by the naturally occurring acids found in Coffee; strong and durable
  • Compress ground Espresso into a dense, evenly dispersed puck through which pressurized water flows more slowly for a richer, flavorful extraction
  • Creates a necessary gap between the top of the grounds and the machine so the dampened grounds don’t Swell and clog the water disbursement screen
  • Dual ends (50-millimeters and 55-millimeters) fit most portafilter baskets; 4-ounce weight for effortless tamping; hand wash in warm, soapy water

2. Coffee Scale

Another critical aspect of espresso is the dose. To make sure you are getting the same quality espresso every time, it’s critical that you’re using the exact same dose of coffee grounds.

Tablespoons are rather inaccurate, especially if you are measuring out beans, so it’s best to measure by weight with a coffee scale.

While you can use any old kitchen scale, coffee scales are often accurate to one decimal place and include cool extras like timers for the occasional french press or pour over brew.

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3. Burr grinder

The key to great espresso is to use good coffee beans. Espresso requires a fine, almost powdery grind. To get that kind of consistency, you need a good burr grinder.

You can get a manual grinder or an automatic grinder: the choice is yours. Manual grinders are much cheaper than automatic grinders, but they also require a lot more elbow grease!

Still, there’s a lot of satisfaction to be derived from grinding by hand.

One way to avoid needing a separate grinder is to use a super automatic machine, which will have a grinder built in. You simply put coffee beans in the hopper and the machine will take care of the rest.

Of course, super automatic espresso machines are not cheap, so if you’re on a tight budget, an inexpensive espresso machine and a manual grinder will do the job very well.

4. Demitasse cups

For the full espresso experience, you want to enjoy the drink in proper demitasse cups. Demitasse cups are special espresso cups that are just the right size to enjoy a shot.

Many manufacturers like to view their demitasse cups as an art form and you’ll be able to find lots of unique designs to match your taste.

5. Milk pitcher

A metal milk pitcher is another important component to have for making cappuccinos and lattes, or really any drinks that require steamed milk.

While you can steam directly in a mug, steaming in a proper jug allows greater control over the desired consistency of the froth, and most importantly, it allows you to control the pour so you can add the velvety milk first followed by the frothy milk on top.

That’s how baristas are able to make latte art!

6. Microfiber cloth

Espresso makers can get messy, since a few stray drops will fall in the drip tray and if you steam milk, the frothing wand will become dirty.

The best time to clean the frothing wand is immediately after using it, so having microfiber cloth around lets you clean the machine right away.

Not cleaning soon enough will end up with milk solids clogging up the steam wand and your machine will stop working the way it should.

For best results, shoot out a burst of steam into the air right after frothing, and wipe down the wand with a microber cloth while the steam wand is still hot.

7. Tamping mat

Tamping mats are specially designed to protect your countertop from the tamper and your tamper from the countertop.

It also provides some cushioning for when you tamp down, so you’re not met with a hard surface providing resistance.

8. Descaling solution

You want to pick up some descaling solution to keep your espresso maker running in great shape. Over time, scale can build up inside the machine and cause the pipes to clog up.

Worse, residual water in the machine can become a breeding ground for bacteria, so flushing your machine every so often with descaling solution will help keep your pipes free from scale and bacteria.

Once you’ve flushed the machine with descaling solution, just run a couple of cycles with plain water to get the taste of the descaling solution out.

You can use pre-made solutions or even make your own at home by diluting citric acid, lemon juice, or vinegar in water.

9. Knock box

Having a knock box is the sign of a true barista. Once you brew your espresso shot, you need some place to knock out the grounds from the portafilter.

Check out our favorite knock boxes here.

Last update on 2020-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About Shabbir

Shabbir is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee In My Veins. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.

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