The Only 3 Pieces of Coffee Equipment You Need

The Only 3 Pieces of Coffee Equipment You Need at Home

When you’re trying to make a delicious coffee at home or in the office, it comes down to two things: the beans and the tools/equipment you use. Instagram and Facebook are filled with advertising and well-lit photos of high end coffee machines, speciality milk frothers and grinders that not only grind coffee, they read your fortune and remind you to email back your brother in law. Do they look cool? Yes! Do you want them? Yes! Do you need them… Well, we’re gonna help you figure that out.

We’ve broken down a simple list of the three things you actually need to get a great, cafe style coffee at home. Of course you can go above and beyond this, but at the very least, this is all you need.

 

PART 1. ESPRESSO

The cornerstone of the coffee world; rich and delicious espresso. We have one machine at home and in the office, and it does form the basis of our coffee drinking at CBD.

We have to admit that we’ve been sucked into buying some ridiculous gadgets, some good, some bad, to enhance the experience. But at the end of the day, there’s really only three things you need.

  1. Machine Obviously, it all starts with the machine! It’s easy to get carried away with choosing the perfect espresso machine, but you don’t need to go crazy. Middle of the range espresso machines do the job well and are less expensive than you might think. Here are some of our recommendations. Remember, with machines and grinders you can always sell and move up, so if you’re unsure of where to start, just stick to your budget.
  • $ – Sunbeam Cafe Barista EM500 – $300 – A good quality, basic home machine, it’s easy to clean and a great starting point. Great for beginner home baristas.
  • $$ – Breville BES920 Dual Boiler – $899 – This is the machine we have both in the office and at home. The dual boiler means the steam and water are separate, so you have endless steam at your disposal and perfect temperature for the water. This machine is great for beginners and intermediate experienced baristas.
  • $$$ – Rocket Espresso Giotto – $2999 – If you’re ready to move up, this is a higher range home machine that will definitely look great in the kitchen. This is a machine for advanced home brewers.
  • $$$$ – Kees Van Der Western Speedster – $14790 – OK, we’re fully admitting this one will be forever on our wish list and never in our cart, but we can always dream about this slick looking machine. It’s a commercial machine, meaning you have much more control and will be able to consistently make great coffees, if you’re ready to swallow the price tag too!

 

  1. GrinderWe truly believe that the fresher your grind, the better your coffee will taste. There’s simply no getting around this one, a grinder is a MUST. You don’t have to jump right into a fancy burr grinder at the get go, but if you can’t decide which one is right for you head over to this blog.
  • $ – Bodum Bistro Blade Grinder – $50 – A great place to start for a home setup. If you’re going with a blade, make sure to use the pulse technique when grinding. The pulse technique is where you pick up the grinder and shake it around, while grinding for a few seconds at a time. This avoids shredding the beans closest to the blades and not even touching ones further away.
  • $$ – Breville Smart Grinder Pro – $199 – A fantastic price for a home grinder, which lets you adjust the grind to your machine, this will be the start of your refining and experimenting. A lot of the nuances that come through in a shot of coffee are due to grind size, so the more control you have, the more you will be able to dial in your grind to the perfect size for your machine.
  • $$$ – Mazzer Mini Automatic – $739 – Moving up into the commercial sphere, this Mazzer is a more compact version of their quality grinders. See if you can find one second hand for an even better price.
  1. Tamper On your quest for amazing coffee at home, the first thing you should do is get rid of the plastic “tamper” that comes with your espresso machine. Why? Well, even though it performs the very basic function of a tamper, it won’t give you the coffee you’re after. The secret to a good shot of espresso comes down to a nice even tamp and distribution, and you won’t be getting that with that plastic tamper. Anything with a stainless steel base, and hand-fitting handle is better. Here are some options we recommend:
  • $ – Ebay Basic Tamper – $60 – Your stock standard wooden handled, stainless steel base tamper. Good place to start to learn about levelling and channeling in the puck.
  • $$ – Pullman Nexus Tamper – $160 – We think Pullman is the best in the biz, and their Nexus tamper has customisable base and handle, so you can get one that fits you just right.
  • $$$ – Pullman Customised Barista Tamper – $240 – Up into the commercial tamper sphere, the Barista tamper has more options, including spacers and rubber tops, to make your tamping experience perfect every time.

 

PART 2. NON-ESPRESSO

We know that an espresso machine isn’t for everyone, but luckily there are a number of other ways to brew the perfect cup of coffee. In the last few years we’ve seen filter coffee become cool again, and the humble french press has come out of hiding.

The important thing with home manual brewing is paying attention to every part of the process. Unlike espresso machines with pre-set heating and extraction times, you have more control over whats going on, so keep a little notebook on hand to try and keep track of your brewing methods.

Here are our recommendations for a great brewing set-up at home.

  1. Brewer + Kettle – We’re counting these two things in the same category, as you obviously need hot water to pour into your brewer. There are heaps of levels and options here, you can mix and match wherever you want to create your ideal setup.

Brewer:

  • $ – Bodum Cafeteria French Press – $39 – A classic, we believe every kitchen should have one of these.
  • $ – Aeropress – $39 – Stepping up a little, the Aeropress is a great place to start experimenting with levels of water and coffee, to see the different kinds of brews you can get out of one nifty device.
  • $$ – Chemex – $70 – If you’re really keen to get into the pour-over scene, the Chemex is a classic. It does take a bit of practise though, so you might need to spend a bit of time with it before you get what you want.
  • $$$ – Hario Coffee Press – $179 – This is just a great French Press, if you’ve got the budget, skip the Bodum and go straight onto this.

 

Kettle:

  • FREE – Stove + Pot – Not really recommended, but in a stitch (or camping) this will do!
  • $ – K-Mart Jeanie Kettle – $39 – This kettle is both budget friendly, and comes with an inbuilt temperature gauge. We cannot vouch for the quality though.
  • $$ – Brewista Stovetop Precision Kettle – $80 – This is a great kettle, especially if you’re going into the pour-over coffee world. You will need a thermometer to go with this one.
  • $$$ – Brewista Stout Spout Variable Kettle – $140 – This is basically an electric version of the above kettle, with an inbuilt thermometer.

 

  1. Grinder – No matter what your set-up looks like, a grinder is still going to be an essential part of your at-home coffee experience.
  • $ – Bodum Bistro Blade Grinder – $50 – A great place to start for a home setup. If you’re going with a blade, make sure to use the pulse technique when grinding. The pulse technique is where you pick up the grinder and shake it around, while grinding for a few seconds at a time. This avoids shredding the beans closest to the blades and not even touching ones further away.
  • $$ – Breville Smart Grinder Pro – $199 – A fantastic price for a home grinder, which lets you adjust the grind to your machine, this will be the start of your refining and experimenting. A lot of the nuances that come through in a shot of coffee are due to grind size, so the more control you have, the more you will be able to dial in your grind to the perfect size for your machine.
  • $$$ – Mazzer Mini Automatic – $739 – Moving up into the commercial sphere, this Mazzer is a more compact version of their quality grinders. See if you can find one second hand for an even better price.

 

  1. Scales – The final piece of the puzzle are the scales. When manual brewing at home, getting your ratios right is the only way to improve and experiment, to find the best way to extract the cup you want.
  • $ – K-Mart Digital Kitchen Sales – $12 – You can get away with spending as little as $12 on some scales, though again, we can’t vouch for the quality of these ones.
  • $$ – Hario Drip Scales – $75 – These scales measure both weight and time, meaning more control over your process.
  • $$$ – Acacia Lunar Scales – $319 – Although pricey, these scales are the best you can get. They look great, function perfectly and will definitely take your coffees to the next level.

 

So there you have it! All you need to get a fantastic, cafe quality coffee at home.

OH, and you definitely need to have great coffee too! Lucky we have that covered for you! Take a look at our most popular coffees here.

And don’t forget a 1KG bag of coffee is up for grabs this month for the person with the most referrals. Learn more about this here.

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