There are some optional accessories you can add to your home set up if you have the money or are obsessed with getting the best possible extraction and want to take your coffee game to the next level. However, some accessories are just not necessary and overly expensive.
Acaia are like the Apple of precision scales, not only are they waterproof (and coffee proof) but they are stunningly designed with a very simple interface that allows you to set different modes depending on your needs. However, they are extremely expensive ($200+AUD) and if you are just wanting a set of scales to measure at a tenth of a gram, a simple $20 set will be fine.
Hario and Brewista make very good scales that are relatively cheap but even the Coffee Gear and Chinese rip-offs are good too.
Beginner: Digital Coffee Scale with Timer ($26AUD)
Ryd Recommends: Acaia Pearl (~$140AUD).
Naked Portafilters are great at being able to see what’s going on in your extraction. It gives you a direct line of sight to the underside of your basket so you can see which areas are under extracting and which are over extracting. Careful to not get too carried away with watching it because you can often see TOO much – not every extraction will run perfectly but will still taste good. It’s a double-edged sword but I still recommend people get one. Plus, it’s great for videos on social media!
Ryd Recommends: Pesado Stainless LM/E61 Naked Portafilter (~$150AUD)
Precision Dispersion Screens
These are great if you want to perfect your extraction. I’ve noticed a huge difference when it comes to extracting espresso through a precision screen. It distributes the water evenly across the top of the puck and gives you a flawless pour.
Ryd Recommends: IMS teflon coated screens – they seem to be the best at creating an even water flow. Make sure you get the right one for your specific machine.
A thermometer is very useful when you’re first learning to steam milk. It’s quite difficult to tell by ear how hot your milk is on the first go. Until you can get the hang of it, using a thermometer will ensure you don’t overheat your milk.
Ryd Recommends: Rhino Analogue Thermometer ($14AUD).
This really is extreme, however, if you have purchased a home La Marzocco or a Kees van der Westen machine (or any other high-end machine) then installing a Reverse Osmosis water filtration is essential to the longevity of the machine. These high-end machines are very precise and the tiniest bit of scale or calcification can block up the water inlets and cause you massive problems. Plus, the coffee just tastes that much better if you have RO water.
Distribution tools – OCD / Chisel
I don’t recommend these products because they don’t really add much value for their extreme cost. They cost as much as a precision tamper and I’ve experimented with them a lot and I cannot say they add a huge amount of benefit. The idea is to evenly distribute the grinds in the basket but if you just learn how to distribute the grinds as it pours into your basket, you won’t need to spend the money on a tool. However, if you really love hand-crafted coffee tools like me, check out the range of timber chisels at Australian Designer Pullman.
- You don’t need the most expensive and fanciest equipment to make good coffee at home! There are plenty of affordable options that will allow you to make delicious coffee at home without breaking the bank.
- Set a budget and stick to it!
- There are plenty of optional accessories that can help improve your home set up and the quality of coffee you make, but there are also a lot of unnecessary items out there that you just don’t need. Have a good think before purchasing any accessories and make sure you’ll definitely use them before breaking the bank on them.