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The best espresso machines for the home barista

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The best espresso machines for the home barista

There’s always room to up your game, and there are quite a few additional tools that can help you make the best espresso possible. These are all tools that you would use before the beer, setting the stage for the perfect extraction.

Fellow Atmos Coffee Bean Container ($40): A vacuum container is a great way to store coffee beans. By emptying the chamber of all air every time you close it, Fellow Atmos slows down the degradation of all those tasty oils and chemicals inside your freshly roasted beans.

Oxo Conical Burr Grinder ($100): This is one of our top picks in our guide to the best coffee grinders and is a good choice for espresso. Espresso requires a fine, consistent grind, such as can easily be obtained with a burr grinder. Just be sure to get in there and give your burrs a once-in-a-while look—maintenance the Oxo makes easy, with a bean container that separates without a problem.

Bottomless portafilter ($50): Nothing will enhance your experience of watching an espresso being made like a bottomless portafilter. Not because it will make your coffee. better; it will you better by making yourself more aware of your mistakes and inconsistencies. Bottomless portafilters are delicate, and when you don’t grind well or have over-tamped the grounds, the bottomless portafilter lets you see it as the espresso coats the bottom of the filter and pours into the cup. However, be sure to double-check the circumference of your espresso machine’s group head (the place where the filter sits). There are several standard sizes, so be sure to order the correct one. The most common are 53mm and 58mm, and almost all bottomless portafilters come in each of these sizes.

Cream distributor and tamper ($39): Once you place the grounds in the portafilter, the next step is to tamp them well and evenly. You want to use between 30 and 40 pounds of pressure, and while you can use a scale to determine exactly how it feels, I think it’s best to just press with your upper body, then take a shot and see how it went. If it’s too bitter, you tamp it down too much; If it’s too watery, you didn’t tamp it enough. A distributor (also called a leveler) makes it easy to get an even surface for tamping, and this one has a tamper on one side and a distributor on the other so you can level the kernels, then flip this tool over and give them a good whack. Just make sure you get one that fits the circumference of your machine’s portafilter!

Duralex Picardie Shot Glasses, Set of Six ($19): These are my favorite shot glasses overall, but they also make great espresso glasses: tall and narrow enough to allow a wonderfully airy crema to form on top, and they’re made of tempered glass so they can withstand heat . They’re also great for serving smaller drinks like macchiatos: a shot of espresso with a dollop of foam on top.

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