An espresso machine and quality grinder are the backbones of your home espresso experience, but sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. Finding your favorite espresso machine accessories and barista tools can level up your brewing and make your morning coffee ritual that much more enjoyable. Whether you’re pulling espresso shots or perfecting your pour over, these are some of our favorite barista tools to help you love the product as well as the process.
Sure, you can eyeball it and come out with a great shot of espresso sometimes. The trouble is reproducing that great shot the next day. For consistently great coffee, a specialized scale is a must-have coffee tool. Regular kitchen scales often aren’t sensitive enough for espresso since a fraction of a gram of water or espresso grounds can make all the difference when pulling your shots. The TimeMore and Brewista Smart Scale is sensitive and accurate enough for espresso and comes in under $100.
Before you even think about brewing, think about your coffee itself, specifically how it’s stored. Vacuum-sealed canisters like the Atmos Vacuum Container are the best way to protect your coffee beans from moisture, air, and heat to preserve that freshly-roasted taste.
A smooth, even bed of espresso ground is key to pulling a balanced, evenly-extracted shot. To get there, you’ll need a tamper. Your home espresso machine likely came with one, but many baristas enjoy finding their “Goldilocks” tamper – the one that fits just right in their hands, looks great, has a nice weight, and, of course, helps them achieve the perfect tamp. From polished wood finishes to sleek stainless steel to fancy pressure-regulating tampers, you have a lot of options. Just make sure the one you choose fits your portafilter’s diameter.
Knock boxes are small countertop containers that house your used espresso grounds until you dump them in the trash. They usually have some rubber coating on the side that dampens noise and protects your portafilters as you knock them against the edge of the box. While they are essential for keeping coffee shops tidy, they’re not strictly necessary for the home barista. Even if you make several espresso shots throughout the day, you can knock your espresso pucks directly into your trash can, placing a hand towel over the edge to protect your portafilter from scratches and dents. Still, if you don’t want your morning coffee ritual to involve standing over a stinky trash can, a knock box can be an excellent addition to your coffee setup. The Breville Knockbox Mini is a great size for home use.
Normally, we wouldn’t consider a cup as a proper barista tool – with one notable exception. Just as the correct brewing temperature is essential to making a great shot of espresso, the right drinking temperature impacts the enjoyment of the final product and the flavors you detect.
For precise temperature control through your entire cup, the Ember Mug² offers customizable temperature settings and gentle heating through convection currents. In other words, it will hold your drink at your preferred temperature, but won’t overheat it, heat it unevenly, or negatively impact the taste. Besides, with all of that beautiful equipment and perfect latte art, it’d be a shame to pour into a cup that wasn’t equally as beautiful.