Starting the day right involves starting it with the right kind of drink. The art of coffee making has been greatly enhanced with the dawn of espresso machines. It has opened up endless possibilities of variations on your typical cup of Joe.
Home espresso makers have opened up the world of coffee making to match the personality and specific preferences of every person’s taste buds. Every coffee cup has a soul mate: the smooth creamy latte for the light caffeine drinkers, Cappuccino for the sweet toothed ones or a shot of pure espresso for the hardcore coffee enthusiasts.
Whatever the case may be, the right tools and equipment must be readily available in order to make that perfect cup of personalized elixir. Coffee aficionados must familiarize themselves with the proper tools of the trade.
There are quite a number of tools that are necessary when it comes to getting the most out of one’s espresso machine. Let’s take a look at the five espresso accessories we can’t live without.
If you’ve ever played with wooden stamps during art class, then you could see the resemblance of a “stamper” with a tamper. A tamper is used to pack or push the ground coffee into the basket of an espresso machine.
If the coffee grounds were not packed or pushed together with a tamper, the water would flow through unevenly which would affect the taste of the crema, the brownish foam that makes espresso an espresso.
Tampers come in many different forms and designs. The difference may be noted by the shape or form of the base as flat, rounded or inverted. Most espresso machines would already come with it’s own tamper, usually made of plastic. We recommend buying a Tamper that has a heavier metal base and stronger handle (wood, plastic or metal). Lastly, the most important thing to consider when purchasing a tamper is to make sure that it fits your espresso machine well.
Frothing Pitchers are used to pour froth into your lattes, cappuccinos and mochaccinos. This is also the tool used to make the fancy latte art.
Most frothing pitchers that come with the espresso machine are bell shaped with a small pointed spout. This kind of build isn’t suited to its purpose and would often be useless in making latte art without a spoon.
A good frothing pitcher would be bell shaped and have a tapered nose style. It’s size would depend on the number of drinks you plan to make. A 12 oz pitcher would be able to work with two macchiatos, one cappuccino or a small latte. A 16 oz one would be good for 2 cappuccinos and the 20-24 oz pitcher would be able to work on multiple cappuccinos or larger lattes.
The temperature of the coffee drink is just as important as the taste itself. The subtle heat adds to the punch of any good cup of coffee, cappuccino or latte.
Once upon a time, people used needle thermometers (used for meat) to check the temperature of their drinks. Nowadays, there are specially designed cappuccino or milk thermometers that do this job for you. It is important to have a reliable thermometer like the Norpro 5981 Espresso Thermometer that gives accurate readouts in order to make sure that you calibrate the machine to produce the right hotness/coldness for your drink.
The knock box is a simple container used to hold discarded coffee grinds. It’s very helpful in the process of making espresso since it makes the routine faster.
Some important tips to remember when buying a good knock box would be to check its: durability, height and size, cleaning options and price. An excellent choice for any espresso enthusiast would be the Dreamfarm Grindenstein Espresso Stein.
The purpose of serving espresso or cappuccino in a proper cup doesn’t just end in it’s aesthetic value.
The form or shape of the cup affect the way the coffee tastes. Ideally the interior shape of a cup should be bowl shaped instead of the flat or dipping kind.
The material or thickness of the cup is another matter. Physics would tell you that the thicker the material, the longer the heat stays in the liquid it holds or contains. Porcelain would be a perfect material to use but there is also the option of using double walled borosilicate glass.
Coffee making is an art and a science. The tools you use determine the cup of coffee you will have and the kind of day that will follow.
“Okay” tools will make “Okay” coffee, thus starting your day in an “Okay” way.
“Great” tools will make “Great” coffee, giving you a “Great” day.
We’ll choose the latter. I’m sure you would too.