Stepping up to a brand new machine can be both exhilarating and also slightly intimidating. When it comes to operating your shiny new equipment, if you haven’t come from a barista background (or even if you have), the first experiences can be exciting, challenging and even frustrating. However, with a little practice, and the help of a few accessories and tools, the experience can be one you’ll look forward to every day.
Choosing the right espresso machine is an important decision, but what about the accessories? Here is a short list of must-haves. Not required of course, but they certainly are the icing on the cake.
Coffee is precise. Finding the right ratio between coffee and water and being able to repeat that result every time is a difficult thing to do, especially without a scale. The Acaia Lunar is our favorite here at Clive. It's on the pricier side, but well worth it. For something a bit more affordable, check out the Bonavita BV2100SC Auto Tare
First, finding a tamper that feels just right in your hand and aids in achieving that nice consistent tamp is key to great espresso.
For a nice introductory tamper at a great price, we like the Rattleware tamper which has a heavy duty stainless steel base that will cover the coffee and sit flush with the sides of the portafilter basket. The black round handle is smooth and the combination of steel with black matches most of our favorite machines, such as the Profitec Pro 700 and Pro 300, the Quick Mill LUCCA M58, or the Rocket R58.
If you are looking for something a little more unique, the handcrafted Clive Tamper offers a variety of gorgeous woods that can be matched to our custom wood side panels for the LUCCA A53 and LUCCA M58 espresso machines. If you aren’t ready to add a full panel set, the Clive Tamper offers just a touch of wood to contrast with the gleaming stainless and chrome.
Next, having a clean, dedicated space for perfecting your tamp can be a big help. We love the grippy and sound damped surface created by the Cafelat Corner Tamping Mat, because it also protects your counter and portafilter, keeps excess grounds in a central spot, and is easily removable for a quick rinse in the sink.
Next, the stainless steel Motta Knock Box is a beautiful solution for removing spent grounds from the portafilter on a sound damping rubber surface (carefully protecting your portafilter from scratching), while also matching the polished stainless steel on your machine.
When it comes to serving that fine shot of espresso, a quality demitasse, cappuccino or latte cup can further enhance the experience. We love Ancap cups for their classic white simplicity and styling, and you can't go wrong with the Fellow Junior 2.3 oz cups. In matte black or white with a stunning copper bottom, these are ones you won’t want to put away in your cabinet.
Rattleware and Cafelat offer affordable 12oz and 20oz frothing pitchers made with high-quality stainless steel, and a nice narrow spout that offers the control needed to pour proper latte art such as hearts, rosettas and tulips with silky smooth microfoam.
Lastly, we recommend picking up a bottle of Urnex Full Circle Espresso Cleaner and any of our grouphead brushes. Cleaning the grouphead will ensure your machine is well cared for and that you will continue to have optimal flavor for years to come. The Pallo Coffeetool Three In One Group Brush also includes a poker to keep your steam wand clean.