With the starter espresso machines on the market today, it’s easier than ever to start pulling solid espresso shots at home. While these machines typically come with all the gear you need to pull shots and steam milk, the included accessories can limit the quality of your drinks.
When we first got our Breville Bambino espresso machine, the shots were alright, but definitely had room to improve - even with our high-quality, locally-roasted coffee. While researching upgrades, I wanted premium gear that would last a long time, have a noticable impact on the quality and consistency of our shots, and look nice and cohesive on the counter.
In This List:
Starter espresso machines usually come with dual-wall pressurized filter baskets. While these can help improve shots that use coarser grounds, it’s harder to properly extract your coffee.
If you’re looking for a new portafilter, a great starting point is a bottomless portafilter. Bottomless portafilters allow you to see exactly what’s happening while pulling your shots. That way, if you notice something’s not right - like channeling - you can fix it right away.
We landed on the Normcore 54mm Bottomless Portafilter for its premium materials and sleek look.
Magnetic Dosing Funnel
If you’re looking to streamline your espresso workflow and add a touch of convenience to your routine, a magnetic dosing funnel is a must-have accessory. The Normcore Mangetic Dosing Funnel stands out for its strong magnets, which hold the funnel securely onto the portafilter and prevent spills while you’re loading and distributing the coffee.
Thanks to its compact size and durable construction, this dosing funnel is an easy addition to any espresso setup and will last you a lifetime. So if you’re looking to make your espresso routine easier and more enjoyable, the Normcore Dosing Funnel is a must-consider option.
WDT Distribution Tool
The Weiss Distribution Technique, or WDT, is fairly new in the world of espresso - it was first discussed on coffee forums in 2005. Since then, it’s grown in popularity to become a key component in improving the consistency of your espresso shots.
So what is WDT? All it does is ensure your coffee is clump-free and perfectly distributed in the basket before tamping. Perfect distribution leads to more even, and better, extraction. I noticed an immediate improvement in the quality of my shots once I started using a WDT tool.
While WDT tools are quite simple, and can even be made at home with just a couple of items, I wanted something that would last many years, and match my kitchen’s asthetic.
Some WDT tools come with an included stand, but I preferred the simplicity of Normcore’s WDT tool. Instead of a stand, this tool has a magnet that can be a great option for storage.
Now that the puck is properly distributed, it’s time to tamp!
The stubby plastic tampers included with most starter espresso machines are neither ergonomic nor effective in tamping espresso.
Not only are higher quality tampers more comfortable to use, but they also enable more level and consistent tamps.
We landed on a simple (and beautiful!) Italian-made wooden tamper.
Rounding out the list is a rubberized tamping mat. Tamping mats like the watchget help stabilize the portafilter during tamping and prevents damage to your countertops. I was pleasantly surprised with just how thick and sturdy this mat is.
Its compact size makes it easy to store when not in use, while its neutral design allows it to blend seamlessly into any kitchen. If you’re looking for an affordable and practical solution to help improve your espresso-making process, a tamping mat is a great option to consider.
While higher-end accessories aren’t necessarily a requirement for brewing good espresso at home, they certainly can make your workflow more enjoyable and quicker. The tools in this list have helped me improve my espresso, and I can’t recommend them enough.
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