If you want to make the very best tasting coffee at home it is necessary to invest in the best coffee accessories.
The reason you need some extra home barista tools is that the quality of your coffee depends not only on the coffee beans and the coffee maker used, but also on the home coffee accessories you have available.
Whether you want to pull the perfect espresso each morning, preset an automatic drip at night or brew the cleanest tasting pour over, some good quality home barista accessories will certainly improve the quality of your brew.
In this guide to the best coffee machine accessories we cover everything from the must have coffee accessories every home barista needs to the best barista tools for each style of brewing.
We explain why they are essential coffee accessories as well as how to use them and what to look for when purchasing each one.
So let’s get into it and run through the best coffee tools for the home barista.
What Are The Best Coffee Accessories For Home Baristas?
A quick search on the term coffee accessories demonstrates the potential for overwhelm when searching for the best coffee accessories.
There are thousands of ways you can spend your money on cool coffee gadgets. But what are the must have coffee accessories you need to invest in to make café quality coffee at home?
While there are some specialty coffee accessories every home barista should own (we cover these below), the best coffee making equipment for your home coffee set up will depend a bit on the coffee brewing method/s you use at home.
The best espresso accessories will be different to the best Chemex coffee accessories.
So in this article we have broken down the must have coffee making accessories for each of the most popular coffee brewing methods.
Plus, we couldn’t help but share some not so essential but worthy coffee tools and accessories that will take your home coffee making skills from good to great.
To help you prioritise what is really important, at the beginning of each section we summarise the coffee products and explain whether they are must have, good to have or nice to have coffee making tools.
Essential Coffee Machine Accessories
First up let’s cover the essential coffee machine accessories every home barista needs to invest in to make café quality coffee at home.
These are the essential coffee accessories for virtually everyone who brews coffee at home, regardless of whether you use an automatic drip, french press, pour-over, cold brew coffee maker, espresso machine or something else.
And we are pretty comfortable stating that these coffee items are guaranteed to improve the taste of your home brewed coffee.
|Essential Coffee Item||Essential?|
|Coffee Grinder||Must have|
|Coffee Scale||Good to have|
|Coffee Storage Container||Must have|
|Coffee Measuring Spoon||Nice to have|
If you currently purchase ground coffee, investing in a coffee grinder will have the greatest impact on your brews.
Grinding beans immediately before brewing releases the compounds that make coffee so aromatic and flavourful just before the grounds come into contact with water.
This reduces how many of those compounds dissipate into the air and increases how many get extracted by water.
The result is a more aromatic and complex cup of coffee, and even people who don’t normally drink coffee will notice the difference.
Whereas blade coffee grinders chop beans into unevenly sized pieces like a food processor, burr grinders crush beans between two calibrated burr wheels.
This ensures a much more even grind, and an even grind provides for a more even extraction.
Most burr grinders cost more than blade ones, but this isn’t a coffee accessory that you want to skimp on.
Purchase the best quality burr grinder that you’re able to – and be sure it is suitable for your preferred brewing method.
Volumetric measurements can’t adjust for variances in density, bean size or grind size. But coffee weight can be properly measured regardless of these variables.
It’s also beneficial if a scale can be used for dosing coffee and for measuring your brew as it extracts, as this allows you to ensure you have the right coffee to water ratio.
If you make espresso, the coffee scale should be able to measure individual grams at low weights as espresso is made with only a few grams of coffee. An ideal scale will have tenths of grams.
Note that a scale that can be used to weigh espresso as shots are pulling must have a thin profile to fit under the portafilter with your cup.
Coffee Storage Container
Regardless of whether you buy whole or ground coffee, you should use a good quality coffee storage container to store your coffee.
Improperly storing coffee will allow beans to degrade faster, losing those characteristics that you chose the beans for.
The best coffee storage containers are opaque, have a good seal and have one-way valves.
The valve allows carbon dioxide to escape as freshly roasted beans degas, but it prevents air from getting at the beans. Excess exposure to oxygen is primarily what causes beans to lose their characteristics faster.
There are many good coffee storage containers, and aesthetics certainly should be a consideration.
You can sometimes even re-use the bags that beans come in if you’re on a budget. The bags have all three checkmarks of a good container — opaque, one-way valve and airtight.
Coffee Measuring Spoon
Measuring coffee with a scale is more accurate than using a scoop as the density and size of bean varies. However a coffee measuring spoon is easier to use, and will work well for most basic home brewing methods.
Despite what brewing recipes imply, there’s no standard size for coffee scoops. Your brew ratio will vary if you use different scoops but the same recipe.
Finding a specific coffee measuring spoon isn’t as important as using the same one each time you brew. A regular tablespoon will even work alright.
By using the same scoop, you can get used to what the best ratio of coffee to water is with that spoon.
Home Barista Accessories For Espresso Machines
Home barista coffee accessories are needed if you have an espresso machine, for it’s impossible to make espresso without certain accessories for coffee machines.
Some of these essential espresso accessories are also helpful with other brew methods, such as French press coffee and pour-over.
|Espresso Coffee Item||Essential?|
|Espresso Coffee Grinder||Must have|
|Coffee Tamper||Must have|
|Milk Frothing Jug||Must have|
|Milk Thermometer||Good to have|
|Coffee Knock Box||Good to have|
|Tamper Mat||Good to have|
|Cleaning and Descaling Tablets||Must have|
|Demitasse Cup||Nice to have|
|Wiping Cloth||Must have|
|Cleaning Brush||Nice to have|
Espresso Coffee Grinder
A coffee grinder is in our list of essential coffee accessories in the section above, but if you own an espresso machine, it is important to invest in a coffee grinder designed for fine espresso grinds.
An espresso grinder has more precise controls for fine grinding than a standard coffee grinder does.
The added precision allows you to better dial in espresso and generates a more consistent fine grind size. These together give you more control over pulling and better tasting shots.
As is the case with brewed filter coffee, a grinder should be your next major investment after you have a machine.
Purchase the highest quality espresso grinder that you can afford. That’ll preferably be a stepless or microstep grinder that permits truly minute adjustments.
Also consider a manual espresso grinder if you’re on a budget.
High quality manual grinders can produce better grinds than electric grinders at the same price point.
You’ll have to spend a few minutes hand-grinding beans each time you pull espresso, but the quality/convenience trade-off might be worth making.
Many home baristas end up with both a manual and electric grinder in their coffee bar:
- An electric one suited to their day to day brews
- Plus a manual grinder for the other brews they make less frequently.
Coffee tampers are essential barista tools to press the espresso grounds down into the basket before brewing. Press evenly and firmly down, and you should have a good puck of grounds to brew.
Most portafilters are 58 millimetres, but home espresso machines range from 49 to 63 millimetres.
Your coffee tamper has to be the same size as your portafilter/basket. A tamper that’s too large won’t fit, and one that’s too small won’t compress all of the grounds evenly.
Some espresso machines come with a coffee tamper – most Breville machines for example include a tamper in their pack of Breville coffee machine accessories.
However many home baristas make a higher quality tamper one of their first accessory upgrades and they are a popular coffee gift for coffee lovers.
The hefty metal bottom and decorated handles of a quality tamper are certainly nice to have, but an inexpensive one will also work so long as it’s the right size and not too flimsy.
This is a small metal pitcher, and many models have a slight bowl shape that makes swirling milk easier. One with a little spout will make pouring latte art easier.
As for size, choose a pitcher that will hold however much milk you usually steam at once.
A smaller pitcher is good if you make one latte at a time, whereas a larger one is needed if you simultaneously make multiple lattes or cappuccinos.
If you need a larger pitcher, also make sure the pitcher will still fit in your machine’s steaming area. Some home coffee machines don’t have the space that commercial espresso machines do.
Milk frothing jugs are not expensive, so you may find it worthwhile to buy one of each size to suit different occasions.
A milk thermometer is a good to have barista tool, particularly for home barista beginners.
A milk thermometer will improve the quality of your steamed milk.
Milk has a natural sweetness when steamed to ~60°C (~140°F), and it scalds above ~75°C (~170°F). A thermometer will help you steam to this temperature range each time.
It’s hard to do if you’re estimating temperature by how warm the pitcher/milk feels, particularly when just starting out learning how to froth milk.
The nicer thermometers have a clip that attaches to the steaming pitcher which helps keep it out of the way when you are frothing.
Just don’t use a meat or candy thermometer, as it’ll be too large and won’t record the temperature fast enough.
Coffee Knock Box
A coffee knock box may not seem that essential, but it makes clean-up so much easier after pulling an espresso shot.
Simply knock the portafilter against the box, and the puck of used coffee grounds will fall into the box. You can then empty the box once it’s full.
It’s possible to get away with scraping grounds into a garbage can, preferably with something non-metal since a spoon is liable to scratch the basket. But you may soon tire of doing this and a knock box is more convenient and much less messy.
Most home espresso setups work best with a smaller knock box. There’s no need for a commercial-size one at home, and a smaller one will take up less counter space.
Coffee Tamper Mat
A coffee tamper mat provides a cushioned non slip surface to tamp on and may have a little holder for the portafilter.
Some are only mats, while others are small boxes that have storage too.
A mat is helpful but not absolutely necessary. It can help protect your counter from scratches, chips and dents though.
Espresso Machine Cleaning Tablets
Coffee oils and mineral deposits will eventually build up in your espresso machine, and this can happen quite quickly if you have hard water.
So to keep your espresso machine in tip top shape for years to come, cleaning tablets and descalers are must have coffee accessories.
Mineral deposits don’t only alter your espresso’s taste, but they can actually be dangerous if they block your machine’s pressure release valve.
Espresso machine descalers remove deposits from your machine. The tablet or powder will dissolve in the first run-though, and they’re not toxic if a little remains in the machine.
You should generally run a descaler through your machine every few months, more frequently in hard water areas.
Specifically look for descaling tablets, as these are designed to remove mineral deposits. We review all the best coffee descalers here.
Other types of espresso machine cleaning tablets clean away superficial coffee oils in the portafilter and group head.
Each espresso machine will outline how frequently to clean it, so check your manual for more information.
If you tend to use very large coffee mugs or your espresso machine has low clearance below the portafilter, you may want at least one demitasse cup for pulling espresso into.
You can alternatively find a mini pitcher that’s designed for espresso. Getting a demitasse cup (or set) eliminates the need for a pitcher and a cup, though. The cup can do double duty.
Most demitasse cups will be small enough to fit under a portafilter, so selecting one is purely an aesthetic choice.
After steaming milk, you need to flush and wipe down the steam wand, every time.
Dried milk is not something you want on or in your steam wand impacting the flavour of your milk and shortening the life of your machine.
Any damp cloth will work for wiping down the wand.
You can purchase something special, or you can use a dedicated washcloth or kitchen towel. Just make sure there isn’t chicken grease on whatever cloth you use.
Espresso Machine Cleaning Brush
Coffee grounds will inevitably get on your machine and counter, especially considering how fine espresso-ground coffee is.
An espresso machine cleaning brush makes wiping away these grounds easy. They are also handy for cleaning out your coffee grinder and tamper mat.
You don’t need anything fancy for an espresso cleaning brush. Many companies make inexpensive brushes that work well. Alternatively, a small kids’ paint brush will work just as well.
The Best Coffee Tools For Nespresso Machine Owners
|Nespresso Coffee Item||Essential?|
|Milk Frother||Good to have|
|Coffee Pod Holder||Nice to have|
A milk frother allows you to create foamed milk without an espresso machine’s steam wand. They come in electric or handheld versions.
The milk generally won’t have the textured creamy microfoam that a powerful machine steam wand can achieve, but the foam is sufficient for lattes cappuccinos, cold foam for iced coffee and other milky drinks. See our milk frother reviews here.
To use a handheld milk frother, warm milk on the stove or in the microwave and then place the frother in the milk.
Stop frothing when you’re happy with the quantity of bubbly foam. If you are new to milk frothing, see our full guide on how to froth milk.
Coffee Pod Holder
Unless you are using reusable coffee pods, a coffee pod holder is nice to have if you use a Nespresso or other pod coffee machine.
While you can store pods in their boxes, a holder looks nicer and is easier to use. Finding a specific type of pod is easier if it’s in a holder rather than mixed-up in a box.
Most coffee pods are a standard size, and any holder that’s designed for them should be the standard size. Pick one that works with your space and decor.
The Best Pour Over Coffee Accessories
Manually brewing with a pour-over or some other advanced technique requires specialized equipment.
You’ll likely need or want the following pour over coffee supplies if you brew by hand.
|Pour Over Coffee Item||Essential?|
|Pour Over Coffee Scale||Must have|
|Gooseneck Kettle||Good to have|
|Coffee Dripper Stand||Good to have|
|Coffee Paddle||Nice to have|
Pour Over Coffee Scale
Weighing coffee is the only way to accurately and consistently measure it, and accuracy is particularly important when manually brewing.
Except, one for manual brewing must be able to measure hundreds of grams and large enough to hold the coffee maker too. It doesn’t need to have a thin profile like one needed for espresso.
Most importantly it should include a pour over timer to help you make perfect pour over at home.
The trademark long and think spout of a gooseneck kettle makes precise pouring possible and for this reason are essential coffee bar accessories for lovers of pour over coffees.
Precise pouring is essential when brewing manual pour-overs, for pouring directly impacts flavor. Water must be poured in the proper pattern and at the proper rate, in order to get the desired extraction.
Many gooseneck kettles have temperature control, which is nice but not absolutely necessary.
If you don’t get a model with temperature, you can use boiling water or water that cools for 30 seconds after boiling.
Which temperature setting is preferable depends on your personal brew philosophy, or you can get a temperature-control kettle.
Coffee Dripper Stand
If you don’t use a Chemex, Kalita Wave or Hario V60, there’s a good chance that your chosen pour-over requires a coffee dripper stand.
The stand holds your coffee filter above where the mug goes, thus providing the setup to brew with a pour-over maker that doesn’t stand on its own.
Most coffee dripper stands are compatible with most pour-over makers that don’t stand up by themselves. Choose a stand that’s tall enough for your mug and that you like the look of.
Coffee Paddle / Stirrer
A coffee paddle or stirrer is used to submerge coffee grounds and break the crust that forms when brewing.
They are essential coffee brewing accessories when brewing with a syphon coffee maker, as this type of coffee maker requires immersion but doesn’t have a built-in feature that submerges grounds.
Some home baristas also use a paddle to break crust/submerge grounds when brewing by French press, although the screen on a press can be used to do this.
Wooden coffee paddles have a certain elegance, and any wooden paddle will work well so long as it’s not too wide for your coffee maker (most aren’t). You can also use a butter knife if you don’t have or lose your paddle.
The Best Coffee Drinking Accessories
We couldn’t cover all the best coffee gear for coffee lovers without including the best coffee drinking accessories to help you enjoy your brewed coffees in style (or to gift to the coffee lover in your life).
What drinking accessories you’ll want depends on what type of coffee you enjoy but we cover some of the top coffee lover accessories here.
|Coffee Drinkers Item||Essential?|
|Reusable Coffee Cup||Must have|
|Travel Coffee Mug||Good to have|
|Latte And Espresso Glasses||Good to have|
|Coffee Cup Warmer||Nice to have|
Reusable Coffee Cup
A reusable coffee cup is essential if you want to responsibly enjoy coffee.
Disposable cups contribute an enormous amount of waste to the environment. Plastic often doesn’t get recycled, and paper coffee cups have a protective film that renders them non-recyclable.
Make sure you have a reusable coffee cup that’s good for home and the office. You can also use a travel mug (see below) when you are on the go, if you prefer.
Travel Coffee Mug
Every coffee drinker needs a travel coffee mug for when they’re on the go. Look for a travel mug that holds however much coffee you like to drink at once, and pay special attention to its construction.
Look for double-walled stainless steel for the best insulation and a good lid that fully closes to prevent spills.
Also check the diameter will fit in your car cup holder – as some travel mugs are too wide and that is just annoying!
We share some of the best travel coffee mugs Australia has on the market here.
Latte and Espresso Glasses
If you enjoy making lattes and espresso at home, consider investing in some cafe style cups and glasses.
Some people like the look of latte glasses, but others find the milk lines that form unattractive. If you like latte glasses and have an espresso maker, get a set for your own use and to impress friends when they visit.
Latte glasses should be 8 to 12 ounces so they hold a latte. Espresso demitasse cups are smaller and hold just 2 – 3 ounces of liquid.
Coffee Cup Warmer
A coffee cup warmer is not an essential buy, but may be useful if you like to drink coffee throughout the day and want it kept hot (or warm).
A warmer will distort coffee’s flavour by changing the acid makeup within a cup of brewed coffee, though.
Another alternative is an insulated carafe which will also keep coffee warm, and won’t change the acids or flavour either.
If you do want a coffee cup warmer, look for one that has a safety shutoff.
The best models have a weight sensor that can tell if a mug is on the warmer, and they’ll automatically turn off if no mug is on them for a certain period of time.
Your Essential Coffee Accessories Questions Answered
What Tools Do I Need To Make Espresso At Home?
To make good espresso at home you will need at a minimum a home espresso machine, coffee grinder, freshly roasted coffee beans, milk jug and a coffee tamper. Other useful espresso machine accessories include a coffee knock box, tamper mat and milk thermometer.
What Do I Need To Make Pour Over Coffee At Home?
To make pour over coffee at home you will need a pour over coffee maker, coffee beans, a coffee scale, gooseneck kettle and a coffee grinder. Some pour over coffee makers will also require paper filters.
What Is The Best Tool To Make Coffee At Home?
Apart from a good quality coffee machine, the best coffee tool to invest in to make better coffee at home is a coffee grinder. Buying freshly roasted whole coffee beans and grinding on demand is the single biggest improvement home baristas can make to their coffee setup for a better brew.
Ready To Choose Your Coffee Making Accessories?
No matter how you brew and enjoy coffee, some of these coffee accessories will undoubtedly improve your brew.
Get the ones that make sense for your preferred brewing methods, and enjoy the better coffee that they make.
More Coffee Accessories
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