Ultimate Home Coffee Setup: Best Coffee Machines
With many of us working from home, it’s only natural that many of us want to replicate the barista-quality coffee to which we have become accustomed in the morning. Whether it's your regular iced coffee or latte your missing, if you can no longer get to the local cafe, what to do? Well, you could take control of the process and make your own perfect coffee, making you the only local barista you'll ever need.
It's true you'll need more than to properly roast coffee beans. Surely there’s no way you’ll have the space or the money to fit all that expensive-looking coffee equipment into your kitchen? Well, you should read on: it might be more realistic than you think. In this article, we will demystify the process of brewing coffee at home, and give you all you need to know to make your ultimate home coffee set up.
For coffee lovers and even for the sporadic coffee drinker, with a little thought, effort, and surprisingly little outlay and just a few beans, you could be producing barista-quality coffee from your own home in no time.
What equipment do you need to make coffee at home?
The answer to this depends to some extent on how you choose to brew your coffee. Assuming you already own a mug, here’s a breakdown of the absolute basics you’ll need to start brewing your own coffee at home:
Freshly ground beans ALWAYS taste best.
Milk Frother and Milk Jug
For flat whites, cappuccinos, and to hone your latte art skills.
For pour-over and drip coffee aficionados, the pour is king. You’ll need one of these if you’re going to pour with precision.
Opt for a manual machine for a hands-on experience, or your own espresso brewer for the full cafe experience.
How can I make coffee at home without a machine?
Easily. With so many brewing systems available, it is 100% possible to make cafe-quality coffee from home, without the need for an expensive and large coffee maker. From the humble Aeropress through to Hario’s drip systems, and many between, there is a setup for every budget and taste, whether you prefer cold brew or a classic espresso.
Manual or Automatic Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
You've got your pre roasted coffee beans - now what? The benefits of grinding coffee immediately before brewing over are clear. When coffee beans are turned to coffee grounds, the oils and flavour compounds are exposed to oxygen, and begin to degrade. It's time to lose that ground coffee bag, in favour of retaining the flavour of the bean.
In order to attain an even extraction, and thus great coffee, you need to grind beans consistently. This is where burr grinders are so important. As they grind the beans carefully, rather than smash them, they are way more consistent. With metal and ceramic versions available, most opt for ceramic for longevity.
You also need a wide range of grind settings, so you can make everything from espresso to cold brew and drip coffee.
Baratza Sette 270
If you’re looking for an electric coffee grinder, the Baratza Sette 270 is a ceramic grinder that'll outlast most. Fully programmable, with super solid 40mm Steel Conical Burrs, the Baratza is easy to use and built to last many grinds. It has enough grind settings to allow you to brew anything from espresso to french press, with micro-adjustments allowing you to dial in your grind to perfection.
If you're looking for a well reviewed manual grinder you can trust, the Porlex Mini 2 still guarantees an even grind, and allows for the same range of ground sizes - it just requires a little elbow grease. Manual grinders can also double up for travel if you are so inclined.
For your home set up to feel really complete, you’re going to want to be able to make the perfect cappuccino or latte. A milk frother will allow you to turn out beautiful, milky coffee’s just like at the cafe.
Bialetti’s Tuttocrema Milk Frother is simplicity itself, meaning you can wow your friends and yourself with little practice. Simply add milk and place on the stove, depress the plunger a few times once at optimum heat to froth the milk, and voilà - you’re ready to pour your latte
If you’re of an artistic bent, you may need a milk jug for latte art experimentation. Milk jugs allow you to pour with precision, which not only looks good but helps to mix your coffee together just right.
A good milk jug will be solidly built, easy to clean to avoid cross-contamination, and with a precise spout and balanced weight to allow total control. Just as important, you need to know how much heat you are putting through the milk.
Latte Pro Milk Jug - Matte Black
The Latte Pro Milk Jug has everything you need: solidly built, perfectly balanced, and with an outer thermometer display to monitor your milk’s temperature, it’s perfect for your home set up.
If you are building a home set up to perfect your pour-over coffee, then you will not achieve your ultimate goal without investing in one of these. Many people ask us why on earth a kettle could be so important to the brewing process - after all, all it does is heat the water, right?
Well, read on, friend. Because the coffee kettle is all about precision. The gooseneck allows for total accuracy of pour, allowing you to pour at the exact rate you need for the perfect extraction. Different brew methods and beans require different temperatures - which is why you need a kettle with variable temperature settings.
The Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle offers an incredible range of temperature settings, and combines exceptional performance with super stylish, sleek looks. Coming in a little cheaper but with no compromise on quality, the Brewista Smart Pour Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle is another fine example.
Best Home Coffee Machines: Which To Pick?
So now we’ve covered the accessories, it’s time for the main event. Deciding what type of home coffee system you go for will depend on your budget, your tastes in coffee, and to an extent on the amount of space you have at home. For those on a budget or with limited space, a more manual, hands-on coffee maker will not only work out cheaper, but save space too.
If you have the space and the budget however, why not install a full-blown espresso behemoth and live the dream? With options from the full cafe experience, to semi-manual, you should still be able to make espresso at home without knocking through any walls. Whatever you go for, we’re 100% there will be a setup for you.
Manual Coffee Machine: Aeropress Coffee Maker
Those who brew with the Aeropress tend to be die-hards, and for good reason - the press is truly a revolution in coffee making. The Aeropress is the go-to travel coffee maker, and one of the best affordable coffee products to hit the market in the last 20 years. Unlike cold brewers, you don't need to wait hours, there's no glass carafe or external equipment as used for drip coffee, and no electricity is required.
AeroPress Go Coffee Maker
The Aeropress is quick, robust, and makes coffee that rivals much more expensive machines. Add to this the fact it self cleans - that’s right - and you’ve got yourself an impressive piece of kit.
Coupled with a grinder, this might constitute the most basic home coffee setup, but should provide you with brews to rival anything the cafe can offer. Not to be sniffed at, and for those on a budget or short on space, a godsend.
Espresso Coffee Machine: Gaggia Classic
It’s hard to think of a more iconic espresso machine than the Gaggia Classic. Simple lines, sleek design and a chrome and black finish might make you think this single portafilter machine is just to be looked at. But the Gaggia is a serious, fully-fledged espresso machine, from a company whose expertise and coffee heritage simply cannot be questioned.
Capable of 15 bars of pressure, and with a two-litre water tank, it stacks up against any commercial espresso machine available, allowing perfect coffee flow - which means, you are literally bringing the cafe into your home.
For those with space in the kitchen and the budget, this is perhaps the ultimate home coffee machine.
Space-Saving Portable Espresso Maker: Flair Espresso Maker
If you’re short on space or want a portable espresso machine that'll travel too, the Flair is one of the most striking portable machines available (and also works great at home!). The difference between this and an automatic espresso maker? In this iteration, you provide the pressure - via the levered handle.
Bellman Espresso & Steamer - CX 25P
Standard espresso makers extract using steam at high pressure. However, with a manual espresso coffee machine, you add the water to the chamber, and then depress the handle to pressurise the steam and water through the puck. Not only makes delicious espresso but has the added advantage of being a lot smaller and easily packed away, meaning you can save space on the kitchen worktop.
Semi-Automatic Coffee Machine: La Pavoni Professional
For the best of both of the above, and to save some space without going fully manual, you might want to consider something like the La Pavoni Professional. Combining the best of manual and automatic brewing, it brings the water to temperature automatically, meaning you only need to load the portafilter, mount and then pull the handle to pump the steam through the puck.
La Pavoni Professional PL
The pressure gauge allows you to monitor the pressure as you depress the lever, giving you total control over your extraction. Another iconic looking machine, this would look great in a kitchen that has slightly more limited worktop space available.
Whichever set up you decide is best for you, we hope you are convinced of the benefits of brewing your coffee at home. With your ultimate setup, you will be able to make your perfect morning (or afternoon) brew and could be coffee competition ready in no time.
And no matter what your budget or limitations on space, we hope we’ve shown you that there’s a setup for your home which will bring great coffee into your life 24/7.