Essential Coffee Tools for the Home Barista and Why You Need Them

Published on 01/14/2024 · 10 min readBrew like a pro at home! Discover essential coffee tools for the home barista and why each is crucial for crafting café-quality coffee in your kitchen.
August Croft, Coffee Expert
By Coffee Expert August Croft

Photo by Pixel Shot

TL;DR: Some of the essential coffee tools you need as a home barista greatly depend on your desired brew type. Regardless of the type of coffee you prefer to drink daily, choosing a reliable coffee grinder and fresh bean storage solution are necessities. If you’re seeking tools to help you perfect a shot of espresso, make sure you have a tamper, scale, and milk frother for lattes and beyond. Finally, having two different brewing methods for your coffee helps mitigate any boredom or frustrations you may encounter in your morning cup.

Knowing what coffee tools and gear you need to perfect your at-home cup can be daunting. Not only are coffee accessories and espresso machines expensive up front, but they are also frustrating if your home barista experience level isn’t quite up to your expectations.

As a former Portland, Oregon barista and someone who makes their cappuccinos and lattes at home each and every single day, I understand some of the most essential tools you need as a home barista. I want to help you wade through the countless coffee options and accessories out there so that you can make your home setup feel more professional, useful, and streamlined.

Regardless of brewing method, experience level, and budget, these are the affordable, necessary home barista coffee tools and accessories you need to know. If you still have questions about your coffee tool needs and want to discuss them, please contact a Curated Coffee and Espresso Expert for free, personalized advice.

What to Consider When Buying Home Barista Coffee Tools

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Still in the planning stages for your next move as a home barista? Now’s the perfect time to do your research so that you can make informed, aligning purchases that suit your lifestyle and budget. But upgrading your morning cup means there are plenty of things for you to consider.

What Type of Daily Brew Are You After?

Not every home barista wants an espresso machine, which may keep your budget and morning routine simpler. But espresso drinks are king when it comes to coffee. If you know for a fact that espresso is the only coffee you want on a daily basis, then you’ll need a few more coffee tools than the average at-home coffee lover.

However, achieving variety in your coffee makers and home coffee setup may suit your lifestyle. For example, I have an espresso machine, French press, pour-over kit, and a stock of cold brew in my fridge all summer long. I’m all about keeping things exciting, especially if it helps me get out of bed in the morning!

Understanding all of the tools involved in achieving your preferred type of brew is necessary when shopping for essential barista accessories. You won’t need a tamper if all you want to make is French press brew, but a reliable grinder is a must for anyone seeking the freshest, most intricate cups of coffee daily.

Only planning on using pre-ground beans? Make sure you have an air-tight canister for keeping your grounds fresh. It all depends on what setup you’re searching for, which is why taking the time to identify your preferred brewing method is key.

What Is Your Current Barista Knowledge?

While acing your coffee shop cup in your own home is certainly achievable, it’s important to meet yourself where you’re at when shopping for coffee tools and coffee makers. There are a dizzying number of coffee products out there, things that may be more difficult to use if your barista knowledge is only just beginning.

Novice baristas may be drawn to machines outside of their expertise. Not only will these methods leave you feeling discouraged, but they may also cost a hefty sum up front. Thankfully, there are plenty of brands, accessories, and coffee makers out there to help you both learn and enjoy making coffee simultaneously.

If you’re already experienced with latte art, how many grams of coffee you need to pull the perfect shot, and what flavors help bring your morning cup to life, you’re likely shopping for more specific coffee tools. Identify your current skill level as well as what coffee accessories might help you reach your home barista goals.

What Is Your Budget?

There are plenty of reasonable and affordable coffee makers out there. But understanding your budget is key to choosing both an ideal coffee machine or brewer as well as all of the tools and accessories you might need.

While espresso machines are the most expensive option in terms of what you might like for your home barista setup, there are still affordable brands out there. For example, Breville offers avid home coffee enthusiasts multiple machine types, options, and included accessories in the purchase price.

Brands like this can help cut down on the confusion surrounding coffee tools and must-haves. Plus, maintaining a realistic budget helps mitigate frustrations and sacrifices when it comes to completing your arsenal of coffee tools and accessories.

Again, if you’re only looking for a reliable gooseneck kettle for your pour-over cup or a stainless steel carafe for your drip coffee machine, your budget will be much lower than the home barista seeking espresso machine must-haves. Shopping around is the best way to grow your own knowledge surrounding your needs and wants.

What Are the Different Types of Essential Coffee Tools for the Home Barista?

While most of these coffee tools are a must for those of you with an espresso machine at home, some are also necessary for any coffee lover hoping to keep their morning cup in-house. Here are some of the essential coffee tools you need as a coffee enthusiast, home barista, coffee expert, and beyond.

Begin With a Grinder

Photo by Anna Ratushna

Regardless of the type of coffee brewer you have, fresh-ground beans are a must. And it’s important to begin with not just any grinder. Some of the best coffee grinders out there are burr grinders.

Choosing these over other types of coffee grinders is your best bet when it comes to longevity, reliability, and consistency. Not only are burr grinders adjustable and durable, but they are the ideal coffee tool if you want to have multiple brew methods at home.

Moving from pre-ground coffee to whole beans is typically one of the first things the budding home barista chooses to do. Choosing a grinder that works for French press and espresso and everything in between helps avoid additional expenses down the line should you choose to shake up your coffee game.

Or, if you’re like me, you might just opt for an espresso machine with a built-in grinder, like the Breville Barista Pro. Regardless, understanding your coffee grounds is something only a reliable coffee grinder or burr grinder can help you achieve.

Get a Scale to Learn Ratios

Photo by Capix Denan

Coffee scales are a need regardless of the brew type you have at home. Not only do coffee scales measure the amount of coffee you might need to brew a pot of drip, but they are also capable of utilizing the precision you need to time your espresso shots. This helps you learn how to dial in your home espresso machine just like fellow baristas do in cafés.

Milk Pitchers and Shot Cups Help Build the Perfect Sip

Photo by Iuliia Pilipeichenko

If you know you want to master your home espresso machine and make lattes every morning, you’ll need shot cups and a milk pitcher. Stainless steel pitchers are tried and true when it comes to steaming milk, and glass shot cups with pour spouts or measurements along the outside allow you full control and understanding of how your shots are shaping up.

Choose a Type of Tamper

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This is another coffee tool you only need if you’re using an espresso machine at home. But tampers are an absolute necessity if you plan on pulling rich, robust shots of coffee. Look for palm tampers over traditional tampers if you’re just starting out. These are typically easier to utilize and help novice baristas achieve a smooth, even tamp on their fresh grounds.

Frothers are a Must for Milk Drinks

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Regardless of the type of coffee machine or maker you have, having a milk frother is helpful if you know you’ll be making plenty of milk drinks. Choosing a milk frother can be daunting when you consider just how many options there are, from handheld to counter-frothing options.

Consider how much milk you need to froth at any given time as well as your budget. Most milk frothers achieve similar goals, so you may be able to save a few bucks on this must-have coffee tool. Plus, if your espresso machine can steam milk, you can pass up this accessory altogether.

Keep Beans Fresh in Proper Storage Bins

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It’s only worth it to grind your coffee beans fresh if you’re keeping them fresh to begin with. Most home baristas keep their coffee beans in tightly sealed canisters, out of direct sunlight, and at a consistent temperature. The aroma, coffee oils, and taste of your coffee are greatly affected by all of these factors, so choosing a good storage container with an air-tight lid for your beans is important.

Choose a Simpler Coffee Machine as a Backup

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Barista fatigue is real, even for home coffee enthusiasts. Sometimes, a backup coffee maker is a necessary and essential tool for home baristas, especially if it allows you the option to expand on different coffee brewing skills compared to your main method of brewing.

For example, if you’re a diehard espresso maker in the mornings, purchasing a simple Bodum French press affords you a different flavor profile and simpler brew method for busy mornings. Or perhaps you find that there’s nothing more precise or fulfilling than making your own delicate, complex pour-over coffee. Both are easy to store, easy to use, and very affordable.

How to Choose the Right Coffee Tools for Your Home

If you’re still on the fence in terms of what the right home barista setup might be for you, you’re not alone. The variety and options available to you are seemingly endless. Contemplate everything you’ve learned so far and compare your needs to the needs of these Curated coffee drinkers. Here are some “home barista” personas and what they might be shopping for to suit their needs.

Cassie

On the go and thriving, Cassie has zero professional barista experience but enjoys quality coffee. She’s seeking a quick but effective morning cup of espresso, something strong but not terribly time-consuming to make. She’s willing to pay a decent amount to achieve the flavor profile and consistency she’s after.

Features to look for:

  • Semi-automatic or automatic espresso machines
  • A consistent, reliable grinder
  • Something hands-free and efficient for busy mornings

Coffee tool examples: Terra Kaffe TK-01 Espresso Machine, Fellow Carter Slide Mug, Third Wave Water Espresso Profile

Dustin

After managing his local third-wave coffee shop for many years, Dustin wants a setup in his compact home kitchen. He knows he needs a fantastic coffee grinder and a manual espresso machine, as he enjoys tinkering and dialing in that perfect shot. Still, Dustin has a limited budget and wants to make his money count.

Features to look for:

  • Manual espresso machine brands that last
  • A burr grinder that doesn’t take up too much counter space
  • Budget-friendly espresso tools

Coffee tool examples: Ascaso Steel DUO Espresso Machine, Baratza Encore ESP Coffee Grinder, Acaia Pearl Scale

Sage

Variety is the spice of life for Sage, a stylish home barista seeking tools for multiple brew styles. Sage has a French press currently but is intrigued by both pour-over and espresso. They may not have the budget for an espresso machine quite yet, but they want to get their home set up for success so that they can make a larger purchase in the future.

Features to look for:

  • Versatile coffee grinders that cater to both espresso and other coffee types
  • An attractive, aesthetic pour-over kit
  • Affordable cups to show off their morning brews

Coffee tool examples: Breville Smart Grinder Pro Coffee & Espresso Grinder, Fellow Stagg Pour-Over Sets, Hearth Glass Double Walled Glass Coffee Mugs

Find the Best Coffee Tools for your Home Barista Setup

Photo by Oleg Kovalevichh

Regardless of your existing expertise surrounding coffee, Curated has both the product recommendations and advice you need. When it comes to coffee tools, we’ve got you covered. Reach out to one of our Curated Coffee and Espresso Experts to help realize your home barista goals today.

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Shop Coffee & Espresso on Curated

Breville the Barista Pro Espresso Machine
$849.95
Espressione Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
$89.99
Acaia Pearl Scale
$150.00

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Saint Anthony Industries New Levy Tamp
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Third Wave Water Espresso Profile
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Breville Smart Grinder Pro Coffee & Espresso Grinder
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