The foamy velvety froth definitely tops the list of reasons why many people love lattes. This is produced using something called a milk frother.
While your favorite coffee shop can do this very well, handheld milk frothers can now whip this froth up for you every morning at home.
Why Use A Handheld Frother
There are different ways of frothing milk and whether you merely shake it in a jar, use a hand beater or use an espresso machine wand, you’re bound to get great results.
Convenient milk frothers enable you to do this easily in your home. This gives the milk a foamy, fluffy texture due to air pockets made by whisking the milk.
Best Handheld Milk Frother
To get you that barista-style coffee at home, here are the best handheld milk frothers for your perfect cup of coffee:
1. PowerLix Handheld Milk Frother
Powerlix handheld milk frother is an electric froth maker for coffee, lattes, hot chocolate, espressos, etc. This handheld device runs on batteries and has a stainless steel wand to whisk hot or cold milk.
It is one of the best options for easy frothing. It comes with a stainless steel stand to keep it on a kitchen countertop.
You can immerse the handheld frothing wand in a cup of hot or cold milk and have a creamy froth ready to top your favorite brews within 15-20 seconds.
With a beautiful design, this milk frother is lightweight and easy to handle. The stainless steel and dual spring make it durable and reliable.
Though there are many great things about this milk frother, some minor cons exist as well like the batteries are difficult to insert and you have to hold the power button all the time while frothing the milk.
2. Aerolatte Original Handheld Milk Frother
The Aerolatte frother is a milk frothing device with a satin finish.
The lightweight Aerolatte Milk Frother runs on batteries and has a beautiful design with a food-safe 18/8 stainless steel wand.
The device is simple and easy to use. All you need to do is immerse the wand in a cup of hot or cold milk and hold the power button for 20-30 seconds to get perfect frothing for your lattes.
The brilliantly-designed milk frother is portable and durable and can be used as a multi-purpose whisking tool.
It also comes in a wide range of beautiful colors and provides instant frothing for your brews.
The device’s power button sometimes stops working and it can’t be placed in a dishwasher for washing.
3. HIC Milk Frother
HIC milk frother is a foam making pitcher with a stainless steel body. It has a handle and lid for easy handling.
Unlike most handheld milk frothers, it doesn’t need electricity or batteries to run on. It creates a creamy fluffy froth for hot and cold beverages in a minute at most.
The lid of the pitcher has a built-in double mesh aerator that froths the milk with a handle at the top for ease of use.
Pour in hot or cold milk in the pitcher, immerse the plunger inside, close the lid and pump the handle up and down for a minute to get the perfect froth.
It does take some time to get used to so you need to be careful pumping to get the right frothing for your lattes.
4. Milk Frother By Cafe Casa
Café Casa milk frother is one of the top manual milk frothers. You can do more than just whisking milk for frothing with this milk frother.
It is a multi-purpose device that can be used to blend different beverages, hot drinks and even baby formula. You can also use it for whipping eggs or heavy cream.
The lightweight frother runs on batteries and is made of stainless steel. You can use it at 2 speed levels: 13,000 and 15,000 RPMs.
It is versatile and very portable. By immersing the frothing wand in a cup of hot or cold milk, you can get the perfect froth for your cappuccino or espresso in about 30 seconds.
You need to clean the frother every time after using it.
5. Bean Envy Handheld Milk Frother
The Bean Envy milk frother is a good pick for a modern kitchen. It runs on batteries and is very portable for use at home, in the office, or while traveling.
The silicon rubber handle and stainless steel wand make the design easy to use and durable. The powerful motor of the frother can get you a creamy perfect froth in 15 seconds.
It also comes with a steel stand to place it elegantly on a kitchen countertop.
The smart design of the frother provides you with enhanced functionality without any noise or vibration during usage though the batteries drain out quickly sometimes.
Things To Consider When Buying A Handheld Milk Frother
A handheld milk frother can be a wonderful addition to the kitchen of a coffee lover. Here are some important factors to consider when buying one:
You will have to consider how easy it is to use, how convenient cleaning is, and portability.
If you want a frother you can use for more than creating froth for your lattes, you should consider multi-purpose handheld milk frothers.
The size of the frother is another aspect to look at. Some handheld frothers are frustratingly small, so pick one which is comfortable to hold.
Power Of The Motor
You might also want to check the power of the motor of the frother. The stronger the motor power of a handheld milk frother, the better and quicker frothing will be.
The best handheld milk frothers come with some warranty by the manufacturers. It is better to check the warranty so you don’t have to buy a new frother after just a few weeks of use.
Frothing has become a routine step when making espresso today and you need a good handheld frother for that, this review helps you with five of them.
A perfect cup of coffee is not a random mix and make recipe. It involves calculated measuring and careful brewing using kitchen coffee scales.
You might have come across various methods of brewing coffee and probably even tried some at home but have you wondered why you’re not getting that perfect barista-style coffee?
Chances are there might be some problems with your measuring scoop.
This post has the best digital kitchen scales in the market with a guide on how to choose one that suits your needs.
Why Use A Coffee Scale
A digital kitchen scale helps you get rid of the guesswork while making coffee. Consistency is the most important thing in making a perfect cup of coffee.
Using a measuring scoop or a simple spoon to measure out your beans or grounds means you may not get an accurate measurement if you’re following a recipe and if you brew something good, it’ll be difficult to repeat.
Best Digital Kitchen Coffee Scales
Here are some of the best coffee scales that can help you with easy and precise measurements while brewing coffee:
1. Ozeri ZK14-S Pronto
When it comes to buying a digital kitchen scale for brewing coffee, the Ozeri ZK14-S Pronto is one of the top options. With a large surface, it provides a wide weighing capacity. It has a maximum weighing capacity of 179.84 ounces.
It has a sleek and elegant design and is lightweight so you can carry it around anywhere. It has an automatic unit button that readily converts between 5 different units of measurement.
The tare button on the right side gives you an accurate weight of your ingredients by automatically subtracting the weight of the container in which you have the ingredient.
The drawbacks are quite similar to those in most digital coffee scales. The turn off time after the device becomes inactive is quite short and the scale is made of lightweight plastic.
2. Coffee Gator
The coffee gator digital scale is a multifunction weighing scale for coffee and other foods in your kitchen. It can measure in pounds, ounces, fluid ounces and liters, the latter two reserved for liquids.
It provides accurate measurements ranging from 0.003 ounces to 105 ounces making everything from brewing to baking an absolute breeze. There’s a tray to make measuring large amounts of ingredients easier. It also has a rubber mat and feet to protect the scale and keep it steady.
Some drawbacks of the coffee gator scale are that it sometimes shows measurements involving decimal points inaccurately and is a bit expensive as compared to other digital kitchen scales.
3. Greater Goods Digital Kitchen Scale
With a minimalist and stylish design, it is a multifunctional scale that measures in grams as well as ounces.
It has a tare function that allows you to reset the scale to zero after placing an empty container on the scale. The scale also turns off automatically during inactivity so you don’t have to worry about turning it off after measuring.
It has a weighing capacity of 11 pounds. It is easy to clean and also has a sleek and modern design, it’s a relatively inexpensive option as compared to other digital scales.
Some problems that users have reported are that the weighing space of the scale is smaller which means that it’s not suitable for large containers and the batteries sometime drain out quickly.
4. Etekcity Food Digital Kitchen Weight Scale
With a stainless steel body and backlit display, the Etekcity Digital Kitchen Scale is one of the best choices for coffee scales. It has a wide and flat weighing platform that offers ease to the user.
It has high precision sensors in all 4 corners of the scale to give the user accurate measurements wherever they place the container on the weighing platform. The backlit display allows easy reading of the measurements on the display.
Apart from the appealing look of the digital scale, the stainless steel body makes it sturdy and durable as well. The digital scale weighs up to 11 pounds and can measure in four different units including oz, ml, lb, and gram.
It has some common cons like most coffee scales such as having a short turn-off time after inactivity and it drains batteries faster than other coffee scales.
5. Hario V60 coffee scale
The Hario V60 drip coffee scale is specifically designed for brewing coffee, that’s because Hario makes a lot of other accessories for brewing coffee.
It is slim and has a very appealing design. The precision that comes with this beautiful design makes it one of the best choices for digital kitchen scales.
It has touch-sensitive buttons as well as a built-in timer. The scale automatically turns off after 5 minutes of inactivity. It provides accurate measurements in 0.1 gram increments for increased precision and accuracy.
A few drawbacks of buying the Hario scale are that it is relatively more expensive among the best coffee scales and it only measures in one measuring unit, i.e. grams.
Things to Consider When Buying a Digital Kitchen Scale
Most digital kitchen scales are pretty basic and they do not differ much in terms of features but there are some things that you must consider while picking out the best kitchen scale for brewing coffee at home.
The first thing to consider when buying a digital kitchen scale is the weighing capacity of the scale.
Most scales have a standard maximum weighing capacity of 176 ounces. Some substandard digital scales have a weighing capacity of 70.54 ounces while there are also some good ones with a maximum weighing capacity of 160 ounces.
Size of coffee scales
Another important aspect to consider is the size of the scale. They come in different sizes. You will have to choose one that suits your lifestyle especially if you want to carry it when traveling or camping.
Precision coffee scales
Some coffee scales offer accurate and precise readings of measurements while others don’t measure weights less than 1 gram. For brewing coffee, you should buy a kitchen scale with more precision.
Digital kitchen scales often have an auto-off feature that allows the scale to turn off after a period of inactivity.
For some coffee brewers, this might be a problem especially if you make pour-over coffee though there are some scales that allow you to disable this setting.
Consider the battery life and auto-off feature of the scale before buying.
Some digital kitchen scales also come with special features. It is best to consider and compare all the features of different coffee scales to make the best choice.
Digital kitchen scales help you make precise and accurate measurements and you can use this post as your guide when buying one.
For all coffee lovers, it starts with a hot and brimming cup of espresso at a café and soon they are looking for options to get an espresso machine at home.
Espresso machines force a small amount of pressurized boiling water through ground coffee to brew a thick foamy espresso.
This post provides an in-depth review into the best Gaggia espresso machines, what makes them the best picks and where to buy one.
Why Use Gaggia?
Founded in 1947, Gaggia is a subsidiary of the Saeco group and has been one of the common names in the coffee industry for some time now.
Saeco itself is a part of the renowned electronics brand, Philips. Achielle Gaggia is the founder of the company and he patented the first machine in September 1938.
The Gaggia brand is responsible for some of the innovation in espresso machine design.
Gaggia machines were originally designed for cafés and other coffee business hubs but designs for the home have been very common in recent times.
The company has a very rich history and is one you can rely on to get a high-quality brew and perfect performance on your espresso machines.
Best Gaggia Espresso Machine
There are many espresso machines manufactured by Gaggia, this post provides the best five of them. Look at some of them and the reasons you can choose from this batch:
1. Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Gaggia Brera is a finely designed and relatively small automatic espresso machine that optimizes the kitchen space. It is one of the best machines to get different types of coffee like espresso, cappuccino, lattes, etc.
The Pannarello wand is a great feature for frothing cappuccinos and lattes. It is easy to use and provides convenient access to dreg drawers, drip tray and water tank at the front of the machine.
The push control buttons and LED display allow programmable brewing with an exquisite experience for the coffee lovers.
Gaggia Brera also has a smart system of rapid steam technology that provides the best brewing and steaming operations with quick heat-up times.
The only drawbacks that come with the espresso machine are that it has a small water tank that can last only 4-5 shots of espresso and the machine has many plastic components and these do cast doubts on its durability.
2. Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro
Gaggia Classic Pro is one of the best semi-automatic espresso machines available in the market among the espresso machine brands.
With a brushed stainless steel body, the machine has commercial components that provide café quality espresso.
The commercial wand froths milk into a velvety and foamy texture for topping lattes. It has a 58 mm portafilter and a 3-way solenoid valve to give you the best café style espresso at home.
Along with the ESE pods, it comes with both pressurized and unpressurized baskets. It also has an easy to use control panel and a large removable water tank.
Some drawbacks of Gaggia Classic Pro are that it takes up more space in the kitchen as compared to other Gaggia espresso machines, it also has a low coffee spout which prevents you from using bigger mugs.
3. Gaggia Anima Coffee and Espresso Machine
Gaggia Anima is a super-automatic espresso machine with a sleek and smart design. The Pannarello steam wand allows smooth and velvety frothing for lattes.
It has the wonderful feature of programmable brewing which allows the machine to save and remember the settings for the exact style of coffee you regularly brew.
It has adjustable strength and temperature settings and a bypass doser which makes pre-ground coffee for convenient brewing of coffee.
The smart design provides easy access to the water tank and bean hopper at the top left and top right of the machine respectively.
The only downsides of the Gaggia Anima are that it has a plastic exterior body which decreases its durability and the bean hopper lid is not airtight.
4. Gaggia RI8263/47 Velasca Prestige Espresso Machine
Gaggia Velasca Prestige is a robust and super-automatic espresso machine. It has one-touch brewing and frothing features that allow easy brewing of coffee and automatic frothing for lattes.
It also has programmable brewing options with 3 adjustable temperature controls. The smart operations of this espresso machine provide 5 brew strengths and 10 fineness settings. It gives easy access to the water reservoir at the front.
The programmable controls provide customized brews and the bypass doser lets you make pre-ground coffee.
Some cons of this espresso machine are that the controls are a bit complicated to use and the steam wand is also difficult to control.
5. Gaggia Carezza De Luxe
Gaggia Carezza De Luxe is a small semi-automatic espresso machine with a smart design. The Pannarello wand makes a foamy and velvety froth for lattes and if you need hot water for your coffee and tea, you can also use this.
The simple control buttons and pressurized portafilter makes ground coffee as well as ESE pods. It also has a pre-infusion feature which helps you soak grounds before brewing to give a more rich taste to your coffee.
The smart system of the espresso machine provides it with its automatic shut-off system so if it’s not operating for more than 9 minutes, it shuts down to conserve energy.
It also provides easy access to the water reservoir at the front.
The Gaggia Carezza De Luxe espresso machine has some operational complications and flaws. It does not provide the perfect and accurate controls as you would expect from a semi-automatic espresso machine.
When you’re searching for a coffee machine, smart and modern designs are things you want to look for. Time tested reputation for quality and perfection is another factor.
Gaggia espresso machines provide all of these. It has introduced the innovative commercial features of an espresso machine in a solution for home espresso machines.
The smart designs, automatic operations and historical reputation of quality make it stand out among other espresso machine brands and you can use this review if you’re looking for one of Gaggia’s machines.
Most coffee lovers have tried various ways of making their morning cup of coffee. Everyone can’t get an espresso machine and depending on what you want, you may not even need one.
A moka pot helps in cases like this. This post tells you all about moka pots and it also reviews the best moka pots for you to choose from.
Why Use A Moka Pot
Moka pots are classic stovetops or electric coffee makers that are used to make espresso coffee. It passes boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee like an espresso machine.
It can hit about 2 to 3 bars of pressure unlike espresso machines which hit 9 bars of pressure.
To use a moka pot, all you have to do is heat water in the bottom chamber which forces the steam to pass through the ground coffee in a strainer above it. This makes strong coffee which is what you need when making your lattes and espresso.
If you can’t get an espresso machine for home, it’s a cost-effective and reliable option.
Best Moka Pots For Brewing Coffee
Here are some moka pots you can choose from:
1. Bialetti 06800
It has the traditional moka pot design. Its octagonal shape allows for an even distribution of heat while brewing coffee. This gives you a strong cup of coffee in just 5 minutes.
It has a polished aluminum body and the compartments are designed in such a way that it makes clean up very easy for the user.
These Italian made moka pots are available in different sizes and can make 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 cups of coffee. You only need to pick the right size for your needs.
The aluminum body of this moka pot makes it slightly less stylish than stainless steel moka pots.
2. Cuisinox Roma
The Cuisinox moka pot is one that can be used to make 10 cups at a time. It is perfect if you have a big family or guests to serve. It makes coffee by heating at medium heat for 3-4 minutes until you hear a steaming sound which indicates that the coffee has risen into the reservoir chamber. You can then serve the coffee.
It has an elegant design with a stainless steel body that makes it look very appealing. It comes in different sizes which serve 4, 6 and 10 cups of coffee. You can pick the right size for your needs. It has an induction base and also comes with one extra gasket and reducer.
You might have to be a bit careful that the flames do not rise around the sides of the moka pot when you place it over a gas stovetop. The handle of the pot heats up sometimes. It is also more expensive than most moka pots.
3. Tops 55705
The Tops 55705 Rapid Brew Stovetop Coffee Percolator has a sparkling, heavy gauge made of stainless steel. Its elegant design makes it a very appealing option for your kitchen. It comes in varying sizes that can be used to make 6, 9 and 12 cups of coffee.
This coffee percolator offers instant coffee and this makes it a good choice for camping as well. It has a glass cover knob, a permawood handle, and permanent cup markings.
It also has a fluted coffee basket filter made of fine polyester mesh with a plastic frame. This means that you don’t have to buy coffee filters.
Some cons of the Tops coffee percolator are that it can only be used on a stovetop and is non-electric. The lid of the percolator also pops up sometimes.
4. DeLonghi EMK6 Electric Moka Pot
The DeLonghi EMK6 electric moka pot uses electricity to power the coffee brewing process and can’t be used over the stove.
It’s an easy-to-use coffee maker which makes 3-6 cups of coffee and keeps them warm up to half an hour. It has a setting that allows it shut off automatically and this is a convenient option for busy mornings.
You would also love to watch the moka pot fill up with bubbling coffee in the transparent coffee carafe. In addition to the convenience this electric coffee maker offers, you can easily take off the coffee pot from the base and take it to your table.
It is lightweight and easy to clean. However, it sometimes leaks due to the rubber seals between the top and bottom.
5. Bialetti 06661 Kitty Espresso Coffee Maker
Bialetti has designed many great moka pots with and the Bialetti 06661 is one with a less angular shape.
It has a heavy gauge stainless steel build which makes it appropriate to be used on any type of stovetop, including electric, gas, and ceramic stovetops. It has a capacity of about 12 fl oz and can make up to 6 cups of coffee.
The body is made of stainless steel with a heat resistant ergonomic bakelite handle. It makes fresh and bold coffee within just 3-6 minutes.
Though it can be used in a dishwasher, some areas of the moka pot are difficult to reach and clean.
Things To Consider When Buying A Moka Pot
Moka pots have been used for decades and can look all similar when you’re trying to buy, but there are still features that differentiate them.
There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a moka pot and here are some important ones:
#1. The Size Of The Moka Pot
How much coffee do you need? That’s the first question you want to ask yourself.
Moka pots come in different sizes and all the pots in this review have their maximum capacities. This capacity can range from 1-12 cups so you need to get one that fits your needs.
#2. The Type Of Stove You Have
Another thing to consider is the type of stove you will be using for the moka pot. For example, induction stoves do not heat aluminum moka pots properly unless they have a steel base.
Some moka pots are not compatible with electric stoves. Cost can also affect this so if gas is expensive wherever you live, sticking with a cheaper option like electricity is a good option.
#3. Ease Of Cleaning
The cleaning instructions of different moka pots vary. Dishwashers also tend to decrease the life of the pot.
Moka pots made of stainless steel do well in the dishwasher but aluminum moka pots should not be put in a dishwasher for cleaning.
Moka pots have been around for a long time, they’re a great tool to have in your coffee pack and this review can help you with picking the best one.
And if you’re ready to make a decision, why not check out our moka pot brew guide for more!
Love coffee so much but can’t get to your favorite café every time you need to get that perfect roasted brew? Get a home coffee roaster. No seriously, get one.
This means you can have your favorite mug every day! Coffee roasting is the secret behind why your coffee tastes so good.
There are plenty of options in the market but what is the best home coffee roaster? Let’s find out!
Why Buy a Home Coffee Roaster?
Having a home coffee roaster also gives you benefits, apart from always having your favorite cup with you. These are some major benefits you get to enjoy:
- More Savings – You save more on your coffee budget by getting non-roasted coffee beans or buying expensive, artisanal coffee from a café.
- Convenient – Never be late to work again because the queues at the café were too long. You can have a mug ready and waiting while you get dressed.
- Control Your Roast – Pick your preference and stick to it easily with home coffee roasters. You have complete control over the coffee roast in this manner.
Types of Home Coffee Roasters
To the untrained eye, all home coffee roasters are going to look the same but they are of two different types, namely air roasters and drum roasters.
These function by applying direct heat to the coffee beans. The hot air is continuously pushed into the roasting chamber and roasts the beans. If you’re not a heavy coffee drinker but want each mug to be perfect, this is the best option for you. It makes small batches of roasted coffee with ease.
This type applies indirect heat to the beans to roast them. The roasting chamber also has a rotation feature which ensures an even roast on all the beans. If you’re someone who goes through 10 mugs in a week, this is the perfect roaster for you.
Types of Coffee Roasts
Coffee roasts also fall into different varieties based on the roasting time, method and strength. Home coffee roasters focus on these and you can make the following roasts with them:
Light Coffee Roasts
This roast is suited for mild coffee bean varieties. The beans are usually roasted for the least amount of time. It’s also the coffee type that coffee purists hate the most.
Medium Coffee Roasts
Also known as the American roast, this gives a stronger flavor. It has a rich, brown color and is the favorite roast for most people.
Dark Coffee Roasts
This is the roast that only a few drink as it has a bitter taste. The beans are roasted for the longest time, almost being charred. The result is a rich caffeinated drink that can induce the coffee jitters in beginners.
Key Features of a Home Coffee Roaster
Now, when you’re buying a coffee roaster for your home, there are different areas to consider. The budget will come into play but make sure it has all the features you want and need.
The following are some features you should look for:
- Batch Size – Pick one based on your coffee drinking habits. Heavy coffee drinkers will appreciate being able to roast large batches easily.
- Roasting Type – Like an even roast or a faster roast? Focus on the roasting type on the roasters
- Cooling – All beans require cooling after roasting. The roaster should have a feature for it.
- Suppression System – Coffee roasting produces a lot of smoke. The roaster shouldn’t be triggering your smoke alarm every time you use it.
- Easy to Clean – Pick a roaster that is easy to clean and maintain. Most have a system for chaff collection as well.
Best Home Coffee Roaster – Recommendations and Reviews
To help you out, here are recommendations and short reviews for the best home coffee roaster. We made sure to offer variety so there is something for everyone here!
JIAWANSHUN Household Coffee Roaster
The following are some key features of the Household Coffee Roaster by JIAWANSHUN:
- Multi-purpose usage – Perfect for coffee beans, popcorn and more
- Adjustable temperature – 0 to 240 degrees
- Rotating arm for an even roast
Pros and Cons
Here are some pros and cons of this roaster:
- Perfect for beginners
- Easy to use
- Clear cover lets you observe roast
- Can only roast 1 cup at a time
- Clean up is tricky as rotating bars are non-removable
- Gives an uneven roast sometimes
Nuvo Ceramic Handy Coffee Roaster
The following are some key features of the Ceramic Handy Coffee Roaster by Nuvo:
- Compact size
- 100% ceramic body
- Eco-friendly and clean option
Pros and Cons
The following are some pros and cons of this roaster
- Easy to use
- Complete control on the roasting process
- Perfect for small batches
- Possibility of burns from the ceramic body
- Complete DIY – no in-built heating or cooling
- High learning curve
Gene Cafe CBR 101 Home Coffee Roaster
The following are some key features of the CBR 101 Home Coffee Roaster by Gene Café:
- Clear roasting chamber
- Can roast 250g of coffee at a time
- Easy to clean and maintain
Pros and Cons
The following are some pros and cons of this roaster:
- Excellent consistency in different roasting batches
- Complete control on the roasting process
- Perfect for large and small batches
- No in-built smoke suppressing option
- Sensitive to voltage fluctuations
- Extremely pricy option
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Home Coffee Roasters
Have some questions about coffee roasters and roasting? We can help you out. Look at the answers to some common ones here:
Can the Process Be Automated?
Yes, it can be automated completely with home coffee roasters. You don’t have to worry about anything. Just set the timer for roasting and cool down and enjoy your brew.
How Long Does Roasting Take?
A cup of coffee beans can be completely roasted in 22 minutes. Times can vary though depending on the batch and the kind of bean you’re using.
How Frequently Should You Wash It?
After every roasted batch, you should wash the tray and the chaff collector as well. This ensures you don’t pollute the roast of future batches in it.
How Can I Ensure An Even Roast?
Don’t overload the roaster and if it has a rotation feature, activate it. The roaster will automatically rotate the beans to evenly roast them.
That’s it, you can start your journey into roasting with home coffee roasters!
When you’re trying to get your espresso grounds into the machine, you want to make sure you’re getting an even pack so you can get a quality shot.
An espresso tamper is a tool that helps you easily do this. The goal is to make the grounds tightly compressed and there are different tampers out there, this review will help you in choosing the best.
Why Buy Espresso Tampers?
Proper tamping is needed to get a quality shot and the science behind it explains why this is so.
Water has to get through the coffee ground-filled basket during brewing and if they’re not properly tamped, some sections will be left without water.
This distribution is necessary to produce coffee with a more pronounced flavor. Coffee grounds can swell and escape the basket when water is added but tamping keeps them in there so this is another benefit though a minor one.
A very important part of tamping is determining the pressure to apply to your grounds, too little or too much and you don’t get the full flavor of your coffee.
30 pounds is the ideal pressure needed to be applied and a calibrated tamper is designed to deliver exactly that so you don’t have to guess the right pressure to apply.
This is the most common tamper type out there. They’re also called handle tampers and have a flat bottom with a knob-like handle finished with rubber, wood or metal.
The handles give you a good grip during tamping and are preferred by professional baristas that prefer a more hands-on approach.
Traditional tampers have a base and a handle, dual-head tampers have two heads so there’s a base at each end and a handle between both, the bases are usually of different sizes.
It’s so-called because it looks like an actual hockey puck, so it has a very short handle with a flat or convex base. Some baristas have said its design provides for more stability.
It has a similar design with the puck tamper, short handle with a base attached but looks nothing like a hockey puck and tamping is done mainly with the palms.
Size Of Base
Tamping is done with the base on your portafilter basket so if you have a base that’s too wide, you can’t do it properly.
It’s easy to do this by looking at your espresso machine to get the size of the basket yours came with, this information can be in the manual too, basket size is usually graded in millimeters.
A good tamper is one you’re comfortable handling, they come in different weights so you may need to compare weights when buying online or place on a scale when buying offline.
Tamper handles and bases can be made with steel, rubber, wood or even gold, so you can get a tamper that serves as a useful accessory during brewing and also a work of art on your shelf.
Best Espresso Tamper: Reviews & Recommendations
BlueSnail Stainless Steel Coffee Tamper
This is stainless steel tamper with a 51mm base size so this is something you can use on your fresh coffee grounds.
You should confirm that your portafilter basket size is compatible with this but 51mm tampers are compatible with most espresso machines so you shouldn’t have a problem with this.
It weighs 570g and its iron build is responsible for this so you may have a problem with it if you prefer lighter tampers.
Its stainless steel look gives it a stylish finish but it’s not unibody so you can separate the handle from its base.
LuxHaus Calibrated Pressure Tamper
The LuxHaus tamper comes in four base sizes, 49mm, 51mm, 53mm, and 58mm so you should get one that’s compatible with your espresso machine.
Calibrated pressures apply consistent pressure so the grounds appear even, and its round handle makes this very comfortable.
Its stainless steel build also serves as a safety feature so metal shrapnels don’t get into your coffee while tamping. It’s spring-loaded so not something you can take apart.
HIC Harold Import Co. 43739 Dual-Sided Espresso Tamper
The HIC piece is a dual-sided tamper so it has two bases you can use for tamping. One end measures 50mm and the other measures 55mm.
It has both polycarbonate and aluminum profiles, making it resistant to the corrosive substances in coffee and easy to clean and maintain.
RSVP Terry’s Dual Sided Espresso Tamper
If you’re in the market for a budget tamper, this is something you should look at.
It’s a dual-sided tamper made with heavy-duty aluminum which resists corrosion from coffee and has a 51mm and 58mm-sized base on each side.
It’s easy to clean and maintain.
Benicci Espresso Coffee Tamper
The Benicci tamper weighs 1.4 lbs so it has a heavy build. It’s a professionally built unibody tamper with a 58mm convex base.
It’s made of stainless steel so there’s little chance of ending up with a rust-filled coffee.
It’s perfect for both home and commercial use so you can use it when you want to fix a quick cup of coffee or when working as a barista in a café.
Q: What’s the best technique to use while tamping?
A: Hold the tamper handle while it’s in the portafilter with only your thumb, index and middle finger. With your arm making a right-angle (90°) and your forearm directed towards the portafilter, push the handle into the grounds.
Q: What’s the right amount of pressure to apply
A: Calibrated tampers were made for this reason, people wanted to be sure they were applying the right pressure, 30 pounds which is the standard setting for calibrated tampers is the sweet spot.
If you feel anything between 20-30 lbs of resistance, you’re doing it right, once you begin experiencing some strain, you know you’re applying too much pressure.
There are two things you need to do while tamping, making sure the portafilter is fixed and applying consistent pressure.
There are a lot of things that could affect the application of that pressure, poor tamper handles and inappropriate base sizes are two of them and you can get the tampers that handle these specs in this review.
It’s one thing to have a good cup of coffee once in a while, you can do this at your favorite café. It’s a completely different thing to do this every day and anytime you want.
This means you’ll have to brew coffee by yourself, there are manual, semi-automatic and automatic machines you can use for this.
Brewing with a manual coffee maker isn’t as easy, there are several variables you’ll have to control to get a perfect cup so there’s a learning curve to it.
Semi-automatic and automatic machines don’t have that problem and they’re all espresso machines. It’s faster to brew with them and most things can be handled with a button.
Benefits Of Espresso Machines
• User-Friendly Design
Manual coffee makers need you to figure out how well you’ll need to place the filter or how many times you need to push the lever, little things like that count in how your final drink turns out.
Espresso machines have a simple design as most things are automated so the only things you’ll need help with are what buttons to press and how many times you’ll need to do that.
• Consistent Results
With manual coffee makers, it’s hard to get the same results each time you brew as replicating the technique each time isn’t as easy.
As far as you don’t change the settings on an espresso machine, you’ll get the same results every time so if you made a great coffee once, you can repeat it at a different time.
The simplicity of these machines makes them very easy to use. You don’t have to monitor the brewing process and it’s easy to clean too. There are some customization options available so you can develop your style and have that barista feel.
Types Of Espresso Machines
There are different types of espresso machines and they’re generally classified in two ways, according to the kind of their driving mechanism and their automation.
Types Of Espresso Machines According To Their Driving Mechanism
• Piston Driven Espresso Machine
It’s also called the lever espresso machine and is generally of two types the manually driven and spring-driven piston espresso machine.
Water at high-pressure is used to brew coffee with this machine and a piston is used to produce that pressurized water. They require human effort to work so most piston machines are also called manual or semi-automatic espresso machines.
• Steam Driven Espresso Machine
This is the traditional espresso machine so it was the first to come into the market. It also uses pressurized water but steam this time and not water at room temperature.
There’s a boiler which produces the steam and it’s connected to different heads so different kinds of coffee can be made with one brew.
• Pump Driven Espresso Machine
Pump driven machines are fully automated espresso machines. Human effort is eliminated and power is gotten from an electric supply.
Pressure is varied with other espresso machines but pump-driven machines produce a constant pressure for the water used to brew the coffee.
Air pump driven machines are a modified version of these espresso machines. Compressed air is used to produce the pressurized water needed for the drink.
This compressed air can be generated electrically or manually with a hand pump. Common components of the compressed air used are nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
Types Of Espresso Machines According To Their Automation
• Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
This is one machine that can be considered as the hybrid of a manual and automatic espresso machine.
Manufacturers who produce this are trying to target the part of the market that won’t pay the premium price for a fully automated espresso machine but want a machine with the basic automated features.
A portafilter, boiler, button and piston are common features of a semi-automatic machine.
In the manual system, the user stops brewing when the right amount of coffee is out while in the automated system, the time at which the machine was programmed to stop is when brewing stops.
• Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
Human effort isn’t required with these machines and nothing works without it being programmed.
It’s very easy to operate and any kind of coffee can be brewed with a fully automatic machine.
• Super Automatic Espresso Machine
These are fully automatic espresso machines but with a lot of advanced features, these are the machines you’ll find in most five-star restaurants used in brewing coffee and other beverages where absolute attention to detail is required.
A control panel, LED display, advanced buttons, temperature control and standard pre-brewing and post-brewing controls are some of the features of the super machine.
Milk-frothing and steaming can also be gotten so these machines have also been called ultra automatic espresso machines.
There are many features the average espresso machine has but there are certain features that aid brewing and separate it from the basic coffee maker. Let’s look at those:
The pressure pump is what makes this device an espresso machine. Pressure is passed through the water used in brewing and the amount of pressure needed can’t be generated with a manual coffee maker.
9 bars is the minimum pressure required to make espresso so this is something you should check on the machine you’ve decided to buy.
The pressurized water is then heated to be used in brewing and the boiler takes care of this.
The material, weight and design of the boiler are very important things to consider. All these will determine the temperature that the boiler can generate.
Aluminum, brass and stainless steel are the common materials used for boilers. Aluminum is the cheapest among the three so most basic espresso machines will use it.
It’s a low-grade material so it will corrode before brass and stainless steel boilers and this can leave parts of it in your drink giving it a metallic taste.
Steel and brass are higher grade materials but brass retains heat longer.
Boiler thickness and weight are other things to look at. Smaller boilers will heat faster but can’t be used for larger cups of coffee while a large boiler will handle that.
Premium machines use a heat exchanger boiler to produce steam faster and also to get a consistent temperature needed for brewing.
This is the part of the espresso machine that holds the coffee grounds before and during brewing.
Most machines below $500 will have pressurized portafilters while those above come with commercial portafilters.
Aluminum and brass are common materials used in portafilters and brass is usually on high-grade devices.
The reservoir stores the water used during brewing and it’s usually taken out after brewing to prevent bacterial growth.
Make sure you get a machine with a reservoir that’s large enough for the amount of coffee you’ll be brewing and one that’s easy to remove too.
Best Espresso Machine Under £500 Reviews and Recommendations
1. Breville BES840XL/A The Infuser
The BES840XL is a semi-automatic espresso machine and is the top pick for this review and many others out there with its set of accessories for different kinds of brewing.
It can be programmed to brew espresso and comes with a 360° steam wand though this has a learning curve to it so takes some time to get used to.
During brewing, pressure is switched from low to high and this is used to extract the flavor from your coffee.
The water reservoir holds 61 fluid ounces of water and that’s quite high even for an espresso machine. BPA-free plastics are used with the device to avoid the risk of contamination.
There’s a default setting which you can use for any type of espresso you frequently brew but if you want to try something different, its customization settings allow you overwrite the initial program.
If you forget to switch off the machine after use, there’s an auto-shutoff setting so that will kick in after a period of inactivity and this will conserve power.
There’s a metal tamper and this is better than the plastic ones that don’t pack tightly and it gives you an even pack of espresso grounds.
Frothing is easier with the metal jug and there’s an indicator to put you on notice when the drip tray needs cleaning. Other accessories are the tool storage tray and the cup warmer, a portafilter with four filters are also included in the pack.
2. Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Espresso Machine
The Carezza Deluxe brewing method revolves around the use of a pressurized filter basket. It works with both coffee grounds and Espresso pods.
Its pre-infusion feature is one of the key features of the machine. It allows the grounds to get soaked in the portafilter, extracting the flavor before full pressure is applied during brewing. This isn’t a common feature on low-end machines and that’s why it’s special.
It also has a large filter basket size, holding up to 18 grams of coffee. This is an advantage especially when you’re brewing a large amount of coffee so you don’t get a watery espresso. More holes in the basket also said extraction.
This Gaggia espresso machine features a simple Italian design with a cup warmer on top. It powers up quickly and you can brew within a minute. There’s also the auto-shutoff setting after nine minutes of inactivity.
Its water reservoir with a 47 oz capacity is compatible with different water filters, especially the Mavea Inteza filter system to remove impurities from your water which can influence the flavor. The wand for frothing is an extra accessory.
3. DeLonghi EC685M Dedica Deluxe
The EC685M deserves a mention because it’s a relatively inexpensive option which has features you’ll expect to see only in high-end machines.
There’s an adjustable frother that allows you infuse your style into your brew. The automatic flow stop releases the exact amount of brewed espresso and this is better than having to manually figure it out.
The drip tray is adjustable so you can place taller cups perfectly in this position. It uses a thermoblock heating system which while not as advanced as the heat exchanger boiler, can maintain the temperature needed during your everyday brewing.
It produces a 15-bar pressure for brewing and its 35oz water tank which while not as large as the first two espresso machines, is easy to remove, clean and reattach.
What’s your experience brewing with espresso machines? The three espresso machines are all great options for the under $500 price tag.
Go check them out!
There are thousands of coffee varieties out there but only two stand out in quality and drive the economics of the industry, the Arabica and the Robusta or Coffee Arabica and Coffee Robusta if you like.
60% of the world’s coffee is the Arabica coffee cultivated mainly in South America while the Robusta coffee, cultivated mainly in Africa and Asia accounts for the remaining 40%.
Which Is Better?
Most of the coffee world stand by the Arabica and the numbers prove this, but that doesn’t mean the Coffee Robusta isn’t one to check out.
Years of effective marketing by Arabica manufacturers is partly responsible for this disparity, so phrases like 100% Arabica will drive sales and the dirty bitter Robusta marketing sticks.
The true picture tells the real story though, different farming, harvesting, processing and roasting techniques do influence the final quality and flavor of your coffee.
It’s not surprising also that the areas that dominate Robusta coffee cultivation are countries with poor mechanization of agricultural activities so these factors can be influenced by that.
Also, a lot of the bitter Robusta taste isn’t from the bean itself but from industry standards that allow the Robusta to have a lot of black and sour beans with other defects.
These standards are different for Arabica so you’ll find many high-quality products and few premium Robusta products.
The Robusta can also be called the coffee canephora and there are many differences between it and the Arabica.
Origin and Distribution
Robusta has been considered the ugly version of the Arabica for a while but research has proven that Arabica is actually a mutant form of Robusta.
Crossing of coffee euginoides with Robusta produced Arabica.
Arabica and Robusta blends are quite common in the market and the reason for this is simple, it’s more expensive to grow Arabica so a lot of roasters will add Robusta to reduce the price and make more profit.
That’s why 100% Arabica is a thing because it’s targeted at those who won’t mind paying more for the sweeter coffee.
The Coffee Plant
The average coffee can be pruned to about 5ft tall, this enables hand-picking which is the most efficient method of separating the ripe from the unripe ones.
Robusta can get up to 40ft in height while the Arabica at its peak will only manage 14ft.
Robusta will produce more yield than its counterpart and can be identified as the smaller of the two with its straight crease that cuts through the midpoint.
Robusta coffee beans have on average 83% more caffeine than arabica beans.
This difference in caffeine content influences the taste. The more caffeinated Robusta is famous for its rubber-like taste while the Arabica which has less than half the caffeine content is the tasty coffee bean.
There’s also a higher lipid and sugar content on Arabica.
All coffee plants survive best in mild climates with very little temperature changes. Vulnerability increases mainly with a decrease in temperature so very cool temperatures will kill off large populations faster.
Anything within the 20-30°C range can be considered as optimum temperature for Robusta and 15-25°C is fine for Arabica. 2000-3000mm rainfall is perfect for the former while 1500-2500mm rainfall is the range for the latter.
Arabica grows at altitudes of 900-2000m and has very little resistance to pest and diseases so preventive practices are emphasized during cultivation while altitudes of 0-900m are perfect for Robusta and it offers more resistance to pest and diseases.
Robusta’s higher caffeine serves as a chemical barrier to coffee-attacking bugs as they produce a bitter taste that drives them away.
Chlorogenic acid content is another factor in pest resistance, Robusta has a higher quantity of this.
There you have it, every important detail you need to know about two of the most popular coffee species in the market. You can try either of them or a blend of both if you like.
V60 vs chemex: A big decision you’ll need to make if you want to brew coffee, especially if you’ll be homebrewing is choosing the perfect coffee maker for your roasts.
If you’ve settled on a manual coffee maker, the V60 and Chemex are two popular devices you’ll come across and they’re compared a lot among coffee aficionados.
Let’s look at each of them in detail.
A Little History Of The V60
The Hario V60 popularly called the V60 dripper was launched by Hario, a chemist in Tokyo. He started with the production of several glass products and after sufficient investment in research, produced the Hario glass.
Hario glasses were heatproof and spurred the production of a glass filter coffee syphon in 1949.
The V60, which is so-called because of its V-shaped structure with its edges each making a 60° arc, went through various stages of development before being launched in 2004.
It’s designed to hold a paper filter with a drip hole at its bottom and spiral ribs on its inner aspect. The ribs prevent the paper filters from sticking to its body while brewing.
The original V60 owes its sturdy ceramic nature to Arita yaki, a Japanese porcelain manufacturer. It also sports a cream white body. Recent versions have been produced with glass, metal, plastic and even copper with pink, yellow and red bodies available.
A Little History Of The Chemex
The Chemex is a manual coffee maker made just like the V60, by a chemist Peter Schlumbohm and released by the Chemex Corporation in 1942.
Its signature hourglass flask with a wooden neck makes it easy to spot at any café. This exquisite design has earned it a place at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Special Chemex filters are also included in the pack to help with flavor processing during brewing. While the pour-over drip coffee method is how things work with the V60, Chemex uses an enhanced but similar process called cold filtering when brewing.
V60 vs Chemex: What’s The Difference
There’s a lot that separates these manual devices so let’s look at each in detail.
The simplistic design of the V60 makes it a more portable option for making pour-over coffee.
Its design makes it suitable for placing the filter only, you’ll need a separate jar to collect the coffee that’s brewing which will be attached underneath.
After inserting the filter at the top of the device, things like your pour speed and the angle used while pouring begin to influence the final taste of your coffee.
Hario does produce filters which you can use with the V60 but you can get paper filters you’re comfortable with as the type of filter used doesn’t influence brewing unlike in the Chemex. Brewing with medium or fine grounds produces a better drink.
Hario filters aren’t as thick as Chemex’s so it will allow more acidity into your brew.
There’s a learning curve to it so it will take some time to perfect your brewing technique. There are different sizes of the V60 so you can get the larger sizes if you plan on brewing for a large number of people.
There are a lot of differences with the Chemex. It works only with coarse and medium grounds and its filters are double bonded so it tends to trap more of the flavor and acidity than the V60.
The grounds need to be continuously soaked and just like Hario, the pour-over technique is a very important factor that influences taste.
It’s also not as portable as the V60, brewing time is longer and cleanup is a problem due to difficulty navigating the hourglass device.
The filters go on top and they produce sediment-free coffee. A standard Chemex should fill up to three cups so you’ll get a larger quantity than with the V60.
More fragile materials are employed in making a Chemex so it’s generally more expensive than the V60.
The Hario V60 and Chemex coffee makers are two attractive devices, there are not too different from each other so personal preference will come into play when choosing. You can either go for the portable and affordable V60 or settle for Chemex’s exquisite design and exciting features.
Cascara is one of those shiny new words in the coffee industry today but if you’ve been following the trends for years now, you’ll know it’s already been a thing in Africa, the Middle East and some parts of South America.
Its popularity has only been on the rise recently in America and many countries in Europe. Many large coffee chains are beginning to include cascara recipes in their menus and that has contributed to the spike in interest.
Cascara, and we’re not talking about Cascara Sagrada, the drug used as a laxative here, it’s the Coffee Cherry Tea used in brewing the Yemeni Qishr as it’s known in Yemen.
Cascara is Spanish for skin so the coffee here is made but not with the bean. The beans are processed through a wet or dry method after harvesting, each will produce its skin or Cascara.
The husks were previously used as fertilizers or compost by farmers after separating them from the beans.
They’re cheaper than whole coffee beans and farmers who process them now make more money selling the entire package than when it was just coffee beans.
They’re completely healthy to eat and are a rich source of antioxidants which help in preventing injury to your body tissues.
When cascara is left out to dry as a form of processing, dry cascara is produced. The dry processing method is usually not used because it takes a lot of time to complete but if you’re ready to wait it out it can be an ideal option.
The coffee skins or husks as they’re called dry alongside the bean when they’re left to dry. The husks and beans are separated after dry processing is completed to get cascara.
The coffee has to be wet for wet processing to occur. This is done by soaking the beans in water and waiting for the skins to go off by fermentation or active scrubbing.
The husks are easier to get off when they’re wet but that’s just one step of the process. The wet husks are then gathered and dried with special attention given to preventing the growth of molds.
Molds in a few husks can quickly spread and destroy entire batches.
The cascara gotten during wet processing is whole with little fragments so this method is usually favored over dry-processed cascara. This is because in wet processing the husks are squeezed and not beaten as in dry cascara.
Tea or Coffee?
There’s some argument over the appropriate term to use with cascara since it’s gotten from coffee but brewed in the same way you’ll do tea.
Well, cascara is not tea. Tea comes from the plant Camellia Sinensis and this isn’t a component of cascara.
It does contain about a quarter to an eight of caffeine found in coffee but it’s not coffee either because the beans aren’t being used. Cascara is simply a by-product of coffee and it’s okay if it has that category to itself.
How To Brew
You’ll need a tea strainer, cascara and water at just below boiling point to brew.
Put 18-20g of cascara into a tea strainer. Add 300g of water at 200°F. Steep like tea for 4 minutes like tea, strain and your cascara brew is ready.
You can experiment with this recipe by tweaking the water content in your drink as even experienced baristas are far from getting the perfect water to cascara ratio and steeping time.
You’ll get a sweet, fruity brew so you’ll enjoy your drink. Cascara herbal tea and syrup are other recipes you can try with those husks.
So cascara is the drink made by brewing as you’ll do with tea, coffee husks. It doesn’t have as much caffeine content so if you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake that’s a drink you should try.