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Hi all,

Another newbie here - rapidbly barrelling towards my first espresso setup. Already have a  Sage/Breville Smart Grinder Pro and am currently in the process of finding the right machine (Looking at all the 'classic' first machines at the moment - Gaggia Classic, Rancilio Silvia et al). 

 

Just wondering if there are any items considered essential that people would recommend? I'm thinking along the lines of tamp mats (and tampers for that matter).

 

Currently on my list I've got a frothing jug, 'decant tamper' and a couple of espresso/cappuccino cups.

 

What else should I have in mind?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

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15 minutes ago, Keggs said:

Hi all,

Another newbie here - rapidbly barrelling towards my first espresso setup. Already have a  Sage/Breville Smart Grinder Pro and am currently in the process of finding the right machine (Looking at all the 'classic' first machines at the moment - Gaggia Classic, Rancilio Silvia et al). 

 

Just wondering if there are any items considered essential that people would recommend? I'm thinking along the lines of tamp mats (and tampers for that matter).

 

Currently on my list I've got a frothing jug, 'decant tamper' and a couple of espresso/cappuccino cups.

 

What else should I have in mind?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Decant tamper?

Tamping mats, obviously. They should be cheap. I'd probably get a portafilter stand/platform thing if I were buying again. Depending on the machine you buy you'll need accessories to match the portafilter size. If you're going for 58mm then it future proofs you a bit as when/if you upgrade you will be able to carry over the tampers and stuff to the new setup. 

Milk jugs are again one of those things you can spend a lot of money on for no reason. You can get a barista hustle one for £30+ or Motta for half that, or a cheap one from amazon or ebay for half that. There are all kinds of different shapes to look at. There are some weird ones that claim to guarantee good microfoam, some have thermometers built in. I'd just get a cheap one and learn how to steam milk.

Probably forget VST and IMS baskets with your grinder but keep in mind for the future.

Cheap jeweller scales to weigh the coffee in the basket (you can even use these to weigh shots out of the machine as I did for years).

Airscape jars or ziplock bags to store the coffee.

A cocktail stick and funnel to dose and distribute in the basket, cocktail stick mainly to break up clumps. If you want to get fancy a distribution tool like the Londinium one or the similar ones from Etsy.

 

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Sorry a *'decent' tamper

What are the advantages of a stand over a mat? Currently considering the Lelit Anna which has a 57mm portafilter, but other than that everything I'm looking at has the 58mm, good to know though.

I'm finding the with accessories it's very easy to spend a little money or lot of money for things that on the surface seem somewhat similar. 

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Essential - Scales with timer or £10 ones with separate timer (or use phone), knockbox (£18 or less), £20 Motta tamper, cheap milk jug, Airscape container  https://www.webury.com/products/airscape-storage-canister-small-red?colour=Red

Really nice to have, I'd say get - Rubber mat (£8/10), portafilter holder, cheap distribution tool. 

Edited by CocoLoco
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Scales are important as already been said, but you don't have to spend a fortune on them though..

1-1b09379425-dts-pz1-r_1.jpg?auto=webp&canvas=753%2C502&fit=bounds&height=502&quality=75&width=753

I have a set of these, which you can pick up for less than the price of a bag of coffee. I've had them years and are still going strong. To begin with I used to put them in a sandwich bag in case I drowned them but never bother now. Although one thing I must say is that the newer ones seam to have an auto-off (probably some Euro-law on energy saving..) which turns them off after a certain time. Mine turn off but it takes a bit longer than the newer ones. There's a plastic lid, which if you turn sideways can easily balance a portafilter on if you have an on-demand grinder. The tare function never resets first time, so is easier just to turn them off and back on again.

You can pick a tamper up for under £20. I used a Motta one for ages and although it's not a precision one it's certainly better than the plastic rubbish that comes with a lot of consumer machines. Before that I used the bottom of a bottle. Tamp mats are around a tenner and save your worktops from being marked, and you can pick a knock box up for around a tenner as well which saves a lot of mess. If you want to steam milk, you can get a cheap jug for around a fiver. Just get bits as and when but scales are pretty much a must for weighing out if you want repeatability. Although when I use my La Pavoni I just measure out two level scoops of beans from a plastic scoop that came with a V60 (IIRC) which is pretty much the right dose for one of those. So I'd say in that respect a tamper would be my first purchase, then possibly scales.

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Input: 'Terranovered’ Versalab M3  + Niche

Output: Slayer One Group + La Pavoni + V60 + AeroPress + Syphon + Bialetti Induction Moka Pot + Bialetti Mucka Express + jar of instant for visitors..

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Keggs said:

Sorry a *'decent' tamper

What are the advantages of a stand over a mat? Currently considering the Lelit Anna which has a 57mm portafilter, but other than that everything I'm looking at has the 58mm, good to know though.

I'm finding the with accessories it's very easy to spend a little money or lot of money for things that on the surface seem somewhat similar. 

With spouts a stand keeps the portafilter level. Even with a bottomless if the mat has a small lip it'll force the portafilter down at an angle....not a big deal, you can just tamp on an angle to suit it but it'll be easier if everything is level.

You can get mats without lips and with notches for spouted portafilters.

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5 minutes ago, Keggs said:

What are the advantages of a stand over a mat?

A stand keeps the pf nice and flat. The semi circle cut out on the mat is rubbish. Tamping on a mat protects pf/worktop but doesn't guarantee a flat surface, it's you angling it on the mat. I got the stand after about 2 months of using just the mat, I was new to coffee and it immediately made a big difference. I agree with Rob1, get one from beginning.

I have this one. I got it cheap on the forum and can vouch for it's quality. Not saying this is only brand but this Cafelat is great. You want one with zero flex in it.

https://www.espressoplanet.com/Cafelat-Mirror-Tamping-Stand.html

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Here's one on fleabay for £3 inc postage.. Click here...

Might not be up to much but at that price...

s-l1600.jpg

Input: 'Terranovered’ Versalab M3  + Niche

Output: Slayer One Group + La Pavoni + V60 + AeroPress + Syphon + Bialetti Induction Moka Pot + Bialetti Mucka Express + jar of instant for visitors..

 

 

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 Thanks for all the great advice! I do have a Hario scales which I've been using for filter coffee and whatnot, so that's one thing checked off the list! 

It also looks like I've just agreed to buy a machine from someone here on the forum, which includes a motta tamper so we're knocking things off the list.

That 3 pound stand seems like TOO much of a bargain for me to not be suspicious, but then again for 3 pounds it's almost seems better value to just find out? 

 

So the new list is

Motta tamper Check!

Scales with timer Check!

Milk jug

Tamp stand/mat (think I'll go with the stand)

Knockbox

Airscape containers

Maybe a cheap distribution tool.

 

Thanks everyone!

 

 

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Your original question was "Essentials"....

Espresso Machine - Check
(1/2 decent) Grinder - Check
"proper" Basket (ie not pressurised) - Check
(1/2 decent) Tamper - Check
Scales - Check
Jug (if you want to steam milk) - Check
Cup or 2 but hey ho.....

I'd say that's it....
Tamper mat - Use a tea-towel
Tamper stand - You what?
Knock-box - Use the sink
Airscape - wtf? Essential!?!
Cocktail sticks, Funnels, distribution tools, thermometers, PIDs, Bar towel, apron, Barista-badge, Hipster beard, fixed wheel bike........

Loads of things that might make you feel better....
there are even some things (listed) that "might" help you... but "essential"..... 

 
 

 

 

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Going to disagree on the Knockbox, a mate gave me a Grindenstien as a present....one of the best things he ever gave me and at 15 years or so now, it's finally starting to craze and crack at the Bottom but it's still here. Earlier this year I bought him a nice shiny stainless one (105mm Motta), got one for myself as well but have not used it yet. I knock out and because it's small I have to empty regularly, so no mouldy pucks. Partly because they also dry out really well unlike draws.

 

image.png.d0e6dc2b10c9487672071a3961a5e7cd.png

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Nothing here...

 

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5 minutes ago, DavecUK said:

Going to disagree on the Knockbox, a mate gave me a Grindenstien as a present....one of the best things he ever gave me and at 15 years or so now, it's finally starting to craze and crack at the Bottom but it's still here. Earlier this year I bought him a nice shiny stainless one (105mm Motta), got one for myself as well but have not used it yet. I knock out and because it's small I have to empty regularly, so no mouldy pucks. Partly because they also dry out really well unlike draws.

 

image.png.d0e6dc2b10c9487672071a3961a5e7cd.png

When my machine was in the kitchen, I just "knocked" the pucks straight into the bin. I simply tapped the portafilter gently against my wrist. Worked wonders.

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Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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image.png.d0e6dc2b10c9487672071a3961a5e7cd.png

The Hotmetalette gave me one of these and I honestly wouldn't be without it. Solidly built, easy to clean, small footprint and the right capacity that you're neither constantly emptying it nor does it sit there mouldering.

 

Tamp mat for me is one of those rubber mat type things Ikea sell to put pots on or to help you grip jar lids.

 

Like Alberto, if I've just cleaned the Motta, sometimes I'll just knock it out into the bin or onto the flower bed with judicious use of my other wrist.

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I have a very nice "knock-out drawer"....

It's great... a nice solid feel, stainless steel, good solid bar (covered in a nice firm but not hard sleeve so I don't dint my pf)..... drawer slides in and out smoothly, almost no effort to use.
It probably holds.... well probably at least a couple of weeks of pucks.....

Therein lies the problem.... it is far to big (for me) for hygiene.... 
If I only emptied it out when it's full - it would be rank and mouldy...
So emptying it out and cleaning it - say every day or two.... really not worth the effort.... So I just knock-out into my food waste bin....

The Knock-out drawer really isn't a waste of space... because my Grinder sits on it perfectly and is just a good working height for grinding, brushing and puffing.....
 

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And if you're not using it for knocking out into, I guess it's a handy storage area for group brushes, WDT stirrers, wooden stirring sticks, cotton buds, basket brush, that stick-type milk thermometer you replaced with a TempTag, and your little tube of Molycote 111...


Rocket R58, Ceado E37S, VST 18g, Aeropress, Aergrind, Torr Goldfinger flat and convex.

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7 minutes ago, hotmetal said:

And if you're not using it for knocking out into, I guess it's a handy storage area for group brushes, WDT stirrers, wooden stirring sticks, cotton buds, basket brush, that stick-type milk thermometer you replaced with a TempTag, and your little tube of Molycote 111...


Rocket R58, Ceado E37S, VST 18g, Aeropress, Aergrind, Torr Goldfinger flat and convex.

Genius......

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6 hours ago, Drewster said:

Your original question was "Essentials"....

Espresso Machine - Check
(1/2 decent) Grinder - Check
"proper" Basket (ie not pressurised) - Check
(1/2 decent) Tamper - Check
Scales - Check
Jug (if you want to steam milk) - Check
Cup or 2 but hey ho.....

I'd say that's it....
Tamper mat - Use a tea-towel
Tamper stand - You what?
Knock-box - Use the sink
Airscape - wtf? Essential!?!
Cocktail sticks, Funnels, distribution tools, thermometers, PIDs, Bar towel, apron, Barista-badge, Hipster beard, fixed wheel bike........

Loads of things that might make you feel better....
there are even some things (listed) that "might" help you... but "essential"..... 

 
 

 

 

The hipster beard is an absolute must, no?

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I like my little Sage knock-box. It's just big enough to knock into with a standard portafilter and doesn't hold too much. Plus it doesn't look like a plant pot :classic_rolleyes:

 

Input: 'Terranovered’ Versalab M3  + Niche

Output: Slayer One Group + La Pavoni + V60 + AeroPress + Syphon + Bialetti Induction Moka Pot + Bialetti Mucka Express + jar of instant for visitors..

 

 

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You can always buy more gadgets and toys with coffee, which is awesome, but it's also a dangerous road to over-spending. 

A good tamper and mat/stand, knock box.  A thermometer for milk whilst you're learning but then often people go by feel/sight/sound as they get more competent.  And small miilk jugs. 

We're sponsoring forums this month and have an offer on across our whole shop - use code: CFOCT10%

https://eacoffee.co.uk/product-category/home-barista/

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On 20/10/2020 at 13:25, Drewster said:

Your original question was "Essentials"....

Espresso Machine - Check
(1/2 decent) Grinder - Check
"proper" Basket (ie not pressurised) - Check
(1/2 decent) Tamper - Check
Scales - Check
Jug (if you want to steam milk) - Check
Cup or 2 but hey ho.....

I'd say that's it....
Tamper mat - Use a tea-towel
Tamper stand - You what?
Knock-box - Use the sink
Airscape - wtf? Essential!?!
Cocktail sticks, Funnels, distribution tools, thermometers, PIDs, Bar towel, apron, Barista-badge, Hipster beard, fixed wheel bike........

Loads of things that might make you feel better....
there are even some things (listed) that "might" help you... but "essential"..... 

 
 

 

 

Agree with this entirely up until knockbox. It's borderline, but I don't think I could do without one. Especially since the Decent doesn't dry the pucks out nicely like, for example, a La Pav.

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On 20/10/2020 at 13:25, Drewster said:

Your original question was "Essentials"....

Espresso Machine - Check
(1/2 decent) Grinder - Check
"proper" Basket (ie not pressurised) - Check
(1/2 decent) Tamper - Check
Scales - Check
Jug (if you want to steam milk) - Check
Cup or 2 but hey ho.....

 

Thank you for this list - as a complete beginner in all of this it’s helped open my eyes and prepare me for what I need - turns out the machine is only the first step and I’ve got some more research/saving to do!

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On 20/10/2020 at 12:14, Rhys said:

Here's one on fleabay for £3 inc postage.. Click here...

Might not be up to much but at that price...

s-l1600.jpg

Have been thinking of getting myself one of these for a little while now. Has gone up to £5 now but that's still an absolute bargain. Pulled the trigger on it. Nice one

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