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Barista’s guide to the best home coffee machines
Learn how to espresso yourself with our guide to the best home coffee machines.
Victorians love their coffee. In fact, we are the country’s biggest coffee addicts, with reports showing we have the highest coffee consumption per capita in the country. Now, in the age of social distancing, our daily bean juice ritual has come under threat. But just because you’re escaping the daily grind it doesn’t mean you have to kick your coffee habit, too.
The home coffee market has exploded over the last decade, with everything from capsule machines to manual brewing gadgets pouring onto the DIY espresso scene. So, if you want cafe quality drops at home, we caught up with award-winning barista Courtney Joel, owner of cult Melbourne coffee shop Cup of Truth to find out the best home coffee machines and how to use them.
Six of the best at-home coffee makers
1. Bialetti Moka Pot
If you’re a fan of a strong coffee, the moka pot (or stovetop) is the machine for you. It was first made in Italy – the birthplace of espresso – in the 1930s and, nearly a century later, is still going strong. You can pick up one of these classic stovetop espresso makers with change from a pineapple and, trust us, it’s a worthwhile investment. The Bialetti Moka Express comes in a range of sizes, and is easy to use, clean and store.
Which coffee is best?
Coffee, like wine, comes down to personal preference. Generally speaking, however, beans that have a rich, nutty, chocolatey profile are a safe choice. If you don’t have a grinder at home, ask your local bean dealer to grind them slightly coarser for your moka pot than for a standard espresso machine.
How do I use it?
- The moka pot has three key parts; the base, coffee basket and filter, and the top. Unscrew the base from the top and take out the coffee basket.
- Boil the kettle and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
- Fill the base with hot water until it reaches just below the small knob on the side (the steam valve). Using hot water instead of cold reduces time on the flame and stops the beans from becoming burnt.
- Put the basket back on the base and fill it with coffee grounds. Unlike a regular espresso machine, you shouldn’t pack the grounds too tightly as this creates excess pressure. Tap the side so the coffee is evenly spread, then wipe away any excess grounds.
- Screw on the top. You might need to use oven mitts or wrap the base in a tea-towel so it doesn’t burn your fingers.
- Place on the stove over low heat. It’s ready when it stops gurgling.
- Take it off the heat, et voila. Coffee is ready.
2. Pour-over (aka V60)
The popularity of filter coffee has been brewing for a while now. And it’s easy to understand why. “This coffee-making method extracts maximum flavour and richness from the coffee, without the bitterness, making it great for super-delicate or expressive blends,” Courtney says. “I have had some of the best coffee in the world through a V60.”
It requires a little more precision than the moka pot, but it’s still an easy and affordable DIY option.
Which coffee is best?
Courtney says lighter roasts are better for filtration coffees as the gentler extraction method allows the delicate flavours to shine.
How do I use it?
“When it comes to filter coffee, it’s not so much about how you use the pour-over, it’s about ratios,” Courtney explains. To get started with filter coffee, you’ll need a filter cup (dripper), base, pourer and paper filters. You can opt for a basic kit, like this Hario V60 Brewing Kit, or go all-out with copper cups and stainless-steel kettles (these would make a great gift for any coffee lover and also look stunning sitting on your bench top). Or, you can go the cheat’s method and use the Clever Dripper.
- Boil the kettle then let is sit for a couple of minutes.
- Place a paper filter in the dripper and rinse it with hot water.
- Put the dripper on top of the base.
- For a more delicate coffee, spoon 11 to 13 grams of coffee into the dripper or, for a more robust coffee, around 15 grams. (If you have a kit, you should have a measuring cup).
- Slowly and evenly, pour enough hot water to cover the grounds (about 20 to 30 millilitres) and let it sit for about 30 seconds. This is called the bloom.
- Start with about 180 millilitres of boiling water.
- Using a swirling motion, pour the first 100 millilitres of boiling water over the grinds. Start from the centre and slowly work your way to the edge, then repeat this process with the remaining water.
- The total brew time should be about 2.5 minutes (if yours takes significantly more or less, adjust the grind).