The Ultimate Guide to the Best Coffee Accessories
On the hunt for accessories to up your coffee game? Look no further - as in this post we are getting down to what accessories you need to take your coffee making to the next level.
Lately we have been getting into all things coffee around here on Kombucha Home. From its newly discovered health benefits to guides on the best coffee, espresso and grinder machines. We even have a recipe for how to make coffee kombucha! So if you are a coffee lover there is lots of additional interesting stuff you can check out.
Today we are going to be talking coffee accessories. Anything termed as an accessory is usually categorically assumed to be semi-superfluous, and just a nicety at best. However this is not always the case with coffee accessories. As you will see in this list of best coffee accessories, some of them are actually quite essential to the coffee making process. Others may not be essential, but definitely do have the power of making your life easier. Which can be a great reason to consider adding them into your coffee brewing equipment.
Of course, because life is meant to be fun, we also threw in some ‘non-essentials’ into the mix. The first half of our list of best coffee accessories is made of what are often essential items, and the second half is cool stuff to have if you love coffee – because why the heck not.
A List of Coffee Accessories
In this list we are going to get into what the advantages are of each coffee accessory item. And we will include one or more “Top Pick” makes of the accessory from Amazon, based on functionality and reviews.
Let’s get started.
Coffee Bean Grinders
A grinder is an absolute must have accessory if you want to make kick ass coffee. Why? Because the freshness of the coffee grounds which you use to brew your java has a huge impact on flavor and aroma. And it turns out almost all of the grounds we buy are what can be termed stale. Coffee in its whole bean form can stay fresh for up to six months, if vacuum sealed . However experts roughly agree that ground coffee starts to lose its freshness after as short a time as two hours after being ground.
So. The only way to get around this rapid deterioration of ground coffee is to grind it yourself. At first glance this sounds like lot of extra work. However if you have the right grinder for your needs then the additional effort of grinding beans fresh for your coffee is actually minimal. Especially when taking into account how freshly ground beans can improve your coffee’s taste, aroma, and in the case of espresso, crema. Good levels of crema are the mark of a great espresso. Using freshly ground beans is the key to getting a thick and unctuous layer of crema in your espresso. This makes having a bean grinder a non negotiable if you after the perfect espresso!
Types of Coffee Bean Grinders
Coffee grinders come in a variety of price ranges and levels of quality.
Burr Grinders Vs Blade Grinders
First up grinders can be split into two main categories. Blade grinders and burr grinders. Blade grinders ‘chop’ up coffee beans by the use of a blade. Burr grinders in contrast, crush the coffee beans between two burred surfaces.
Blade grinders are considered to be inferior to burr grinders. This is because they inevitably cause what is known as an uneven grind, where some particles of the ground coffee end up finer than others. This has a negative impact on the brewed coffee’s flavor and aroma. The smaller particles release their compounds faster than the larger particles. This can cause the coffee to become bitter and acrid in taste.
Conical Burr Grinders Vs Flat Burr Grinders
Burr grinders can further be divided into two categories. Conical burr grinders and flat burr grinders. Of these, conical burr grinders are considered to be slightly superior, being quieter, producing the most even of grounds, and not causing heat build up.
Besides the way in which your grinder grinds your coffee, another element the distinguishes different levels of quality within grinders is the motor.
When it comes to grinding coffee, the slower this happens the better. This is because fast moving grinders can cause heat build up, which can in turn burn, or denature the coffee. This results in a reduction in flavor and quality in the brewed coffee.
High speed motors should generally be avoided in coffee grinders.
Slow Speed Grinder Motors
Slow speed motors can again be divided into two categories. Direct drive motors and gear reduction motors.
Gear reduction motors are essentially high speed motors. However they have a set of gears attached which converts the movement to a slow one in the grinding component. Much like how the gears on a bicycle function. While the coffee being ground does not generally become burnt with these grinders, they can be noisy and less long lasting.
Direct Drive Grinder Motors
Direct drive grinder motors are the cream of the crop when it comes to bean grinders and their motors. These motors have a low and powerful level of RPM. They do not have the gear reduction component mentioned above. These two factors make them the highest of quality, being quiet, long lasting, and capable of producing a perfect grind.
There are a huge number of models and makes of coffee grinders on the market. We gave an in depth look to coffee grinder specs and makes in our Ultimate Guide to Coffee Grinders. Go and check this out for a deep dive into what makes for a great coffee grinder.
Here are also some top picks of coffee grinders which we have identified as being great models to consider if you are looking to purchase a coffee bean grinder.
Bean Grinder Top Pick #1: JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
This little baby is a manual coffee grinder. No electricity needed, all that is required is a little muscle power and you will have perfectly freshly ground coffee at your disposal. Manual grinding can sound like a hassle, but buyers who have purchased this compact model say that the absence of cables and plugs makes this grinder especially easy to usy.
Besides, consider this. Time spent energetically grinding your coffee can be subtracted from the gym slot!
Another great feature of this manual machine is that it is so compact, it can be slipped into a handbag. Which makes it perfect for taking to the office or even on vacation. Thanks to its manual nature, you can even use this machine in off-the-grid locations when hiking and camping.
And though the price of the JavaPresse Manual Grinder is very reasonable, it is a quality grinder, equipped with a conical burr mill grinding component and 18 different grind seize settings.
Bean Grinder Top Pick #2: Breville The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder
And if you are not into the whole manual, working up a sweat thing, then there are other superb options. Breville is a respected name in the espresso industry, and their stamp of quality seems to extend to their bean grinders as well. This model is a true beauty, fitted with stainless steel conical burrs, 60 precise grind settings, and a precision electronic timer which allows users to adjust grind time in 0.2 second increments.
Besides these features, you can also select different cup size dispensing options, and dispense into either a portafilter, grinds container, gold tone filter basket or paper filter.
Customer reviews on this machine report a high level of quality and functionality.
Bean Grinder Top Pick #3: Capresso 565.05 Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
Fully automated and almost as convenient to use as the Breville, the Capresso Infinity comes at roughly a third of the price. The Capresso does not have as many grind settings, however it still sports a full range, from ultra fine for espresso and extra course for French press coffee.
On the specs side of things the Capresso is fitted with commercial grade stainless steel burrs, a brushed metal housing, and a gear reduction motor. The first two make this machine durable, and last makes it quieter it grinding. Which is often a must, especially in a family or cohabitation situation!
Coffee lovers who have bought this machine largely unanimously report that it is a great buy, producing even grounds, and being easy to use. One drawback reported which is that the switch and plastic parts are fragile.
For more great coffee grinder picks, do go and check out our full length grinder guide.
If you enjoy lattes, cappuccinos and other coffee drinks which contain milk, then you should consider getting a milk frother. Many espresso machines come kitted with a milk frothing attachment. However if your coffee or espresso machine is without one of these, purchasing a freestanding milk frother could make your coffee dreams come true. Milk frothers take the hard work out of making milk based coffee drinks, and deliver that signature silkiness that makes these drinks shine.
There are myriads of different milk frothers available these days. You can choose to go with a manual milk frother which requires no electricity and is easy to clean. Or you can choose an electric milk frother which will heat and froth your milk at the same time. These models range in price and functionality. Some have only one setting – and others allow you to select exactly what ‘level’ of froth you want.
Here are three milk frothers we have picked out as top choices. First up a value for money buy, in a manual model.
Milk Frother Top Pick #1: Stainless Steel HIC Manual Milk Frother
This attractive manual milk frother is similar in design to a french press. It requires no electricity, and is straightforward to use. Simply pour in your milk, pump the handle up and down and you will have frothed milk in 30-60 seconds. These types of milk frother are also super easy to clean and this particular one is dishwasher safe.
The downside to these nifty little numbers is that of course they do not heat the milk up for you. Once you have frothed your milk, if you want it hot you must then heat it in a pot, in the microwave oven, or on an induction stove.
The HIC milk frother is made out of stainless steel which makes it very durable. This is great because unlike the case with models made out of glass, you do not need to concern yourself with breakages. However, be aware that the stainless steel construction will of course prevent you from using it in the microwave. If you plan on heating your frothed milk using a microwave, then a glass model would be a better alternative.
Milk Frother Top Pick #2: Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother and Warmer
If you do not like the idea of having to froth and then still heat your milk, an automated frother and warmer may be the answer. Super convenient and easy to use, Secura makes an affordable and compact version of these.
With the Secura you can choose between hot or cold frothed milk, or you can use it to simply heat your milk with no frothing. The jug sits on a freestanding heating pad, which means you can remove the jug and carry it away to the table after frothing and/or heating.
Constructed out of stainless steel, the Secura boasts double vacuum sealed walls. This preserves the temperature of your milk whether hot or cold.
The simple design of the Secura makes it very easy to wash.
One downside to the Secura is that there is not an option for choosing how frothy you want your milk. So if you are someone who is picky when it comes the level of ‘frothing’ that their milk undergoes, then consider this next pick.
Milk Frother Top Pick #3: Breville Milk Cafe Steel Milk Frother
If you are looking to get state of the art with your milk frothing, then take a good look at this amazing model from Breville. Comprised of a heating base, a large capacity jug and multiple magnetized frothing disks, this machine leaves little to be desired. Thanks to the multiple stainless steel frothing disks, you can choose the type and amount of foam that you want. The dial also allows you to specify what exact temperature you wish the unit to heat the milk to. It can also froth the milk cold, and omit heating if you so desire.
You can also choose to heat milk without frothing it.
And in case you were worried about losing one of the detachable magnetized frothing disks, the Breville has an onboard storage spot for them in order to prevent this.
Besides allowing one to choose between different densities and temperatures of foam, the Breville is also a sturdy model. Made almost entirely out of stainless steel this frother is almost guaranteed to give you long term service.
Besides these types of milk frothers we have picked out, there is one more popular type called a ‘wand’. The handheld milk frothing wands are designed after the heavy duty milk wands which often come standard on commercial grade espresso machines. While the home designs are capable of creating reasonable frothed milk, they are usually battery operated and this can be a hassle for long term use. Therefor none of these models made it to our top picks list.
Scales are often thought to be a dispensable option in the coffee making process. However if you are aiming to make good coffee than is consistent and professional grade, then having a scale is a must. Measuring coffee out by weight turns brewing from a hit and miss affair, into one of satisfying science.
Eyeballing coffee amounts, while do-able, can go wrong. This is because the density of coffee can vary due to factors such as coffee type and level of roast. Which means that not all scoops of coffee are equal in quantity. This can throw out the grounds to water ratio you are trying to achieve.
Being able to be 100% exact in your coffee to water ratio not only eliminates inconsistent brews, it also allows one to tweak one’s coffee to the point of perfection.
The ideal type of scale for measuring out coffee is an accurate gram measuring model. While these scales used to be pretty expensive, they have come down in price somewhat, and often now have more inbuilt functions. Such as being chargeable (and therefore batteryless), and having timers and bluetooth connectivity.
Here are three great scale choices for coffee weighing.
Coffee Scale Top Pick #1: Hario Drip Scale and Timer
To start of with a very affordable but capable gram scale, we have the Hario. The Hario Drip Scale and Timer can measure up to 0.1 gram accuracy. It also has a timer function built in which is designed to assist you in making the perfect pour over coffee. The timer ensures that your bloom and pour time is exact. Combined with precision weighing of coffee, and you are almost guaranteed a perfect cup of coffee.
One downside to this scale is that it is battery operated. While this means that you do not need to charge it, it does mean that replacing the batteries is inevitable. And you also have no way of knowing when this might be, it could be right in the middle of brewing.
Coffee Scale Top Pick #2: Acaia Pearl Coffee Scale
If you are looking for something a little more deluxe, the Acaia Pearl is worth consideration. Also able to measure in 0.1 gram increments, this scale does not run on batteries. Instead, it is rechargeable. This is a wonderful feature as you can easily plug it in to charge, even midway into the brew process. Unlike with battery operated models which unless you have extra batteries on hand, force you to run to the store before you can carry on using yours. Additionally, batteries are an environmentally unfriendly product, and rechargeable appliances are a much more sustainable option.
And what is more, if you are in any way a technologically inclined coffee nerd, then this scale will probably make your heart sing with its bluetooth connectivity function. This allows the scale to connect to the Brewmaster app, which in turn monitors your pour rate. A key stat for budding baristas. Lastly, a further great feature of this scale is that it is waterproof.
Coffee Scale Top Pick #3: Bonavita Rechargeable Coffee Scale
And for a further option we have the Bonavita Rechargeable Scale. This scale also weighs in 0.1 gram increments and up to 2, 000 grams. Like the Hario it does not require batteries and instead charges via a USB cable.
It also sports a count up timer function to assist you in perfect consistency in your manual brewing. Unlike the Hario is not not fully waterproof, however the Bonavita is covered in a water resistant coating.
For its functionality it is priced reasonably.
The one drawback to the Bonavita can be that its larger size requires it to be either kept permanently on the countertop, or packed laboriously in and out of a cupboard.
A thermometer is another coffee making tool that is often passed over as an essential piece of equipment for making the best coffee. First up, contrary to assumption, coffee should not be brewed with boiling water. The optimum temperature that coffee should be brewed at is 195°F to 205°F. This is the temperature where water-soluble flavor compounds most easily dissolve in water. Water reaches boiling point at 212°F. This is too high for optimum coffee extraction as it can cause an over extraction, with the result being bitter compounds released into your coffee.
Of course one can make a guesstimate as to what temperature for coffee brewing you are achieving. However being able to access the precision that measuring water temperature with a thermometer brings, is a sure fire way to consistently achieve a perfect extraction.
A thermometer is also a great tool to use when making frothed milk. Heating milk can be a tricky thing. You want it nice and hot, but boiling it destroys its natural sweetness and introduces unwanted flavors. Of course if you have a milk frothing machine such as some of automated ones listed earlier, you will not need to manually measure your milk’s temperature. However if you use a manual milk frother or a milk wand, and are doing the heating yourself, a thermometer can be a great aid in achieving perfect hot milk.
The kind of thermometer you will need for your coffee needs is the kitchen variety. An upside to purchasing one of these is of course that you can also use it for other kitchen needs. Such as beer, cheese, candy and yoghurt making.
Espresso Thermometer Top Pick #1: Norpro Instant Read Espresso Latte Steamed Milk Drink Thermometer
Measuring in at 6 inches, this pretty red stemmed thermometer is an affordable addition to your coffee making arsenal. According to reviews it measures temperature accurately. Which is highly important when working with the small margins involved in coffee brewing and milk frothing. It also comes with a shaded in red area which indicates the optimum temperature zone for hot milk.
Two small gripes voiced by buyers is that the numbers can be on the small side to read, and the dial can steam up slightly.
Espresso Thermometer Top Pick #2: Update International Dial Frothing Thermometer
If the slightly small size of the numbers on the previous thermometer worried you, then check out this model. Equipped with an extra large face and bold readings, this thermometer is easy to read. So large and easy to read in fact A the the dial can get in the way of a frothing wand!
Other than this main difference the Update International thermometer is pretty similar to the Norpro model. Measuring temperature accurately and fast, and being well priced.
Timers can be real handy when it comes to espresso and coffee making. Extraction time plays a key role in how your coffee tastes and its mouth feel. Too long and it can be bitter and acrid. Too short, and it can be weak and watery. The answer? Time it! Most of us have timers on our phones these days. Use it to time your coffee extractions and you may be surprised at the results.
If you do not want to use your phone timer for whichever reason – digital detox anybody? – here are some cute kitchen timers you can splurge on to get your coffee game even more precise than ever.
Kitchen Timer Top Pick #1: MARATHON Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Wind Up Mechanical Egg Shaped Timer
If you are on the lookout for a multipurpose kitchen timer to use for your coffee brewing, an ordinary egg timer can do the job. This one from Marathon is made out of heavy duty stainless steel, and will last for the long run.
Kitchen Timer Top Pick #2: Wrenwane Digital Kitchen Timer
And if you prefer the easy to read displays of digital timers, here is an Amazon’s choice digital timer with an extra large display reading. A magnetic back allows you to place this timer on your refrigerator door or even on the side of a metal espresso machine.
Bean Storage Container
Many of us probably have a hidden hoard of mason jars and other jars within our cupboards. These often as not can become the designated coffee storage container. However, glass jars are less than ideal for storing grounds or beans in. Why? Because glass lets the light in, and this hastens staleness in beans and grounds.
Fresh beans and fresh grounds are one of the key components to good coffee. So, having an appropriate bean storage container is a must it you take your coffee drinking seriously.
For a coffee storage container to keep your beans and grounds fresh it needs to do two important things. One: keep out the light – so no glass or translucent plastic. Two: be airtight. It’s no good if your coffee container keeps out the light but lets in the air. As this will also speed the rate at which your coffee grounds and beans go stale.
Here are some examples of great coffee storage containers.
Coffee Storage Container Top Pick #1: Zurich Coffee Vault Premium Coffee Canister
For an attractive yet functional option, the Zurich coffee vault sure ticks the box. Like many canisters designed specifically to hold coffee, the Zurich coffee vault has a one way valve. This valve keeps air from entering the canister, but allows pressure build up to release.
The reason for this is that coffee beans can release CO2 while in storage. This can build up in your coffee can and create excess pressure. The one way valve allows the CO2 to escape, while still keeping your coffee from coming into contact with fresh air.
The Zurich also comes kitted with a date dial on its lid. Where you can set the date on which you filled up the canister. This makes it super easy to keep track of how old your coffee is. As well as how much coffee you are drinking!
This canister is made out of stainless steel, which gives it the potential to be more long lasting than plastic counterparts. It also comes with a complimentary stainless steel scoop.
Coffee Storage Container Top Pick #2: Coffee Gator Stainless Steel Container
And if you after a little more color, Coffee Gator makes a very similar coffee vault, but in a variety of cheerful colors. Spes wise it is almost identical to the Zurich. It also has a one way valve to lock in freshness but allow CO2 build up to release. And it also has a date dial fitted into the lid to help you keep track of the
freshness of your coffee.
Like the Zurich the Gator container is also constructed out of stainless steel and comes with a matching measuring scoop.
Coffee Storage Container Top Pick #3: LOVFFEE Blue Ceramic Premium Coffee Container
For those of you who prefer a more traditional ceramic vessel, also take a look at the LOVFFEE ceramic line of coffee containers which come in a variety of colors. Unlike really traditional ceramic coffee jars, the LOVFFEE however also has a one way valve fitted into its lid. Which means that even in this cute coffee can, CO2 released from your freshly roasted coffee beans can escape without letting air in.
Besides this modern feature, the LOVFFEE coffee container also has a silicon protective base in order to prevent countertop scratches.
And lastly, it is even dishwasher safe.
If you are someone who makes a lot of espressos, or is about to invest in a machine, the following sections are for you. With espresso making, comes an additional set of tools which can make you life a whole lot easier. At least in the shot pulling department.
First up in these is a tamper. If you have not hear of a tamper before, here is in brief what it does and why it is needed.
When you fill up your portafilter with coffee, it is neccesary to compact it somewhat. You want to do this evenly across the surface of the coffee, in order to ensure a perfect extraction. Pressing the grounds into the portafilter with your fingers is obviously a less than professional option.
Which is why you need tamper. Tampers are designed to fit perfectly into portafilters and achieve an even compression across the puck of coffee.
When looking to buy a tamper to up your espresso anti – there are a couple key points to consider. First, the size of the tamper. The diameter must match your portafilter, eg 58 mm or 51 mm.
Next up the handle of the tamper must be easy to hold and fit well into a hand. The weight of the tamper is also a consideration. Too light and it will be tricky to get a nice compression. On a materials note, the base should be made out of food grade stainless steel.
For the sake of durability, the handle should be constructed out of something which will stand the test of time and still look good. Stainless steel coated handles for example tend to chip and start to look less than stellar with use.
There is also a last area to consider and that lies between the handle and the base. Some tampers have a spring here which helps you to achieve even tamping pressure between shots. When you reach the precalibrated required tamping pressure, the tamper lets you know by creating a click sound. Tampers with this feature are termed a calibrated tampers.
Espresso Tamper Top Pick #1: Espro 3058F Calibrated Flat Tamper
This tamper is one of the calibrated varieties. It is factory calibrated and does not need recalibration or adjustment. As far as size goes it comes with four flat base options of 53 mm, 57 mm, 58 mm, and 58.35 mm.
The base is made from solid stainless steel and the handle is an anodized aluminum handle.
The calibration on this tamper makes it a great tool for creating even espresso results. It is also ideal for someone starting out who is unsure as to what the correct pressure to apply is.
Espresso Tamper Top Pick #2: Reg Barber Espresso Tamper Blush Rose Wooden
If you are not fan of calibrated tampers, but are a fan of quality, have a look at Reg Barber’s rosewood handled tamper. They are top notch and designed to last a lifetime. If you prefer an all metal ascetic, they also have a version with an aluminium handle.
At a weight of 330 grams, the Reg Barber tampers is solid enough to deliver a good tamp with ease.
Another nifty little helper which can assist you to get the perfect puck is a distributor tool. Like tampers, these also fit directly into portafilters. The function is to smoothen out and evenly distribute the top of the layer of grounds. So that when you come along with your tamper you will create a very even density of puck.
Distributors do this in a moment, and negate any need to fiddle around with a butter knife, the back of a spoon, or worse even, one’s finger.
So if you aiming to achieve near perfect espresso, having a good distributor can really assist you to reach your goal.
Espresso Distributor Tool Top Pick #1: Coffee Distributor/Leveler Tool
The height is adjustable, to ensure great results no matter how you fill your portafilter. And if you are not happy with your purchase Coffee Nebula offers a money back guarantee.
Espresso Distributor Tool Top Pick #2: Apexstone Coffee Distributor
If you do not want to invest quite to much into a distributor tool, but do want to incorporate one into your shot pulling process, here is a budget option.
Similar in specs to the Coffee Nebula distributor, the Apexstone model is also height adjustable and has a food grade 304 stainless steel base. The top is made out of aluminum alloy with an anti-slip surface.
While we are on the topic of tamping and creating the perfect puck, another very useful addition to your espresso making arsenal is a tamping mat. Tamping mats are generally made out of rubber. They provide a good working surface for you and the portafilter to get ready for extraction. Thanks to their non-slip properties they effectively ‘hold’ the portafilter while you are distribution and tamping, and keep it from slipping.
Tamping mats also protect the table or countertop you are working on from getting scratched or cracked by the metal base of your portafilter as you are working with it.
Tamping Mat Top Pick #1: Espresso Parts Barista Basics Tamping Mat with Corner Edge
For a sleek simple option that does not cost the earth, Espresso Parts offers a good quality basic espresso mat. Made from food safe NBR rubber, the Espresso Parts tamping mat is resistant to oils, water, heat and oxidation.
The thickness of the mat is designed to protect your surface even if you are tamping espressos all day on your mat. And lastly, the mat is dishwasher safe.
Tamping Mat Top Pick #2: dobboco Espresso Corner Tamping Mat
If you want something with a little more structure, then the espresso corner tamping mat from dobboco could be a great choice. It features a convenient indentation for your espresso tamper. It also has a moulded holding spot for your portafilter. Situated on the edge of the mat, it provides a tamping position low down on the edge of the countertop which makes it easier to tamp with a straight arm.
Suitable for standard or bottomless portafilters, the dobboco is made out of food grade silicon, and is dishwasher safe.
Dosing tools are considered to be a less accurate method for measuring coffee than using a scale. However if you just cannot see yourself measuring your coffee with a scale, then investing in a dosing tool could be a good idea. A dosing tool will definitely assist a beginner in espresso making to master the art of the consistent shot.
Dosing Tool Top Pick #1: Zevro Indispensable Coffee Dispenser
Dosers come in various forms. Some are even fitted onto grinders. However if you do not have a dosing feature already on say a grinder – then you could consider picking up one of these ‘Indispensable’ coffee dispensers from Zevro.
This doubles as a coffee grounds storage container, with a dispensing nozzle attached. Although the container is see through, which is not ideal for coffee storage, it is airtight to help maintain freshness.
The dispenser puts out exactly one tablespoon of coffee at a time, at the squeeze of your hand. This allows you to be more precise than when using a tablespoon, however not as accurate as when using a scale.
The container holds up to half a pound of ground coffee, and the included base helps to keep countertops clean.
Dosing Tool Top Pick #2: Coffee Ground Dosage Ring Stainless Steel Dosing Funnel
Dosing rings are mostly similar in design and function. This one is a standard example of a dosing ring. Made out of stainless steel, this particular brand is made in the USA.
When choosing a dosing ring, the most important thing is to order the correct size for your portafilter, eg 35 mm, 57 mm, 58 mm,or 58,7 mm.
Another item you need if you are planning to be making espressos on the regular is a knockbox. Knockboxes are an ‘extra’ in the espresso making process, however a very useful extra. Baristas by and large agree that while you can get along without one, having a knockbox will great improve your workflow.
The most important and useful feature that knockboxes have is a padded bar against which you can ‘knock’ your portafilter to get the used puck out. Doing this on an ordinary plastic or metal container, bin or compost bucket can be loud, ineffective, and sometimes even lead to the container developing cracks from the impact over long term. In addition, it is more difficult to get the puck out of the portafilter this way.
Coffee making should be a joy, not a struggle, and for this reason it is a great idea to invest in good knockbox at some point.
Knockbox Top Pick #1: Cafelat Large Tubbi Knockbox
A favorite amongst baristas, is the Cafelat Tubbi Knockbox. The Tubbi is sturdy, long lasting, and the main regret seems to be that the barista in question didn’t buy the largest size. So for you we have listed the largest size, so that you do not also suffer from this regret.
According to buyers who have bought this knockbox on Amazon, it is durable, sturdy and stable. \
Knockbox Top Pick #2: Osaka Knock Box
And if you prefer neutrals, have a look at the Osaka knockbox. This knockbox is constructed out of special ABS plastic to prevent bacterial growth from the inside. The manufacturer also states that the steel bar sports a special coating made from high quality foam and will absorb most of the shock when knocking out pucks.
The base is fitted with a non-slip rubber ring to keep the Osaka knockbox from sliding around on your counter top. The Osaka knockbox is also dishwasher safe.
Customers who have bought this knockbox are overall very happy, and it has racked up a 79% 5 star rating.
Knockbox Top Pick #3: Breville Barista-Style Coffee Knock Box
If you are a Breville fan, Breville also makes an attractive and well functioning knockbox. This knockbox is a little more pricey than the previous models we looked at, however the Breville is constructed out of die-cast metal. This makes for a durable and long lasting design. The bar is constructed out of engineering-grade polymers.
For easy cleaning, the inner section is removable and can be washed in the dishwasher. Like the Osaka knockbox, the Breville also has a rubber ring in its base to prevent slippage on your counter top while you are busy knocking out a puck.
Also a crowd pleaser, the Breville knockbox has a 75% 5 star review rating on Amazon.
Coffee Art Stencils
Another nice accessory for an aspiring espresso maker to have are stencils. While they fall into the espresso machine range of accessories, they are not however a must have. As it is possible to create attractive designs on espressos and coffee drinks without the use of stencils.
However even though stencils may not be a coffee making essential, who doesn’t enjoy the effortless effects that stencils can bring?
Coffee Art Stencils Top Pick #1: Coffee Art Set – Stainless Steel Coffee Art Template Stencils Set of 4
If you just want a small set of good quality stencils, then this set may be a good choice. Made out of stainless steel, these stencils should be long lasting and easy to clean.
Coffee Art Stencils Top Pick #2: Buytra Mega Set
If you have never heard of coffee joulies before, you will be intrigued to know how they work. Coffee joulies are stainless steel capsules, filled with a phase changing material. This material has the ability to absorb heat and then slowly release it back into the coffee. This has the effect of cooling one’s coffee slightly in order for it to not burn your lips or tongue. Then this heat is released back into the coffee as you drink it, which means that it will not get cold so fast!
So if you are someone who hates burning their mouth on hot drinks – but also wishes their coffee would not get cold quite so fast, these little babies could be a great addition to your coffee drinking experience.
Coffee Joulies Top Pick #1: Coffee Joulies, Set of 5
You can pick up a set of 5 coffee joulies on Amazon if you are keen to try them out. There are some conflicted reviews on this product – with some buyers reporting that they work like a bomb, and others describing them as useless. However these coffee joulies have also been reviewed on Shark Tank and America’s Test Kitchen where they were reported to be effective. So go and check out these shows before you make a purchase and decide for yourself.
Self Warming Cups
If you are a stickler for temperature, then another cool piece of coffee gadgetry to look at are self warming mugs. These mugs are equipped with a heating function, which will keep your coffee nice and warm while you are drinking it.
These types of tech rich mugs are great for cold climates, and for those of us who are in the habit of forgetting to drink our coffee before it gets cold.
There are a variety of self warming mugs available. we have picked some of the best ones out for your perusal.
Self Warming Mug Top Pick #1: Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug
The Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug definitely earns a place at the top of self warming mugs. First up, it boasts an attractive and softened designed which is very easy on the eye. At first glance one might think that this mug is manufactured out of plastic, but this is not the case. As its name states, the Ember is made out of ceramic.
The mug contains an imbedded heating element which will keep your beverage at the perfect temperature. The mug is capable of 1 hour of temperature control if free standing. And if you rest it on its saucer shaped charging pad, it can go all day.
Another attractive feature of the Ember Mug is that you can customize the heat settings for different drinks by using the Ember app. You have the option of storing different selected temperature settings for different drinks. You can adjust these temperatures to be exactly right for you. Guaranteeing coffee drinking satisfaction from “the first drop to the last”.
Ember offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you purchase through their site directly. They also extend a one year guarantee on the mug and pad.
Self Warming Mug Top Pick #2: Ralyss Mug and Cup Beverage Warmer
This mug and pad combo is not quiet as minimalistic in design as the Ember, however it does have some really great features.
First up, the mug itself is of a generous size, and made out of porcelain, with a aluminum alloy thermal sheet bottom. The base is made from tempered glass, with silicon feet to prevent the unit from slipping, or scratching surfaces.
Unlike the Ember, this mug and warmer only has one heat setting and that is 131℉. However it is effortless to use, being fitted with an anti-gravity sensor. This means that you do not even need to switch it on and off. The heating pad automatically turns on when you place your mug onto it, and automatically turns off when you lift it off. This is perfect for energy saving.
The manufacturer states that this unit can be used all day, and has a product life of 100 000 hours. They also offer a 90 money back guarantee.
Self Warming Mug Top Pick #3: Tech Tools Retro Heated Smart Travel Mug Stainless Steel
Are you a lover of retro? If so, then this travel mug might be something after your own heart. Designed to have an analog air, this travel mug is not only stylish – but also pretty practical.
Firstly, it tells you what temperature your coffee is at. Secondly, it can plug into a car lighter, and heat up your coffee to the temperature that you like it. This makes it a perfect car companion for those of you who are on the road alot, drink in holder. If you keep this baby in your car, you can even heat up takeaway coffee in it.
This travel mug is not only attractive and useful, but also well designed. It has a non-skid rubber base, a stainless-steel interior, and thermal insulation which maintains temperatures. It also has an automatic safety shutoff feature which turns the mug off at 160 ℉.
And a last fun and funky non essential coffee accessory has to be the self stirring mug. Of course on can always stir one’s own cup (the old fashioned MANUAL way with a teaspoon), but there is something satisfying in pushing a button and watching as your coffee swirls into life. Reminiscent of clicking a ballpoint pen, but much more rewarding!
Humor aside, self stirring mugs are not all whimsical nonsense. They can actually be quite a practical choice of mug. How familiar is that feeling of having a dripping teaspoon at your desk and nowhere to put it? Or the feeling of going to the office kitchen and all of the teaspoons are dirty. Suddenly having a self stirring mug starts to make a lot of sense!
And if you are on a primal kick, you may be interested to know that self stirring mugs are absolutely perfect for making bulletproof coffee.
Self Stirring Coffee Mug Top Pick #1: Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Self Stirring Coffee Mug by Once for All
For a sleek and minimalistic look, check out this well designed, insulated, self stirring travel mug by Once for All. Made out of stainless steel is should prove to be long lasting. The company provides a 1 year warranty. The mug takes AAA batteries for powering the stirring. All you need to activate the automatic stirring function is press the button on the handle. Once your coffee has been stirred enough, simply press the button again to stop.
Self Stirring Coffee Mug Top Pick #2: Kare & Kind Self Stirring Coffee Mug
Prefer your self stirring mugs with a handle and squat design? Then take a look at the Kare & Kind model. This mug is also powered by AAA batteries and has a magnetic stirring function at is base. Made out of stainless steel it is pretty durable. It also comes with a sealing lid, which means you can take this mug along with you with no fear of spillage.
It is easy to clean and easy to use. Simply press the button to activate the stirring motion, and press it once more to deactivate.
Great coffee is an art, and for many people their profession. So it is not surprising nowadays we have access to a number of gadgets and items which can aid us in making and drinking great coffee. Many of these coffee accessories are actually quite vital to the coffee making process. For example good quality bean grinders and milk frothers. Some items such as knockboxes, will not affect the actual coffee you make, but they will make life a lot easier. Which in and of itself makes them of great value.
And the of course we have the true coffee making accessories such as stencils, joulies, self warming mugs and more. Because let’s face it, when coffee turns into an obsession, who doesn’t want a few fun things to accessorize it? If you have any great coffee accessories that you want to tell us about, please feel free hit us up in the comments.
We hope you enjoyed this article, and until next time…. Happy brewing!