Giselle Gioannetti, Business Account Manager,
Bar Business TT Magazine
Having worked at a local coffee house franchise for a few weeks some years back, when discussions turn to coffee many expect there to be secrets and tricks involved in producing the perfect cup when in fact, it just requires some knowledge and practice along with the right barista tools and equipment. In addition to the obvious – a great espresso machine, coffee grinder and fresh roasted coffee beans here’s a checklist of the essential and high-quality coffee tools you need to be a “boss barista”.
Having a good grinder is probably the number one coffee tool to have if you want better coffee. Using the right grind will make or break your cup. The same goes for all brewing methods. Grind types take time to fine tune and your grind actually changes slightly depending on the beans you are brewing with.
- COFFEE TAMP
This tool is important because how you tamp your coffee will affect how your espresso shot pours. Once you grind your coffee into the brewing handle, it then needs to be flattened and compressed otherwise, the water will flow through too fast. Tampers come in a range of shapes and sizes. For commercial locations and serious home baristas, calibrated tamps are becoming more commonly used which allows you to set a pressure threshold.
- WASTE TUBE/ KNOCK BIN
This is a dedicated bin usually round or square, with a bar across the centre at the top. You ‘knock’ the coffee puck (grind) out of the portafilter basket and straight into the bin using the centre bar. Perfect for use with your brewing handle and great if you want to recycle or compost the coffee grounds.
It’s vital to have a thermometer and take the guesswork out, because nothing is worse than scorched milk. The ideal temperature of steamed milk is between 55-65°C at which perfect caramelisation of the sugars and proteins in the milk is achieved. Recent studies have shown that steaming milk 70°C and hotter, not only burns the milk but shows as possible health risks.
- MILK JUGS
Available in 360mL (12 oz.), 600mL (20 oz.) and 950mL (32 oz.) sizes, milk jugs also known as pitchers, are used to steam and froth milk. They come in a range of stainless steel and Teflon-coated colours, specially designed to aid in producing micro-foam.
- SCALE (optional)
Dosing scales are optional for home users however it’s a must for commercial locations to make sure you’re grinding and adding the correct amount of coffee to your basket and to accurately weigh your shots as they come out, for optimal quality and performance.
- ESPRESSO SHOT GLASS (optional)
Pronounced as espresso and not expresso, espresso shot glasses are highly recommended for commercial cafés, as well as home users great if you like to split your shots or if the height space beneath your handle is limited. These shot glasses are heat resistant glasses with widely used espresso volume measurements and designed in height and width to sit perfectly under any group.
- CLEANING BRUSH AND CLOTH SET
It’s important to get cleaning products designed especially for espresso machines and for breaking down coffee oils and fats that build. The Pallo brush is great to clean the group head while flushing and the cloth set is perfect for wiping steam wands and keeping the espresso machine nice and clean.