Ahhh coffee. What I would do without you?! We did struggle whilst living in the USA and probably should have bought a machine whilst living there but instead I waiting until my recent birthday and was very generously given a Breville Barista Pro. After a lot of research online, the reviews were unanimous for this machine being one of, if not, the best ‘as close to a cafe coffee at home espresso machine’ on the market. Another great option is the Breville Barista Express which is cheaper but a wonderful machine – just youtube it!
I wanted it so I could have a quality coffee in the morning as soon as I get up. Although I have so many wonderful cafes only a street away, I was spending on average $10 a day on coffee AND to get Coco out the door just for a short walk takes too much negotiation and preparation. This machine has made my life SO much easier.
The Breville Barista Pro is definitely not a ‘press play’ type machine. Whilst it has many automatic features, there is still manual labour involved so you have more control over your coffee. I have found the built in grinder to be great (one less thing for the bench top) and the fact that it heats up in about 3 seconds means you don’t need to wait along time in the morning for the machine to be ready to go.
I then fell into a rabbit hole about how to ‘dial in’ your espresso shot. Aiming for 18g in 36g out, with a shot in 27-30seconds. It’s harder than it seems and you do waste ALOT of coffee when you start so be prepared.
The BEST and most helpful thing I did was to take a virtual 1-on-1 session with Stu from the Home Barista Coach. I watched so many youtube videos about how to dial in your espresso that I was getting so confused so I booked this session
He was so helpful in explaining the basics, helping me get the perfect shot and also how to get the perfect milk, which I was doing ALL wrong in the beginning. Just changing my milk method made such a difference.
This post on his blog is so helpful in bringing it back to basics… AND makes it look so simple!
Another thing that you realise is that buying a new machine is only the start, and unless you’re a total pro, there are many additional accessories that will make your coffee making life so much easier. My top items (listed below) are the Palm Tamper, Dosing Cup and a Scale. In terms of beans, I always buy fresh and you need to use them a week after the batch date for the best flavour. I have been using the St. Ali Unorthodox blend but as a 1 to 1.5 Ristretto output not an Espresso 1 to 2 ratio.
Currently I am working with 19g dose in on grind setting 8 and stopping when the shot is at 23g. Then I am aiming for the silky smooth milk (still being perfected) but my coffee’s have been tasting so great. I could not tell you the last time I bought one from a cafe!
I am nowhere near being able to do any type of latte art but it’s so far so good for my standard latte and piccolos which makes me happy!