Here’s a list of my favorite tools, products, and resources for drinking coffee or espresso at home.
When coffee is made with the right equipment, technique, and coffee beans, it’s worth the investment that pays for itself rather quickly.
Breville Oracle Espresso Machine: About five years ago, I purchased a good quality espresso machine. I did a lot of research and decided to buy The Breville Oracle. The Breville Oracle is straightforward, despite how complicated and fancy it looks. It also comes with everything you need, including a built-in grinder.
Beans: Some of my favorite roasters are Temple Dharma Espresso, Panther Coffee East Coast Espresso, Tartine’s ’04 Latin America blend, Heart Stereo Espresso, and Vesta Goosebumps Espresso Blend.
It is essential to buy espresso beans if you use an espresso machine. Espresso is roasted for a longer time, usually past the second crack, so it has a toasted and deeper flavor. The beans are also roasted for longer, removing a lot of the acidity while releasing more oiliness. This creates a heavier, fuller feeling in the mouth.
It is also essential to buy a bag of beans within two weeks of the roast (this date will be written somewhere on the bag), so you can drink it within one month of roasting. This is when it will taste the best.
Beanz.com: Find local coffee beans from small-batch coffee roasters and deliver them directly to your door weekly or monthly.
Breville Bambino Plus or Bambino Regular Espresso Machine: The Breville Bambino Plus or Breville Bambino Regular Espresso Machine is the best for beginners. You can explore three heat and milk texture settings without a device taking up half of your kitchen counter. It’s ideal for apartments, offices, and small kitchens.
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine in Pink: The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine in Pink is on my wish list. Silvia Pro X is available in 4 colors: stainless steel, black, white, and pink. This is the machine to purchase if you are a little more advanced. It’s a reasonable price for the espresso quality it can make. It’s easy to use, simple to clean, fast, reliable, and light to maintain. It’s also the machine many barista pros use at home.
Baratza Encore Grinder: Never get your beans pre-ground. Invest in a grinder at home and grind your beans before you make your pour-over or espresso. This will allow for optimum flavor. Many baristas recommend the Baratza Encore grinder. I use the Rancilio Coffee Grinder.
Nurtamilk: Nutramilk makes a variety of nut butter and milk in a short amount of time. After a few months of use, it will save money and is worth the investment. You can use a VitaMix to make a variety of milk, but you have to soak the nuts overnight and then strain the milk, which does everything for you.
NuMilk Home Machine: The NuMilk home machine will be available soon. It is easier to use than Nutramilk, but you cannot make nut butter. I have sampled the oat milk at Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine. I liked the taste, and the baristas gave their product a thumbs up.
RDY App: The RDY App is a must if you like supporting local coffee shops. You can skip the line by ordering on the app and earning rewards. In my guide below, most coffee shops I list are featured on the RDY App.
Roasters App: This app helps you locate coffee shops around the world.
Coffee Subscription: Shop the best specialty coffee subscription from the nation’s best roasters on Trade. Fresh coffee roasted to order and delivered right to your door. A coffee subscription makes a great gift.
Minor Figures Unsweetened Barista Blend Oat Milk and Minor Figues Barista Blend Oat Milk: If I do not have time to make homemade milk, I like to use Minor Figures Unsweetened Oat Milk. Some of my favorite coffee shops also use Minor Figures Barista Blend Oat Milk.
MCT Oil: MCT Oil is an energy source found in coconut oil, which provides quick energy that lasts, and aids in the absorption of caffeine from coffee. It also reduces the coffee’s acidity so you can drink it on an empty stomach! I’m not sure how valid those claims are, but I notice that I feel significantly less jittery and more focused, and it works as an appetite suppressant. Start with some MCT oil and work to the recommended one to two teaspoons.
Mr. Black Cold Brew Espresso Coffee Liqueur: The best liquor for espresso martinis.
Táche Pistachio Milk. This pistachio alternative is subtly nutty and froths well.
Aeropress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press: I use Aeropress for Espresso if I’m traveling and will not have time to visit a local coffee shop.
Taika Latte: Taika is an adaptogen-infused coffee that’s designed to provide a boost of energy without making you feel wired. Taika offers four drinks: black coffee, oat milk latte, macadamia latte, and matcha latte. The oat and macadamia lattes are sweetened with allulose and monk fruit.
Bulletproof Creamer: Bulletproof Original Creamer is a keto coffee creamer made with grass-fed butter and MCT oil. Combining these quality fats with coffee gives you Bulletproof Coffee: a rich, satisfying drink that kick-starts your day and keeps you strong. I like the vanilla flavor. I also use Bulletproof Vanilla Collagen Protein Powder. The creamer tastes better in coffee. I prefer collagen protein powder if I make a protein shake.
How to Make the Best Coffee at Home by James Hoffman: Coffee guru James Hoffmann is a former world barista champion and runs Square Mile Coffee. James knows everything about coffee. If you want to improve your at-home barista skills, this book is for you. James teaches you everything you need to know to make consistently excellent coffee at home, including how to grind coffee; the basics of brewing for all major equipment, understanding coffee drinks, from the cortado to latte; the perfect espresso, and more!
PUQpress Mini: The PUQpress mini is the world’s first precision coffee tamper. Any professional barista will tell you that to enjoy the best coffee at home, you need a proper machine, a sharp grinder, and many hours of practice tamping coffee. Tamping is 95% technique and can lead to all sorts of hard-to-find problems like channeling or uneven pours. Remove and automate the whole variable with the PUQpress Mini.
Learning how to pull espresso involves a lot of trial and error, tasting bitter coffee, and trying again.
Some great tutorials include Whole Latte Love’s machine-specific tutorials, Seattle Coffee Gear’s videos on making specific drinks, Barista Hustle, Breville Tutorials, and European Coffee Trip’s how-to on making latte art.
Scott Rao’s The Professional Barista’s Handbook contains espresso theory and science.
The best training is taking a hands-on class taught by a barista pro. A barista pro will help you understand what changing variables like grind size, beans, temperature, extraction time, and pressure can do to your coffee.
Function Coffee offers private classes and coffee equipment repair if you live in Philadelphia.
Counter Culture offers classes at various locations, including Dallas, Miami, and D.C.
Check with your local coffee shop about classes for the at-home barista. You can also hire a barista pro to come to your home.
I make my version of Bulletproof coffee. I started drinking an espresso version of Bulletproof about four years ago. I began because I’d heard that it keeps you full for longer. Strict Bulletproofers have coffee as their breakfast. I also heard that the high-fat content is supposed to help the caffeine release gradually. MCT oil is an energy source found in coconut oil, which provides quick energy that lasts, and aids in the absorption of caffeine from coffee. It also reduces the coffee’s acidity so you can drink it on an empty stomach! I’m not sure how valid those claims are, but I notice that I feel significantly less jittery and more focused, and it works as an appetite suppressant. Start with some MCT oil and work to the recommended one to two teaspoons.
You can follow the original recipe, but here’s what works for me. I make espresso, steam ¼ cup of non-dairy milk, add one teaspoon of MCT oil or brain octane oil, one tablespoon of Bulletproof Vanilla Collagen and blend the contents in a Nutrabullet or use an immersion blender. You can also use Bulletproof Hazelnut or Vanilla Creamer and omit the butter and MCT Oil.
My Favorite Coffee Shops:
- Davis / Temple
- Los Angeles / Go Get Em Tiger / Dayglow / Bar Nine
- Long Beach / Steelhead
- Marine Del Ray / Ten
- Palm Springs / Cafe Ka Jefa
- Sacramento / Temple
- San Diego / Lofty Coffee
- San Franciso / Tartine / The Coffee Movement / Verve / Hedge
- Santa Barbara / Dune / Caje
- Santa Monica / Upgrade Labs (Bulletproof Coffee) / Gnarwhal
- Denver / Sweet Bloom
- Wilmington / Brandywine
- Boca Ratan / Mane
- Ft. Myers / Shift Coffee Bar
- Jacksonville / Ground Level / Bold Bean
- Lakeland / Concord
- Gainesville / Concord
- Miami / Threefold Cafe / Panther
- Orlando / Deeply
- Sarasota / Breaking Wave
- St. Pete / Bandit
- Tampa / Kingstate
- West Palm Beach / Composition
- Boise / Form and Function
- Louisville / Sunergos Coffee
- Baltimore / Artifact Coffee / Good Neighbor / Sophomore
- Hyattsville / Vigilante
- College Park / Vigilante
- Boston / KoHi
- Minneapolis / Vitality
- Bozeman / Treeline
- Omaha / Archetype
- Las Vegas / Vesta
- New York / Mast Market
- Providence / Bolt
- Austin / Machine Head
- Dallas / Houndstooth
- Longview / Silver Grizzly
- Lubbock / Monomyth
- San Antonio / Revolution
- Waco / Common Grounds
- Salt Lake City / Three Pines
- Milwaukee / Likewise
Aruba / Island Grind
Istabul / 4L
Download this PDF to save the list of coffee shops ⬇️
I’d love to hear more about your favorites in the comments below!
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