Espresso Gadgets and Accessories
I talked about this briefly before, but buying just an espresso machine is probably not going to be enough. If you are into anything that requires milk frothing, that alone will open up a whole world of new products to try out. Making espresso actually requires an arsenal of tools and goodies you may not have even thought about. Some of them are fun and some of them you won’t even realize you need.
You have to decide how particular you want to get here because this can go in a lot of different directions. There are a ton of options for cups and, while I care a lot about my espresso, I really don’t care that much about the cups it comes in. Your options include espresso cups, cappuccino cups, latte cups, regular coffee cups, heated mugs and more. I am more than happy drinking all my drinks out of the same kind of mugs, but it’s totally up to you as far as what you want.
I have two kinds of mugs for espresso drinks that are different from my regular coffee mugs. I have wider mouthed round cups that I can make my cappuccino or latte in if I’m going to be home, and I have an insulated mug for when I’m running out the door in the morning and don’t want to burn myself while driving with an open cup.
My husband has little teeny espresso cups that make him look so dainty. He prefers to get his jolt and go, so he doesn’t need to take it on the road. Even so, if I do make him one for the drive, he’ll definitely drink it. He has an insulated cup, too.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for cups, and if you want an idea of all of the different options, go into a nice restaurant that makes drinks on the spot. They usually have a huge array of cups so you can see how different drinks are “supposed” to be served and decide if that’s where you want to put your money.
Tamp Tamp Tamp
If your espresso machine requires you to tamp down the grounds, then it probably came with a tamper in the box. That doesn’t have to be the one you stick with, however. There are a variety of them on the market that make it easy to get everything pushed down, and may get the density you need better than the one that came with the machine. They range in price, but they shouldn’t be too expensive, so look around before you buy.
Did you know you’re not supposed to froth milk in a mug? Surprise, right? Milk frothed in a mug doesn’t get the same flavor, and it doesn’t have the benefit of the particular reaction that makes it grow so much. You will need frothing containers. A quick search will show you they come in all shapes and sizes, so the best way to know what you need is to measure the clearance between the bottom of your frothing wand and the counter. You will need something that is only slightly taller than that in order to be able to still fit it under easily.
Frothing containers are just stainless steel cups that looks like small pitchers, but they are absolutely the best way to build up the milky part of your drink if you’re using a steaming wand. It’s the thing you will probably get the most use out of, aside from cups, on this list.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. When you’re done making espresso in a semi-automatic machine, you’re going to have to clean out the grounds that you worked so hard to tamp in there earlier. The things is, they’re probably pretty hot, and you really don’t want to have to touch them at this point. If you want another espresso, though, you’re going to have to remove them somehow.
That’s where the knock box comes in. A knock box is just a stainless steel (or plastic) container that you knock the grounds against to get them dislodged from the receptacle so you can make your next espresso. That’s it. Once they’ve cooled, you can empty the knock box into the garbage or, if you’re like me, put the grounds in with your compost pile as an awesome addition to the natural fertilizer you’re making for your yard or garden.
Get What You Want
But to get serious for a moment, there are so many fun and different items you can get to go alongside your espresso machine that will literally change the whole experience as you know it. Whether you’ve realized it or not, your espresso machine does not stop at just making dark, steaming liquid in a teeny little cup, and that’s certainly not how we do things here. In this world, we go big or go home… ok, so sometimes we go big and then we go home… with a bunch of fun stuff, of course.