If you want to replicate your favorite coffee shop drink at home, having the correct equipment is half the battle. If you are looking to save money by making the drink at home, or just want the joy of a homemade drink, these are the tools you’ll need.
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A major reason coffee shop drinks taste more delicious than when you try to make them at home is that they have the fanciest and best equipment to make these drinks. For some things, the tools do not matter as much, but when it comes to making espresso or frothing up milk, the equipment makes all the difference.
If you’re looking to make a latte, macchiato, cappuccino or cold foam, these tools will help you build a great at-home coffee station.
The way you brew your coffee at home creates different final tastes. I know, it seems obvious but we often forget. Using re-heated drip coffee for a latte is not going to result in the same taste as fresh espresso from your favorite shop.
If you’re trying to replicate a latte or any espresso-based drinks at home, you’re going to need a great way to replicate espresso.
Espresso is created by putting a good amount of pressure on a small amount of finely ground coffee. One of the hard things about home machines is that they don’t provide enough pressure to get the same type of result as in a coffee shop.
Also, many “espresso machines” on the market really don’t work well and aren’t worth your money unless you are able to purchase a high-end one.
So, these are my suggestions for creating a great espresso-like coffee within a reasonable budget at home.
The inexpensive option: Aeropress
The Aeropress is a really underutilized tool for making coffee and espresso.
The Aeropress requires no electricity and works by you pushing down and creating the pressure that brews the espresso. It’s portable and easy to clean. With few parts and no electronics, there isn’t really anything that can break.
But, since it’s all done by hand, it can get a bit time-consuming and will take practice to learn how to use it properly. When you get the hang of it though, it creates amazing coffee and espresso.
Other option: Moka Pot
A Moka Pot is also a great option, but it’s not something I’ve used before. It’s popular in other countries and can be a great lower priced option for espresso. You put it on the stove and the heat pressurizes it to create an espresso-like coffee.
The mid-price option: Nespresso Machines
At first, you may think a Nespresso machine is the same as a Keurig because they both use pods, but that isn’t the case.
The goal of the Nespresso machine is to make an espresso-like coffee, whereas a Keurig makes drip-brewed coffee, just in small portions.
That’s why if you are trying to replicate an espresso-based drink like a latte, macchiato or similar the Nespresso machine is a great solution.
You do need to purchase the coffee pods to go along with the machine. From there, you just pop the pod in the machine and it will brew a beautiful espresso-like coffee.
Nespresso has a few different options of machines and even has one that can brew a full “classic” cup of coffee if you’d also like that option.
The expensive option
I’m not recommending an expensive espresso machine option for two reasons.
One, I don’t have that kind of money so can’t test them out. And two, I find that the ones friends or family have had don’t work that well and often break unless you are spending close to $1,000 or over for the machine.
Milk frothing tools
A latte, macchiato or cold foam has that extra delicious taste because the milk has been frothed to bring out a sweeter taste and smoother texture. Making coffee shop-style drinks at home means you need to be able to froth milk well.
The inexpensive option: Frothing wand
The frothing wand is a cool kitchen gadget that helps you froth your milk.
To use, you hold the wand in the milk for several minutes and slightly move it around as the frother spins and froths the milk. It takes a bit of practice to do it correctly. Even as a former barista it’s always taken some trial and error to get it done right.
It’s a good option if you aren’t going to be frothing milk often or if you are just experimenting and don’t want to spend very much money.
The mid-price option: Maestri House Milk Frother
If a frothing wand is not for you, then you can get a machine that does it for you. There are a variety of options but the Maestri House Milk Frother is my fave.
I recently purchased it and have been using it nearly every day. It froths milk really well, even non-dairy milks. A major selling point for me is that it has several options. You can set it to cold froth, or pick one of three other temps. You can also select the amount of froth.
Overall it’s simple to use and has really upped my home-latte-making experience.
There are two options, one where the frothing “bowl” is attached to the machine and one where it can come off for easier cleaning. I have the one that is removable, so that’s what I’ve linked to here.
A large part of what most people love from coffee shop drinks are the flavors added to your fave drink. You’ll need to do some research (check out my recipes) on what your drink contains, and then purchase the added syrups, sauces, or mixes.
The flavor for most drinks comes from a syrup. Most shops use Torani or Monin brands for their syrups. You can purchase these syrups on Amazon, or at most grocery stores.
You can also purchase Starbucks brand syrups on Amazon, although the selection usually isn’t as good.
Several discount stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s carry these syrups at discounted prices. Another place to look is a restaurant wholesale store like Chef’s Store.
Sauces are thicker than syrups. They are used to mix into a drinks, as a topping, or drizzled on the inside of a cup.
Typically caramel, chocolate, and white chocolate are sauces, but there are others. Ghiradelli and Torani are the most popular brands.
These can be found on Amazon, or usually in the same stores as the syrups.
Mixes & Powders
There are a variety of other ways drinks get flavored beyond the typical syrups and sauces.
Matcha lattes are made using a powder.
If you have a special drink, ask the coffee shop what it’s made with.
There are a few extra things that can really up your home barista game.
Syrup Scoop & Stirrer
This tool will help you measure the correct amount of syrup and then you can also use it to stir in any ingredients.
Some places (like Starbucks) measure by pumps from a pump they put into the syrup bottles, but I find this much easier for a home barista. This way you don’t have to worry about managing and cleaning the pumps along with each syrup bottle.
A fun mug
The mug or glass I drink my beverage from really makes or breaks the experience. I have two Corkcicle mugs and love them. I can take them anywhere and they have the best designs!
Recipes to try
Here are a few of my recipes that are simple, basic places to start when creating delicious coffee drinks at home.