While it is important to support your favourite local cafés, there’s nothing quite like learning how to nail the perfect cup of coffee at home. That satisfaction is almost as good as that first-morning sip.
If you’re looking to extend your skills past “boil kettle, add instant coffee” into something that tastes as good as the stuff made by your favourite barista, here are a few accessories and makers that’ll help you make and master a cafe-tier cup from the comfort of your humble abode.
This article has been updated since the original publish date.
The best coffee-making accessories
Good coffee beans
This one should be pretty obvious, but finding good beans isn’t just about paying $20 for 350 grams of a local roast with a cute label, because you also have to like the coffee that said beans produce.
It takes a lot of trial and error to discover the beans and roasts your palate prefers — whether that’s darker, richer roasts or those with notes of chocolate, caramel, and honey. It’s worth it to buy a bunch of different beans and brew them in a few different ways to figure out what kind you like the most.
Where to buy: Amazon Australia ($24.50/kg)
Wall-mounted coffee pod dispenser
If you own a capsule coffee machine, you’re probably at a loss for how to store those damn pods. While you can always leave them in the box, it’s not exactly an elegant look on your kitchen bench.
That’s why we opt for this capsule coffee dispenser, which you can mount to your wall. Simply slip up to 20 single-serve coffee pods and pluck one out each morning as you prepare to make your cup of joe.
Alternatively, you can get this stand-up pod dispenser ($18.99) that can house 40 Nespresso pods.
Reusable Stainless Steel Coffee Capsules
This Australian-made, zero-waste, refillable coffee pod is the answer to never having to buy those single-use plastic pods ever again but still getting the perfect cup at home.
All you have to do with one of these coffee tools is simply fill the capsule with your fave ground beans and empty the waste in your garden after. Endlessly reusable, easy to clean and refill, all the while stopping coffee capsules from going to landfills.
Where to buy: Biome ($39.95)
An automatic milk frother
Whether you’re a cappuccino drinker or not, there’s nothing more comforting than adding silky, frothed milk to your coffee. Yes, it’s a little tricky to aerate the milk while still keeping it hot enough to not result in a lukewarm beverage, but with a little practice, this Lavazza MilkUp frother will do the job.
A handheld foam maker
If you want something a lil’ more foolproof, this handheld electric foam maker will have your milk frothed in seconds, giving it that I-just-went-to-my-local-cafe finishing touch without the price tag. If you favour plant-based milk, this handy guide will help ensure you get the best froth every time.
A coffee grinder
While it’s convenient to buy pre-ground beans or get them ground at the store, you’ll always get the freshest taste from beans you grind yourself — and coffee snobs swear by their grinders. Some swear you actually get better results using a hand grinder too.
Where to buy: Amazon Australia ($39.99)
A digital scale
You’ll be more precise in figuring out your ideal water-to-coffee ratios through the use of a digital scale. It doesn’t need to be fancy — you can find one that will do the job for around $30.
There are many resources online to help you figure out exactly how much water and coffee you need, by weight, to make the perfect cup via your preferred brewing method. (Here’s a good calculator if you use a French press.)
Where to buy: Amazon Australia ($16.38)
Ice cube trays
Iced lattes are the caffeinated drink of the moment for a reason. To create this delicious, cold treat, try making ice cubes out of coffee, which is the best way to chill your caffeinated beverage of choice without watering it down.
The best coffee makers and machines
A coffee filter and dripper
There are many ways to make coffee, and there are good and bad things about all of them. There are many more bad things about some of them; convenience aside, there is no good reason to drink anything that came out of a pod, and in our experience, good cups of percolated coffee are few and far between.
There are lots of coffee drippers to choose from. Some have built-in metal filters; some require paper filters. We like this glass one from Hario, which is cheap and sturdy and can brew one to four cups at a go.
A French press
The Bodum French press is a perfectly cromulent brewing method and a lot better than using a drip coffee maker (a device best left to diners, petrol stations, and office kitchens that haven’t been updated since the 1980s).
A Moka pot
Want an easy way to make coffee that isn’t a pod machine? Then try a Moka pot, which is a stove-top coffee maker. The water, which is located in a lower chamber, will heat and use pressurisation to extract the coffee grounds into the pot’s top chamber.
Bialetti has firmly established itself as the go-to brand when it comes to stove-top coffee pots, and the Moka Express is great for beginners and loved by the pros. Just add some water, tamp your grounds into the filter, then whack it on the stove for about five to 10 minutes, and you’ll be enjoying a delicious cup of coffee in no time.
A pod coffee machine
Depending on how many cups you and your household drink, it might just be time to bite the bullet and order a full-on coffee machine for your home. If you aren’t up for the more of using a barista-style coffee machine, then the whole one-press-and-you’re-done thing of a pod coffee machine is pretty enticing.
When it comes to coffee machines, there are a fair few that Lifehacker Australia recommends. Here are some of our favourite pod coffee machines and where to buy them:
- Breville Nespresso Essenza Mini Bundle: Amazon Australia ($247.20) | eBay ($284)
- Lavazza A Modo Mio Smeg: eBay ($349) | The Good Guys ($349)
- Lavazza A Modo Mio Deséa: Amazon Australia ($289.99) | eBay ($299)
The home barista coffee machine
If you’re itching to have the full shebang at home, this Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine is fitted with all the trimmings to make the perfect cup of coffee. It includes dose-control grinding, precise espresso extraction, micro-foam milk texturing (perfect for homemade latte art), as well as a grind-size dial.
These machines definitely don’t come cheap, but it helps to think of the cold hard cash you’ll be saving while making your barista-approved coffee at home.
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.