Breville makes some extremely popular consumer-level espresso machines. However, in terms of the overall workflow and shot quality, a few accessories can make a world of difference.
I am not telling you to go out and buy every single one of the accessories that I’m about to mention, but pinpointing which ones will address certain weak areas in your existing workflow can make a huge difference for relatively little money.
I’ve also tried to structure this video in a way such as the ones that I find most effective come first, and then as we progress towards the end of the article, they fall more into the nice to have a category.
Dosing Cup – (What Is A Dosing Cup Used For?)
If I had to pick only one accessory from this entire list, it would be a dosing cup without hesitation. Even on dedicated grinders, grinding directly into a portafilter can be a slightly messy affair, but the built-in grinders on Breville machines are very messy.
A dosing cup will not only eliminate runaway grinds from your drip tray and countertop but also allow you to shake out any clumps before putting the grounds into your portafilter.
This one is designed specifically for Breville machines with a 54-millimeter opening and a built-in tab to start and stop the grinder.
Breville grinders are also known to have some clumping issues, leading to channeling if they’re not properly broken up before tamping the puck.
WDT Tool – (What is A WDT tool?)
This leads to my second most recommended item, a WDT tool. While shaking in a dosing cup will help, the thin needles of a WDT tool allow you to cut through any clumps of coffee while still being thin enough not to introduce new air pockets of their own.
Now I will leave one linked below and be aware that if you want to try this technique, these are pretty easy tools to DIY.
Now that you have mess-free and clump-free grinds, you want to ensure that the rest of your setup can keep up in terms of consistency, starting with the filter basket.
Filter Basket – (What Is A Filter Basket On a Coffee Machine?)
You might ask how you can improve on a metal basket with some holes punched in the bottom? Well, much like grinds with clumps in them, a filter basket with unevenly sized or unevenly spaced holes can lead to uneven flow across the puck surface.
Aftermarket precision filter baskets such as those from IMS are made with far higher precision than those that come with the machine.
It may not be visible to the naked eye, but it’s something you’ll notice in the improved consistency concerning both the flow and final taste in the cup.
Bottomless Portafilter – (Is A Bottomless Portafilter Better)
This next item will not make your espresso better on its own. Besides looking good on Instagram, its goal is to allow you to see and evaluate what’s going on with your shot as it progresses.
With a traditional portafilter, a lot of valuable information is hidden away from view. For example, is the shot running all through the back of the portafilter because you tamped unevenly, is there squirting because you left a large air channel, or is it starting around the perimeter because the puck is too dense?
These are all things that you’re going to be able to see with a bottomless portafilter, and it will also allow you to see some of the benefits that the other items on this list are providing.
Self-Leveling Tamper – (What Is A Levelling Tamper?)
The next item is something that you might be surprised to see so low down on this list, but I did that intentionally to drive home the magnitude of the improvements that can be made through better grinds preparation and flow consistency on their own.
Once you have perfectly distributed grinds and a good quality filter basket, you’ll notice that exact tamping pressure doesn’t really play as big of a role as you might have initially thought.
What does matter is achieving a perfectly level tamp; if that’s something you struggle with, then a self-leveling tamper might be worth looking into.
I can recommend puck tampers and a style of more traditional-looking tamper with a leveling collar.
Single Dosing Hopper – (What Does Single Dosing Mean?)
Next up, we have an item that will be a very nice addition for those of you who currently use a single dosing workflow. A few months ago, I did some testing and found that the retention of the Breville grinders was around 1 gram.
This means that each time you grind, you’re getting one gram of old grinds along with the fresh beans you just ground.
To get around this, you can grind a few grams each morning to flush out those stale grounds, or you can use a single dosing hopper to make sure that there is no ground stuck in the first place.
Using these bellows, I saw the retention drop from one gram all the way down to just .2 grams, which means that you get more accurate doses and you don’t leave behind any grinds to get stale.
Metal Steam Lever
And finally, I thought we would end on a bit of a fun note with a product that is firmly in the nice to have category but is not at all a necessity. A metal steam lever to replace the somewhat uninspiring stock plastic knob.
I suppose an argument could be made that it makes the knob easier to turn, which it does, but let’s be honest, this is one hundred percent about the appearance and fun factor. Just be aware that the installation process will require some tools.
And that’s it. Those are our six must-haves and one nice-to-have espresso accessories for Breville machines.
If you’re shopping for a gift for someone, or even for yourself, these accessories are will make a great gift.