In March 2020, I went on Spring Break with my girlfriend to Havana, Cuba. Internet access was limited, we had to walk to a nearby park and purchase a Wi-Fi access card that was good for about an hour for $1.
Every time we checked in, there was growing news about a virus called COVID-19.
By our 5th day in, Boston University had announced all classes were to be moved online and campus was effectively shut down.
When we returned to Boston, we followed all necessary procedures from self-quarantine, social distancing, copious hand-washing, and wearing face masks when outdoors.
Pretty soon we started to miss just waltzing into a Starbucks or a local coffee shop for a latte or cappuccino - and that's where my espresso journey began.
After doing all the research and diving into the rabbit-hole that is r/espresso, I decided to pick up my first ever (proper) espresso machine.
The Gaggia Classic Pro is among one of the most widely known and popular entry-level espresso machines on the market (according to my fellow coffee snobs on r/espresso).
I managed to pick this up over on Whole Latte Love (use this link for a discount) while they were running a St. Patrick's Day sale. In addition to this, I also bought a couple accessories that you can find here.
With the machine now purchased, it was time to move on to the most important piece: the grinder.
Any true coffee fanatic knows that you need a proper Burr grinder. When researching on what grinder to buy, I decided to splurge a little and took the advice from James Hoffman.
The Niche Zero is the result of a successful crowdfunding campaign. This conical Burr grinder is designed to have very little retention of coffee grounds (hence, the name).
Although expensive, this is one of those one-and-done products. Buy once and never have to upgrade again!
It is growing wildly popular in the espresso community and I have had no issues with the grinder at all since using it daily for the last 4 months.
In addition to the machine and the grinder, you're going to need a few more things to get your espresso station brewing. You're going to need:
Milk Frothing Pitcher (if you don't drink it black)
To get started on learning about the process of pulling a shot of espresso, I would recommend watching YouTube videos from James Hoffman, Sprometheus, RealChrisBaca, SeattleCoffeeGear, and WholeLatteLove. Of course, I'll be uploading some of my own content soon (XrisTj)!
Pretty soon, you'll be able to start pulling shots like this!
All of the gear I use can be found on my kit list here.