FAQs and Favorites Digest


Questions and Answers Help!?! Where do I start looking for answers! It's become increasingly difficult to find (and refind) the most popular and informative espresso-related topics among the various forums. To make it easier for you to get started and to help you navigate to topics that interest you, this article contains links to the best topics, categorized by forum and subject area.

Best of the forum FAQs

Choose from one of the FAQs and Favorites below:

  • All: Exhaustive list of all FAQs and Favorites.
  • Read me: Tips on site usage.
  • Buying Advice: Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
  • Tips & Techniques: Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
  • Espresso Machines: Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
  • Lever Espresso Machines: A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
  • Grinders: Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
  • Coffees: Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
  • Coffee Brewing: Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
  • Home Roasting: Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
  • Water: Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
  • Knockbox: Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.

Tip: If you're new to making espresso at home, don't start with the forum's FAQs and Favorites. Instead, gain espresso preparation's prequisite knowledge by spending an evening on the site's recommended reading.

Unabridged FAQs and more

If you wish to explore a wider range of topics, some of which may be humorous, others that may be more esoteric, consult the exhaustive list of FAQs and Favorites. If you're looking for something amusing or occasionally thought-provoking, check out the site's Quotable Quotes.

Helpful search tips

You can narrow the search engine's scope by specifying with the site:home-barista.com parameter on Google. For example, Google's measure brew temperature site:home-barista.com. For your convenience, the site includes a custom Google search field on the main Search page similar to the field shown below:


As noted in the site's Guidelines for productive online discussion, long-time members are more likely to offer thoughtful responses to newcomers if some initial research is done beforehand. The tips below can help your searches be more fruitful:

  • FAQs and Favorites - Open the FAQs and Favorites digest for a given forum from the list of pages above or the Unabridged List of FAQs and Favorites. Type Ctrl+F to open the browser's search entry field. Type a broad keyword (e.g., "temperature" or "portafilter"). In Firefox, click the Highlight all checkbox. Skim the page by clicking Next; often you'll find your answer within the first 4-5 matches.
  • Native search - although search engines like Google do a fine job indexing the site, the native search is sometimes better. For example, the native search checks for common site-specific abbreviations (e.g., PF, OPV) and can search by author. The default display for results is by posts, which may return too many pages for broad searches. Try switching to Display result as: Topics. If you have a good idea of the topic title, limit the search to it by selecting Search within: Topic titles only. Similar strategies can be used to search by author. The native search also supports limited expressions like NOT (e.g., the search "izzo alex -duetto" searches "izzo alex" by topic title only and excludes "duetto").

Recommended Reading

The site's must-read articles document the basic barista knowledge and techniques that apply to all espresso machines. Whether you are new or experienced to making espresso at home, reading The Home Barista's Guide to Espresso is time well spent. It covers a lot of ground and demystifies the key elements of espresso preparation. The guide is not just about techniques and equipment, but also about the reasons behind them.

If you prefer video instruction, check out the Newbies Guide to Espresso video series. Even though the serie's main audience are those new to making espresso at home, it contains insights that more seasoned baristas may appreciate. If you only need a quick overview of espresso machine types, read Espresso Machines 101. These articles offer more diagnostic advice:


For HX espresso machine owners, add How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love HXs to the list of recommended reading. These how-tos aren't specifically addressing the usage of a particular machine, but they build the foundation of knowledge that will carry a home barista well beyond the early learning stage. These and other noteworthy articles on the web are listed in this article and on the site's Resources page.