No expense spared for home baristas

Why pay a barista $5 for a flat white when you can make it yourself for $15,000?

Coffee aficionados are investing in high-end equipment, including commercial espresso machines, to produce a professional-quality cup of joe without leaving their house.

Perth's wealthy are sparing no expense when fitting out their indoor and outdoor kitchens, luxury yachts and holiday homes with top-of-the-range espresso machines, according to coffee experts. Some houses have three machines.

Catherine Natale, from Northbridge Coffee Roasters, said there was "a lot of money in Perth".

"Some of the serious coffee machine fit-outs we've done are in the tens of thousands of dollars for beautiful homes," she said.

The most-expensive machine sold by Northbridge Coffee Roasters was a "hand-forged" La Marzocco from Tuscany worth $20,000; not including accessories, plumbing and electricity.

Mrs Natale said barista training complemented the machine's technology by providing the expertise needed to extract the best flavour from beans.

"You can buy the best machine in the world but if you don't know how to use it it's like buying a Ferrari and not having your driver's licence," she said.

A "seriously good cup of coffee" is a priority for chef Chris Taylor, who had an espresso machine installed in his kitchen eight years ago.

"The benches were specifically designed to fit it ... so my kitchen's based around the coffee machine," he said.

His plumbed-in machine handles more than 1kg of beans a week.

Five Senses Coffee's Jeremy Hulsdunk said cheap coffee machines were a waste of money because too many variables impacted on quality.

Professional machines are built with better parts that take the guesswork out of coffee preparation, but they are also more expensive.

Mr Hulsdunk said a kitchen fitted with a Synesso machine and accessories including a water-filtration system cost about $15,000.

"Essentially the people who buy that aren't looking to save money by having a home machine, they're enthusiasts," he said.

Experts said coffee fans on a budget could still make a decent brew with machines starting from $700, but they should also buy the best grinder they could afford.

“The machine's only as good as the coffee grinder, so if you buy an expensive machine and a bad grinder you're wasting your time and money," Mr Hulsdunk said.

The West Australian

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