An Italian Barista Shares Her Top Tips for Setting Up Your Home Coffee Station

published Nov 27, 2022
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Credit: Leela Cyd

It’s delightful to start your day with coffee at your favorite café, but there’s a DIY option that can be just as fun (and significantly more cost-effective): Make coffee at home like a barista would. Read on as Sara De Luca, barista, founder of California-based Invita Café, and granddaughter to an Italian nonna shares her best tips for doing just that.

1. Pre-warm your cups.

The key to a good espresso lies in the heat of the cup, according to De Luca. “Pre-warmed cups retain crema for longer and allow for the full fragrance of the brew to develop,” she says. “Make sure your espresso machine has a good heated platform where you can lay out your cups to have them hot and ready for you or any guests.”

2. Get innovative with your add-ons.

To add a little more oomph to your coffee, stock up on some premium dark chocolate syrup. “Adding chocolate to espresso is popular in Italy and adds just the right amount of sweetness,” she says. “A dollop of chocolate syrup, espresso, hot milk, some cocoa powder and voilà … you’re sweetened up for hours!” 

3. Always use high-quality milk.

This will create a thick and creamy cappuccino or macchiato. “If your milk is good your cappuccino shouldn’t need sugar,” she says. “When the milk is heated properly the natural sugars of your milk should make your cappuccino taste naturally sweet.”  

4. Source cool containers for coffee accessories.

Cocoa powder and spices like cinnamon or nutmeg can make the simplest drink feel luxurious. “Visit your favorite local houseware store to find the perfect matching glass set of shakers to decant your spices and create a sleek, cohesive look,” she says. “Displaying your spice selection on a rack or tray creates the cutest little station — especially during the holidays.” In addition, consider displaying your sugar options in a cute cappuccino cup and saucer. “It’s minimalistic but can add just the right touch of warmth,” she says.

5. Keep your coffee station clutter-free.

In the end, a home coffee station should display only what you need without packing the space. Ultimately you want to make sure you have plenty of workspace so you can serve all of your guests at the same time, too. “Try not to clutter your station so everything has room to shine,” she says.