Homebrewing: How to Master Café-Quality Coffee on a Budget

With many modern coffee shops in Singapore becoming the go-to destination for that perfect cup of joe, many of us yearn to replicate the same café-quality experience in the comfort of our homes. Fortunately, achieving this dream is now more attainable than ever, thanks to advanced espresso machines like Smeg’s EGF03 – this manual espresso coffee machine with an integrated grinder promises to deliver barista-level results without emptying your wallet. In this article, we explore how you can master the art of homebrewing, elevating your coffee game while staying within your budget. 

The EGF03 as the ultimate game changer in homebrewing

Before we get into homebrewing tips, let’s take a deeper look at what makes the EGF03 a standout option for coffee connoisseurs. This manual espresso coffee machine stands out from the crowd thanks to these various features;

  • Dual thermoblock for instant gratification 

One of the common challenges in homebrewing is the time gap between brewing espresso and steaming milk. With a thermoblock system, the EGF03 addresses this issue by allowing you to steam milk almost immediately after brewing espresso. This ensures that your coffee remains hot and fresh, eliminating the risk of it going cold and stale as it interacts with the environment.

  • 58mm commercial grade portafilter

Size matters when it comes to portafilters, and the EGF03 comes equipped with a 58mm commercial grade portafilter. This larger size is typically found in most commercial settings, as most home machines have portafilter sizes ranging from 51mm to 57mm. While 58mm provides the most even form of coffee extraction, it is a rarity to find such a feature at a decent price point, making the EGF03 a cost-effective option for serious coffee enthusiasts.

  • Pressure gauge for precision 

Achieving the perfect pressure is crucial for brewing espresso, and the EGF03 simplifies this with a built in pressure gauge. This feature takes out the guesswork, ensuring that you consistently brew espresso at the correct pressure for that delightful crema and flavour.

  • Stainless steel conical burr grinder 

The grinder is at the heart of any espresso machine, and the EGF03 features a stainless steel conical burr grinder. While flat burrs are known for their consistency, conical burrs offer a quieter operation and produce less heat, preserving the flavours of your coffee beans. It is a reliable choice for those seeking quality on a budget.

  • Versatile filters for all skill levels 

The EGF03 caters to both beginners and connoisseurs by including both pressurised and non-pressurised filters. Pressurised filters are forgiving and compensate for mistakes, making them ideal for individuals who are new to espresso brewing. On the other hand, non-pressurised filters give experienced brewers full control, allowing them to fine-tune their technique to perfection. 

Mastering café-quality coffee on a budget

Now that you are familiar with the EGF03 and its remarkable features, let’s look at the tips for making café-quality coffee at home without stretching your budget.

1. Grind your beans fresh

To truly appreciate the EGF03’s stainless steel conical burr grinder, make it a habit to grind your beans just before brewing. This ensures maximum freshness and flavour retention. Adjust the grind size according to your preferred brewing method (finer for espresso, coarser for drip coffee), and remember that consistency is key.

2. Learn the art of tamping

Tamping is the process of compressing the coffee grounds evenly in the portafilter. With the EGF03’s 58mm portafilter, you have ample space to achieve a consistent tamp. Apply firm, even pressure to ensure uniform extraction. A calibrated tamper can be a helpful investment to ensure you are tamping with the right force. 

3. Precise dosing

Consistency is crucial in homebrewing – use a digital scale to measure your coffee dose accurately. The typical ratio for espresso is 1:2 (one part coffee to two parts water). For example, if you use 18 grams of coffee, aim for a 36-gram output of espresso. However, you can always modify this ratio to your liking.

4. Master the pull 

Now, it’s time to pull the perfect shot. With the EGF03’s pressure gauge, you can easily monitor the extraction process. Aim for an even, steady flow of espresso that lasts about 25 to 30 seconds. If it’s too quick, your grind may be too coarse; if it’s too slow, your grind may be too fine.

5. Frothing milk like a pro 

Thanks to the dual thermoblock system in the EGF03, you can start frothing milk immediately after pulling your shot. Use fresh, cold milk and submerge the steam wand just below the surface. Position the steam wand at an angle, creating a whirlpool effect to evenly distribute the microfoam. The goal is to achieve silky, velvety milk foam that complements your espresso.

6. Experiment and refine 

Becoming a homebrew expert involves a fair amount of experimentation. As such, do not be afraid to tweak variables like grind size, dose, and extraction time to find your perfect flavour profile. The EGF03’s versatility with pressurised and non-pressurised filters allows you to explore different techniques and coffee beans to suit your preferences.

7. Maintenance and care

To ensure your EGF03 continues to deliver excellent results, regular maintenance is key. Clean the portafilter, steam wand, and drip tray after each use. Backflush the machine with water or as recommended by the manufacturer. Additionally, regularly descale the machine to prevent mineral buildup, which can affect the taste of your coffee. 


Achieving café-quality coffee at home on a budget is not only possible but also enjoyable with the right tools and techniques. The EGF03 manual espresso coffee machine offers a fantastic platform to hone your skills and create delightful coffee experiences in the comfort of your own home.

Investing in a high-quality espresso machine like the EGF03 is a step in the right direction, and as you begin your homebrewing journey, you will find that the aroma and taste of freshly brewed espresso become an integral part of your daily routine. If you are looking to upgrade your kitchen setup, Smeg offers a range of kitchen appliances, including built in gas hobs and built in induction cookers, alongside the EGF03. Visit Smeg’s website to learn more about the EGF03, or to invest in our combination oven or selection of other kitchen appliances.