Producing delicious espresso requires patience, effort, understanding and skill. The keys to getting good espresso from a quality espresso machine include: using high quality, fresh coffee; correctly grinding the coffee with a high grade burr grinder; correctly packing the accurate amount of coffee into the basket; and extracting the coffee at the correct temperature. A critical part to to pulling consistently great shots is keeping all equipment clean.
Preheat the espresso cup as coffe especially espresso are sensitive to abrupt temperature change and this helps the final drink. Then prepare the portafilter. It is important to wipe the portafilter in order to both clean and dry the basket. This will remove excess coffee grinds which can efect the final coffee flavour and prevent build up of oils.
Grind and dose*: The coffee should be ground with a quality burr (rather than blade) grinder. This helps produce the most even sized coffee particles resulting in more even extraction, which helps reduce coffee that has increased bitterness and brings out the best flavor profile of the coffee. Next, level the coffee. Keeping your finger straight, gently glide it across the surface of the coffee of the portafilter from side to side to create an even surface. Try not to put any pressure on the coffee.
Tamp the Coffee: You want to be sure the tamper is the right size for your espresso machine. You may want to practice on a bathroom scale to discover what roughly pounds of pressure feels like. Grasp the tamper in your hand and press down on the coffee in the portafilter with ~30 pounds of pressure. The cofee should hold in the porterfilter when turned upside down. Be sure to keep it flat and even to allow the coffee to extract evenly through the portafilter.
You will need to purge the grouphead before you replace the portafilter. (Wait 3 seconds for water to come out. If it’s hissing and bubbling out of the screen, it is too hot. Wait a little bit longer for it to calm down.)
Then insert the porteafilter in the grouphead. Start the grouphead and the timer at the same time. You will need to have warm cup ready to put under the spout.
Extracting the espresso: Watch the espresso as it extracts. It should drip and steadily increase in speed, but not gush out. The whole extraction from start to finish, should take about 25-32 seconds. The ‘end’ of extraction is when there is 1.5 oz of espresso. The espresso should come out in 2 streams looking like a mouse tail.
Finally enjoy tasting the espresso! There should be a lovely velvety crema good body and delicious flavours of the beautifully roasted beans.
It’s almost never right the first time, so have patience*. Does it pour too fast? (20 seconds) You will need to adjust the grind finer for your next shot. Is it too slow? (38 seconds) You will need to adjust the grind coarser for your next shot.