Gourmet espresso lovers don’t have to go to a fancy coffee shop or café to get delicious tasting espresso coffee. With the right technique, you can master the exact same steps needed to make a delightful espresso that the professionals utilize in the world’s top cafes – right in your own kitchen.
The best part is that you can do it without any expensive additions to your current espresso setup.
Coffee Bean Preparations
First and foremost, your coffee beans need to be fresh and stored in a cool, dark and dry location. This is the absolute best way to extract as much flavor as possible from your espresso grinds.
Within just 5 minutes of being ground, grinds will start to lose their flavor.
And, if you’re after the best taste possible, you want to have a bean grinder as well. This allows you to grind your coffee beans right before brewing to ensure the most flavorful shot possible.
Making the Perfect Shot of Espresso
A trick of the trade that most people don’t know is that you need to start with a warm porta-filter. Run warm water on the filter so that the brewing temperature is not altered when the espresso hits cold metal.
Now, follow these directions:
- Fill the filter evenly with coffee grounds. Use 2 tbsp. for one single shot of espresso.
- Even the grounds.
- Use a tamper by pushing downward and rotating. Tap the edges of the filter to loosen any grinds and re-tamp again. You need to experiment with the pressure applied for a lighter or stronger shot of espresso.
- Using your finger, glide your finger across the top of the coffee and remove any remaining excess.
- Purge the machine with running water to remove any grinds from inside.
This is your initial setup process. The water you add into the machine is also very important. Ensure that you use filtered water when possible.
A perfect shot of espresso will be 190 F, and will take 22 – 25 seconds to brew. You can count this time after hitting the brew button and stop the machine accordingly. When brewing for just 22 – 25 seconds, you’ll extract the utmost in flavor for a full-bodied taste.
A mild brownish colored crema should pour out at the end and develop on top of the espresso. This crema comes from the fats found within the coffee.
Crema should be on the top of the shot with a caramel appearance and a flavor that is both sweet and intense. This is a very important part of a true espresso and will make a dull flavor exude delicious smells and tastes.
The correct grind and tampering pressure will have a major impact on the espresso. Room temperature and even air pressure will result in a different tasting espresso. An art form, espresso making requires continual tweaking to ensure that espresso always tastes full-bodied and delicious.
Experiment and have fun with the espresso making process.
With the right technique and espresso machine by your side, you’re well on your way to becoming an at-home barista.