If you are lucky enough to have an espresso machine at home, here is our guide for you!
Fresh coffee – we recommend using whole bean if possible
Coffee grinder, we recommend a good quality grinder (if you are using whole bean).
Tamper (see image below)
Stainless steel milk jug
Knock down tube
A damp clean cloth for your steam wand
A dry clean cloth for your basket
A blind filter for cleaning your machine
Machine and grinder cleaner
Your fresh beans should be kept in an airtight container, away from light and heat.
We recommend grinding your coffee fresh each time you make a coffee.
Make sure you keep your group head clean by back-flushing after use.
Dirty coffee equipment will taint the flavour of your coffee.
Make sure your tamp is the correct size for your porta-filter basket.
If the tamp is too small it will cause your coffee to extract unevenly.
1. Warm your cup!
Keep your coffee cup on top of your espresso machine, this will keep the cup warm.
You can also use hot water from your kettle to heat your cup.
2.Take out your group handle and make sure it is clean, warm and dry.
If your group handle is wet then you will end up with cool and dirty water in your coffee.
3. Purge the group head.
Purging is running the hot water from the group head to make sure the water for your coffee is clean and the temperature is just right.
4. Grind the coffee info the porta-filter basket
Collapse the coffee by tapping the group handle on a level bench and add more coffee if required.
The basket should be full and the coffee evenly distributed.
Use a spatula (or your finger) to spread the coffee evenly.
Make sure the group handle is level before you tamp the coffee.
5. Tamp the coffee firmly and evenly.
If your coffee is evenly distributed then you will achieve correct and even extraction.
6. Brush any grinds off the rim of the basket and then lock the group handle into the group head firmly and place your warmed cups, glasses or mugs under the group handle spouts.
7. Activate extraction immediately because leaving your coffee sitting against the hot shower screen will damage the flavour.
Always watch your extraction, ideally it will begin with a drip and then pour like warm honey.
As soon as you notice that the colour of the espresso lightens and begins to look watery, switch off your extraction.
If your extraction was too fast then adjust your grind to be finer, if slow then adjust to be coarser or adjust your tamping pressure.
The aim for the perfect espresso is 30 ml in 30 seconds.
Have a look at your coffee puck (The puck is the round disk of coffee created when the coffee is compressed into the basket), if it is wet and mushy then you may not have put enough coffee in or tamped firmly enough.
Aim for your puck to be firm and dry and for it to come out cleanly and in a solid piece when you knock it out.
STEAMING THE MILK
1.Always use cold milk of your choice.
2. Turn on steam wand to allow the steam to escape (aka purge) for a few seconds to release any water or residual milk before you begin.
3.Submerge the steam wand fully into the milk and then turn on the steam.
Hold the jug by the handle with one hand and place your other hand underneath so you can gauge the temperature.
4.Slowly lower the jug until you can hear a gentle hissing sound, this is the sound of air being sucked into the milk.
The milk will absorb the air and become textured. The more texture you want the more air you should add.
Direct the steam wand so that the milk spins around the jug.
Once you feel there is enough air then gently raise the jug and keep the milk spinning until desired temperature is reached.
The ideal temperature is 65 degrees, or until it becomes uncomfortable to hold your hand on the bottom of the jug.
As soon as you finish steaming your milk, purge the steam wand and clean with a damp cloth.
5.Pour your milk slowly into your espresso in one steady motion.
6.Always clean your espresso machine after use.
7. Always refer to your espresso machine manual for cleaning and maintenance as they may differ from one to another.
Photo credits: @kitwisephotographygc