Espresso is the most complex method. The art of mastering the extraction process is the key to a great espresso. It takes time and patience to get the best result.
Whether you are a fully trained barista or a home espresso machine user, here is our guide to get the best espresso each and every time.
Fresh espresso coffee – we recommend using whole bean if possible
Double group handle (double shot)
Grinder – a good quality Burr blade grinder is recommended
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
#1 Keep your coffee cup/s on top of your espresso machine, this will keep the cup warm, which is important. You can also use hot water from your kettle to heat your cup/s.
#2 Take out your group handle and make sure it is clean, warm and dry. If it is wet use a dry clean cloth to dry.
#3 Purge your shower screen, run the hot water for a few seconds to make sure the water for your coffee is clean and the temperature is just right.
#4 Put the group handle on the set of scales and tare off. This will allow you to control and measure the dose accurately which will make it easier to reproduce the same results when you nail that espresso.
#5 Grind your coffee. We recommend a good quality burr grinder. Grind the coffee into the group handle and ensure it is distributed evenly in the basket.
#6 Place the group handle on to the scale to check your dose is the correct weight. We recommend 22g for a double – please note that this may vary depending on the size of your double basket.
#7 Before you tamp, make sure the group handle is level. Tamp the coffee firmly and evenly. If your coffee is evenly distributed then you will achieve correct and even extraction. Brush any grinds off the rim of the basket.
#8 Place the scales on the drip tray and put your heated cup/s on top of them then tare off again. This is so you can measure the shot length in grams. Our recommended ratio is 1:2 – this is the ratio of dry coffee to wet coffee. In this instance we have 22g of dry coffee and want approximately 44g yield of wet coffee when it is extracted.
#9 Remove the cup/s off the scales and lock the group handle into the group head. Start the extraction immediately and quickly place the cup/s back on the scales. You will also want to start your timer straight away as well. If you leave the group handle in contact with the hot shower screen too long before extracting you are guaranteed to wreck the flavour of the espresso.
Always watch your extraction, ideally it will begin with a drip and then pour like golden honey. You should be aiming for a 30 second extraction and approximately 44g on the scales before you stop the extraction. The volume of your shot should either be 60ml or 2 x 30ml (if using 2 cups).
#10 Taste your espresso and enjoy
#11 If you didn’t get it right the first time, you should assess the following things:
- If your extraction was too fast then adjust your grind to be finer, if too slow then adjust to be coarser or adjust your tamping pressure.
- Have a look at your puck, these are the wet coffee grinds left in the basket after extraction, if it is too wet and mushy then you may not have put enough coffee in or tamped firmly enough. If it is too dry and hard then you may have over packed it.
Adjust, repeat and taste until you nail it!
- See below instructions if you want to learn how to texture and pour milk at home.
We recommend grinding your coffee fresh each time you make a coffee.
Make sure you keep your coffee equipment clean by backwashing after use by back-flushing.
Dirty coffee equipment will taint the flavour of your coffee.
Your fresh beans should be kept in an airtight container, away from light and heat and at a constant temperature.
Make sure your tamp is the correct size for your portafilter basket. If the tamp is too small it will cause your coffee to extract unevenly.
Getting your grind right. You may need to adjust your grind settings to achieve the perfect pour. A courser grind will allow for a faster extraction time and a finer grind will create a slower extraction.
Always use a heated cup to preserve the temperature and quality of the espresso.
Also every coffee is different. If you change the coffee that you are using, you will more than likely need to adjust your grind setting to achieve the best results for the particular coffee that you are using.
STEAMING THE MILK:
#1 Fill the jug halfway (around the base of the spout) with the milk of your choice. Always use cold milk.
#2 Purge the steam wand for a few seconds to release any water or residual milk before you begin.
#3 Submerge the steam wand so it is approximately 10mm below the milk’s surface and slightly angle the steam wand. Have one hand holding the jug and the other just touching the jug to gauge the temperature.
#4 Turn the steam on and the milk should start spinning like a whirlpool. If it isn’t, try angling the jug a little more.
#5 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.
#6 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.
#7 As soon as you finish steaming your milk, purge the steam wand and clean with a damp cloth.
#8 If there are any large bubbles on the surface, firmly tap the jug on the counter to break them.
#9 Swirl your jug prior to pouring to mix the foam with the milk, this will make your milk glossy.
#10 Gently pour your milk into your espresso in one steady motion.
Always clean your espresso machine after use.
Photo credits: @kitwisephotographygc