How To Make Espresso
Words cannot express-o our affection for espresso! The short, caffeine filled, flavor packed, concentrated coffee shot is a favorite amongst coffee fans throughout the world. Espresso machines force hot water through a compressed puck of fine grounds to create what many call the purest form of coffee that can be produced. Espresso scares a lot of people but it shouldn’t! Here's how you can make one too.
What Do You Need?
- Espresso machine + tamper
- Fine/extra fine ground coffee
- Scale in grams or tablespoon
- Stop watch/timer
How to Brew:
1) Add your water – Add filtered water into the reservoir, making sure there is enough for the desire amount of espresso(s) you want to pull.
2) Weigh, add, and tamp your grounds - Like cold brewing, espresso making doesn't use the Golden Ratio *another GASP* for beans to water. (Check out our auto-drip tutorial and others to learn more about the Golden Ratio).
For a single 1 oz shot of espresso measure out 7 - 10 g of finely ground coffee and add it to the filter basket (the portafilter as it is referred) and with your tamper, evenly press the grounds with force. This makes an even and uniform compressed puck removing any air pockets and voids. The goal is for the pressurized water to evenly pull through the grounds. For quick referencing, you can assume 1 level tbsp of ground coffee weighs 7-10g.
3) Pre-heat your machine - You're getting anxious now, I know, but before installing the portafilter basket be sure that your machine is pre-heated. This ensures that the grounds you will be brewing do not partially roast or burn before it brews, changing the flavor.
4) BREW - Once your machine is preheated, install the portafilter basket, place your espresso cup under BOTH spigots, and start the brewing! A lot of espresso machines are not automated to shut off, so don't walk away (the real show has just begun anyways... nothing else is important right now). Once you've brewed a 1 oz shot of espresso, turn off the machine and enjoy! Properly working espresso machines will pull a 1 oz shot in 25 - 30 s at 9 bars of pressure
Though an espresso seems so complicated - it's really easy. Here are some tips and tricks to help as well.
- Making for you and a friend? Most espresso machines will come with a deeper portafilter to allow you to make two shots at a time. Simply double the amount of coffee used and brew time and follow all of the same steps.
- Remove the coffee puck from the portafilter basket right after brewing and do a quick rinse of the basket with water - trust us... it's way easier now than later to get it out...
- Keep that thing clean! Descale and clean your espresso machine monthly and use filtered water for the best results
- For those that do not have an espresso machine there are other options like a moka pot or aeropress that use a similar technique of forcing pressured water through a small puck of coffee. These do not technically count as espresso but they also are delicious more concentrated options.
- You want to use a medium - dark or french roasts and blends. The high pressure and heat that comes with espresso machines can affect lighter more delicate roast profiles.