Espresso is no drink to compromise. It is a conversational drink that can act as a full burst of energy to start the day or an enjoyable snack between deals. No matter how much of a binge drinker you are, it’s important to anyone to always enjoy the freshest and tastiest cup of espresso. To do this, we compiled the proper steps to make the perfect cup every time you brew it.
What is Espresso?
An espresso is no coffee; it’s more than that. It is a form of roast that increases the taste of coffee beans to form the perfect drink. You can buy any coffee as espresso, which makes it such a favorable option.
To make espresso, it requires a lot of pressure being pushed through hot water and coffee beans. It requires 9 times sea level atmospheric pressure, pretty cool, huh?
If you walk through your local grocery store, you’ll even notice that some coffee mixtures are specially made for espresso. These batches are created to roast the flavors to perfection when placed in an espresso machine.
What Makes the Perfect Shot?
- What does it mean when to drink a perfect espresso?
- What is it supposed to look like? What is it even supposed to taste like?
- Why do people like foam and why is it important?
These are all questions to consider when buying or making your next espresso for you to decide on what is a truly “good espresso.”
The cream is an important subject to tackle since some coffee shops overload on it, giving you less espresso, and much less flavor than what you could be tasting. This “cream” is a layer of brown colored foam called crema. It leaves a unique taste in your mouth when drunken to complete the espresso taste, but besides that, it leaves little structural importance to the drink.
Bitterness in coffee depends on where you get it served. Although bitterness is most commonly referenced to espresso, most coffee shops don’t serve it that away. It all depends on the roasting style of each shop or barista. Surely you’ve tried Starbucks, they offer a much bitter espresso since they over roast their coffees.
Espresso shots are different than regular coffee. Shots are more of a drip coffee, made of a different concentration than any regular drink. This you can mainly tell by the scent, shots are much more distinct and are on a far different spectrum than coffees that are regularly brewed compared to freshly brewed espresso.
So what makes an espresso perfect? The quality of the beans, barista talent, and quality of the espresso machine. A perfect espresso isn’t a simple answer. It’s a combination of different experiences brewed into one perfect sip.
- Water: Starting with water, you always want to make sure you are using non-sedimented and fresh H20. Luckily, most hardware stores carry water test kits to make sure your drink is untainted from the start. You can also call your water company on what kind of water they pump to your house. Not to mention, try checking out the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s water standard charts to make sure your water is starting off perfect. A way of keeping your water 100% fresh and free from any unwanted minerals is to invest in a Brita filter that will filter out your water for you.
- GRIND: The smaller you can get coffee beans, the better. Since you are pressurizing hot water through your coffee grounds, you want to make sure they are finely cut for better flavor and less chance of grounds getting in your espresso.
- DOSE: Always use 17-22 grams of ground coffee for a standard serving size. However, you can always adjust the dosage due to how big your mug is or for how many people you are making it for. Not to mention, if you desire a stronger or lighter strength in taste. It’s entirely up to your own customization.
- TAMP: You need to compact your coffee grounds with a tamper for the ingredients to react accordingly. Try using a 30-pound press and evenly compact your grounds into the tamp. Remember, the firmer and more level the better your espresso is going to taste.
- TEMP: The best temperature to heat your coffee is 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit. Although most espresso machines allow you to set this standard temperature, feel free to adjust to your desired temperature. The higher the temperature, the more toasted your coffee will taste, and the lower the temperature the brighter it will taste. However, for the first couple cups, let the machine do its job so you can get a better feel of what you want to be tasting every morning.
- YIELD: To determine the yield of your espresso, you must look at your coffee input and espresso output. It is also dependant on your dose and the size of your basket, but an output of two ounces of espresso is a good starting point.
- TIME: The brew time really depends on your dose and yield. For the yield and dose we recommended, it should take about 30 seconds for your cup to fill.
How to Make the Perfect Espresso
- Hook up your espresso machine to your water line or fill the reservoir with water. Only brew with cold, filtered water. Having a good water supply is the first key to making the perfect espresso.
- Turn your machine on to provide ample time for it to warm up. Warm up time can last between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on the size of your machine. Wait until the whole machine is warm; don’t start brewing as soon as the machine reaches ideal brewing temperature.
- For a couple of seconds, let the machine run with an empty portafilter in place. Doing this will heat the parts of the machine that are closest to your coffee and bring fresh water to the front of the machine for use. After you do this, wipe down the portafilter and the grouphead so you are dealing with a dry and clean setup for your real espresso.
- Grind the beans of your choice. Make sure they are the perfect level of fineness. The ground coffee should look loose and powdery, but still feel gritty in your hands.
- Put your coffee grinds in the portafilter. Periodically rotate the portafilter to ensure the grounds settle evenly and always remain level.
- Tamp your coffee. For proper positioning, make sure your arm and elbow are positioned directly over the center of the basket. Press as evenly as you can. When you are finished, check the dry puck to make sure everything is level.
- Place the portafilter back in the grouphead and start brewing your shot.
- Before serving your shot, stir or pour the shot into a different cup to create crema.
Tips for Perfection
- – Buy fresh coffee, preferably in an espresso blend or whole Brazilian bean.
- – For a better taste, grind your own beans.
- – Espresso is brewed at 195 °F to 205 °F. Some machines need a warm-up shot before they can brew the perfect espresso.
- – Your grind should be an espresso sized grind. The grind determines the tamping force, which will help you make the perfect shot. A finer grind will provide lighter tamping.
- – Use between 20 and 30 pounds of pressure when you tamp. If you are a beginner, it is a good idea to tamp on a scale until you get a feel for it.