Espresso… The Cadillac of coffees. A favorite along the coasts of the Mediterranean and an increasingly popular choice in North America; there really isn’t anything like it to cap off a wonderful meal.
The process of making a great espresso will differ slightly depending on the type of machine you have, but many of them are very simple, if not completely automatic. With pro quality machines readily available, there shouldn’t be anything standing in the way of you brewing a beautiful espresso.
How To Make Espresso with a Moka Pot
The Moka Pot is a beautiful little invention that mixes the best part of convenience and tradition. It’s still an incredibly popular way to make coffee, and has been getting a boost in popularity lately. I encourage you to check out our full article on how to use a moka pot if you’re interested.
How to Make Espresso – Step by Step Instructions
1 – Prepare the Coffee: Pick your favorite Espresso and get it ready for your machine. For best results use fresh espresso beans and grind the coffee yourself. Espresso typically works best with a fine grind.
2 – Put the coffee into the portafilter: The portafilter is the part of the espresso machine that screws into the larger machine. It typically has 1 or two little spouts on it where the coffee comes out once it is brewed.
3 – Tamp the coffee: Basically, you’re just compressing the coffee down into the porta filter to make a somewhat solid puck. The amount of pressure you use while tamping will affect the final taste so play around with pressure until you find something you like. The import thing to keep in mind is that the espresso be uniformly tamped down to allow for even extraction.
4 – Set the water temperature: Some machines allow you to adjust the water temperature to make sure you’re getting a cup of coffee that’s perfectly to your liking. The ideal temperature for espresso is somewhere between 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the machine plenty of time to get the water up to temperature.
5 – Insert the Portafilter into the Grouphead: We’re now ready to return the portafilter into it’s slot within the espresso machine. Make sure you attach it securely as we’ll be sending hot water through it at high temperatures.
6 – Begin extraction: This will be a little different depending on your machine. If you have a hand pump machine, there will typically be a lever you need to pull on. This is what will be forcing the water through the coffee grounds, extracting the coffee flavour. If you have a bar-pump machine, the machine will do the hard work for you and will be able to generate a great deal more pressure than you would have ever been able to with muscle power. This extra pressure is why pump machine are generally regarded as superior to manual machines. No matter which machine you have, allow ample time for the espresso to flow into the cup to avoid a mess.
7 – Serve! Serve and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
8 – Bonus, Test It: Use the Espresso Test to figure out how good your espresso really turned out.