A lot of people think making espresso is hard. It's actually not that difficult, especially if you have a good quality espresso machine at home. However, it is still definitely possible to get some really nice tasting espresso from afforable home espresso machines. Here are a few tips on how to make a great espresso.
1. The most important thing for making espresso is to start with fresh, roasted beans. If your beans are more than a month old, they're probably not going to be very good. Get your beans from a local roaster, or order them online from a reputable source. If you are looking for good espresso beans, we use our espresso blend which is called Abstract Blend!
2. Once you have your beans, you need to grind them fresh. Espresso is best made with a fine grind, similar to table salt. If your grind is too coarse, the water will flow through too quickly and you'll end up with a weak espresso. If it's too fine, the water will have a hard time flowing through and you'll end up with a bitter espresso. You want the espresso extraction to be somewhere between 25 - 30 seconds. At our coffee shop, we typically hover around 27 - 32 seconds, and we grind our espresso pretty fine.
3. Now it's time to actually make the espresso. You want to make sure that with your nicely ground espresso beans, you are using the proper brewing ratios for inputting the right amount of ground espresso versus the right amount of water for brewing. The traditional ratio for espresso is somewhere between 1:1.5 to 1:2; this would mean you are using something like 18 grams of espresso and having a total weight of your espresso shot of around 27 grams to 36 grams. At our coffee shop, we typically brew with approximately 17 grams of ground espresso in and a total end weight of the shot at around 33 grams.
From there, start by heating up your machine. Tamp down the grinds so they're nice and tight, then put the portafilter into the machine and start the brew cycle.
4. Once the espresso is done brewing, it should be a dark brown color with a thick crema on top. If it's lighter than that, your grind was probably too coarse. If it's darker or doesn't have much crema, your grind was probably too fine.
5. Now it's time to enjoy! Add some sugar or milk if you like, but a good espresso should be enjoyed on its own first so you can appreciate all its flavors.
Making espresso at home is really not that difficult, as long as you have good quality beans and a good quality machine. Follow these tips and you'll be making great espresso in no time!