It is true that you do not have to be a rocket scientist to make a luscious espresso shot, but another truth is that having an expensive, fancy espresso machine is not enough to reach this goal. You will probably agree that espresso is the king of all coffee drinks, so if you are a huge fan of espresso, you need to learn how to prepare it. Get ready for a short, yet quite interesting journey when you will learn the basics of preparing the perfect morning caffeine shot.
- Make sure you use quality coffee
The coffee. Yes, that is the main ingredient you cannot start your mission without. You need a decent coffee, which will ensure you brilliant espresso-drinking moments. Hence, go for quality. Pleasure does not come at an easy price tag. This does not mean that you have to spend a small fortune on roasted coffee, but let’s say that you should look for the highest quality coffee that meets your budget. Moreover, keep in mind that dark roasts are more complex, featuring caramel and chocolate flavours, while lighter roasts tend to be more floral and fruity.
- Water and temperature
For a nice, tasty espresso, it is of the utmost importance to use quality water that features no sediment nor unwelcome minerals, which can destroy the quality of your espresso shot. As for the water temperature, 90-96 °C will be perfectly fine for your espresso preparation. If you have a modern espresso machine, you will probably have the option to control the temperature by yourself.
- Start making your espresso
Fill the espresso machine’s reservoir with cold and filtered water. As previously mentioned, make sure you are not using distilled water, since it will not only produce a terrible-tasting espresso, but it can also seriously damage the espresso machine’s inner parts. Afterwards, turn on the machine and wait for a while, so that it can heat up. Normally, it takes no more than 15 minutes. Next step is to run the machine with a locked empty filter for a couple of seconds, to bring the fresh water to the front. To check the fineness level, grind few coffee beans. If the coffee appears powdery and feels gritty when you rub it between your fingers, it means that you have hit the perfect level of fineness.
If everything seems alright, you can proceed by dosing 18-20 grams of fresh-ground coffee into the machine’s portafilter. As your coffee will be getting out of the chute, you need to rotate the portafilter to settle the grounds evenly into the basket. Next is tamping. Make sure you press evenly and to make this step easier, you can use your fingerprints as well. Before you start brewing, do not forget to return the portafilter to the grouphead. In case your espresso machine offers you the option named as “pre-infusion” stage, complete this stage first. This is important to release all the gases that have been stored before the full infusion. Pre-infusion will bring you the very first drops of espresso coming out of the portafilter. Wait for few more seconds and you will have your cup of beautiful, hot and tasty espresso ready to drink.