Getting the best from your Espresso

The espresso machine is considered the ultimate in-home brewing experience, but the reality is that it’s all down to personal taste. They are the most expensive option of all the methods and the hardest to get right. However with a bit of patience and practice you can enjoy a latte or flat white from your sofa which will be far superior to anything you’ll find in a Starbucks or costa.

Things you’ll need to make one cup of coffee (individual serving)

  • Fresh-roasted coffee
  • Scale (optional)
  • Grinder (optional, if you don’t have a grinder you will need pre-ground beans)
  • Espresso Machine
  • Tamper
  • Cup(s)
  • Timer


Follow this step by step guide to get the best from your Espresso machine or watch the video at the bottom of the page:

  1. Remove your portafilter from the espresso machine’s grouphead. Ensure its clean and dry and place it on a scale and tare the weight
  2. Purge your grouphead thoroughly by running hot water through it while there s no portafilter in
  3. For a double shot, use between 18 – 22 grams of coffee. Spoon of grind this into your basket. The proper grind is crucial to a balanced, delicious shot of espresso. It might be necessary to adjust its fineness a bit. In general, the grind ought to be quite fine
  4. Distribute the coffee by drawing a finger across it in a series of alternating swipes. It is most effective to alternate sides in a series of 90 degree increments (top to bottom, then left to right, and so on)
  5. Place your portafilter on a clean, flat surface and position your tamper level on top of the grounds and push gently, give the tamper a gentle spin. This will smooth the grounds for an even extraction
  6. Position the portafilter in the grouphead and start your shot.
  7. The shot should start with a slow drip, then develop into a gentle, even stream. Near the 30 second mark, the extraction will end, causing the shot to thicken and start blonding, or turning yellow. Stop the shot just as this process begins. The espresso should flow like runny honey, if it comes out too quick and watery then your grind is too course. If it only drips out, then your grind it too fine. You can adjust the grind until you find a good balance
  8. Your milk depends heavily on the type of espresso-based coffee drink you are trying to create. Milk for a latte is prepared differently to that of a Cappuccino. There are different guides out there for each different drink and you can spend a lifetime perfecting your latte art. However, for a generic silky smooth milk we can recommend, placing the wand just below the surface of the milk and keeping the jug at an angle. Always keep one hand of the bottom of the jug. Turn on the steam wand and keep the wand below the surface of the milk. When the bottom gets too hot to hold then turn off the steam and remove the wand. Always wipe and purge the wand. Tap the milk jug gently on a hard surface to remove the smaller bubbles. Pour the desired amount of milk gently into your espresso


Or watch this video:

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