Your first of espresso of the day, might be something you really look forward to and take time to savour. Alternatively, it might be a quick caffeine hit on the way to the gym. However you look at it, here's our top 5 tips for making the perfect espresso at home:
1. Follow a Recipe
You wouldn't measure the ingredients for a cake by eye, right? Well, if you do it's unlikely we'll see you on Bake Off any time soon. So, why take a chance when it comes to espresso?
Use a quality, whole bean coffee, such as our Classic or Revive Blends. Ideally, wait 4 - 5 days after the roast date before using. This allows gases created during roasting to dissipate and the water to do a better job of extracting the flavours from the bean.
We recommend using 18 grams of coffee beans for a double shot. Aim to extract 40 millilitres of coffee plus the crema on top in about 25 – 30 seconds
2. Get the Grind Right
Use a pair of scales to weigh out the beans. If you know you won’t have time in the morning, weigh batches of beans into tiny jam jars or plastic containers that have an air-tight lid and you'll be set up for the week.
Fill the grinder with just enough beans for each shot and adjust the grind setting so that the espresso runs through in about 25 – 30 seconds. The arrows on the grinder will show which direction to turn for fine and which for coarse.
It will take a few goes to get things right. Make the adjustments with the grinder empty for best results. Make ever smaller adjustments until you zero in on the perfect shot.
Take time over your grinder settings
3. Tamp the Coffee Firmly and Evenly
Place the edge of the portafilter on a level surface. Tamp evenly and firmly. 'Firmly' means about 30 lbs of pressure, or a strong hand shake. You are looking for a flat, uniform surface to the coffee, not lopsided and with no indentation. This will help the water to pass through the coffee and extract the flavours evenly.
4. Temperature Surf
Unless your espresso machine allows you to set the temperature to a specified level, then the water temperature will probably be controlled by a thermostat. Thermostats are a crude device for regulating water temperature and there will be a tendency for the water to be slightly too hot at the point the thermostat clicks off.
Water which is too hot will scorch the coffee grounds resulting in some bitterness in the espresso. With the portafilter detached, we recommend waiting for the thermostat to click off and then flushing a tiny bit of water through the system to take the temperature down a little before re-attaching the portafilter and pouring the actual shot.
5. Keep it Clean
So now you are enjoying your much-improved espresso. Make sure it stays that way by looking after your machine. Clean coffee grinds from around the group head after every use, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for back flushing the machine at least weekly. This way you will avoid the build-up of oils and debris which over time can taint the flavour of your espresso, restrict water flow and ultimately damage your machine.
Our Classic Blend makes for great espresso
Espresso is a difficult to drink to make, but by following our 5 tips you should notice a considerable improvement in the quality and consistency of your favourite brew.
Tweak the recipe until you have a nicely balanced espresso, full bodied, neither sour or bitter.
We've some fantastic blends and single estate coffee's which will make for a great espresso. Why not visit our Online Store.