November 18, 2020
It’s official: once you learn how to make espresso, you’re equipped to face any challenge that your workday throws at you thanks to its strong kick!
Here’s how to use an espresso machine correctly to make the most of it without it resulting in disappointing flavors.
Your espresso machine must be on, warmed up, and with plenty of water in its reservoir. We recommend avoiding both distilled and rough tap water, opting for filtered instead.
Add around 20 g of fine Fire Dept. Coffee grounds (or just enough to fill your portafilter) and tamp them to guarantee an even extraction.
You can either use the tamper attached to your espresso machine, if it’s got one, or take your espresso to the next level by purchasing a separate barista-style tamper.
Place the portafilter into the machine, add your funkiest espresso cup underneath, and press the magical brew button.
Most machines will stop automatically but, if yours doesn’t or it requires you to pre-select the brew time, aim for 20-30 seconds.
If your espresso shot doesn’t immediately taste just like the one you tried in a café in Rome, don’t be discouraged.
A bit of trial and error is absolutely normal when learning how to use an espresso machine and dialing in the shot (just a fancy word for ‘tweaking different variables and keeping track of what works best for you’).
After checking that the pressure of your espresso machine is actually the recommended 9 bars, tweak one variable at a time depending on how your espresso tastes.- How to fix over-extracted espresso
If your espresso tastes bitter and astringent, you can try:
Does it taste sour and weak? Do the opposite!
Once your coffee tastes impeccable, write down or remember your sweet spot so that you can replicate it every time.
Here’s the thing: while there’s a popular misconception that you need a different type of blend, espresso is made with regular coffee! It just needs to be finer than the grounds used for other coffee brewing methods.
Don’t forget that learning how to use an espresso machine can mean enjoying lattes and cappuccinos, too! If you have a steaming wand, froth up some milk and add it to your espresso shot.
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