You will need an espresso machine, a grinder (built-in or a burr grinder), a filter (a double basket in a bottomless portafilter), and a gram scale. Pour cold, filtered water into the machine’s reservoir and heat this for 15 min. Tamp, with even pressure of your fingers, finely-ground coffee beans into the portafilter. Place the portafilter in the grouphead and start brewing. Experiment with coffee blends.
If you love your espresso, you may like the idea of making it yourself. But isn’t this difficult to do?
It may seem complicated when you watch it being made in a café, but actually you can do it yourself at home with the right equipment and ingredients.
Here is a guide to getting started with making espresso so you can become a barista in your own home.
Gather The Right Equipments
Making a successful espresso is all about using the right equipment. Unlike making a standard coffee, there is a lot involved in making an espresso, and it goes way beyond simply putting on the kettle.
An Espresso Machine
First of all, you will need an espresso machine. This is absolutely essential, and it will also be your largest investment. You get what you pay for with espresso machines.
They can range wildly in price, but you should always choose a high-quality machine with solid components. Try to get one with a simple interface as well, and you won’t need a large one unless you plan to serve lots of people at once.
You will also need a grinder. You will want to grind your beans yourself to ensure they are fresh when you make your espresso. Use a burr grinder for the most consistent results.
Some espresso machines have grinders built in, so this is something else you may want to look for.
For the filter, use a double basket in a bottomless portafilter. Then find a tamper that fits tightly into the basket. This will lead to a more even extraction.
A Gram Scale
A gram scale is also useful as it will help you to monitor the parameters and will lead to more consistent results. One that can measure from 0.1 grams upwards is ideal.
Choose Your Blend
There is not much to say about the blend of coffee, other than – Experiment! Only you will know which type of coffee you prefer, and that will come down to trying out a range of blends to find the ones you like.
Whether you keep it simple or you opt for a double cup of blended java beans, or you experiment with beans from different countries, just make sure you try out a range of options until you find some that you like the best.
The Espresso-Making Process
Making espresso is an art form, and all baristas have a slightly different way of making their perfect espresso. So this all comes down to practising and coming up with your own method. However, you have to know the basics.
- First, fill the reservoir of your espresso machine. The water should be filtered and cold, and you do not want to use hard water.
- Let the machine heat up before you make the espresso. This should take about 15 minutes for a small machine, and the machine should feel warm before you use it.
- Next, grind the beans. Make sure they are fine enough, and they should have a powdery appearance.
- Get rid of any old grounds left in the grinder before you add them.
- Then add them into the portafilter, and press the grounds in with your finger.
- Next, tamp with an even pressure. Then place the portafilter in the grouphead and start to brew.
- In no time at all, your espresso will be ready. Serve and enjoy!
Top Solutions To Common Problems
Espressos involve a complex process to get the perfect result, and it is a question of trial and error. You may think you have done everything right, only for the espresso to taste wrong.
- It could be something as simple as the coffee not being fresh, but something could be wrong with the machine.
- If the shot takes too long to make, it could be that the water is not flowing through the coffee properly. You may need to grind it slightly coarser, or tamp with slightly less pressure.
- A sour taste is often due to the process being too quick. In this case, you may need to turn up the water temperature or increase the brew time.
- If the shot tastes bitter, it may suffer from over-extraction. If so, you may have to turn down the water temperature or reduce the brew time.
- A watery shot is a sign that something is wrong because the espresso should be thick. It could be due to the coffee not being fresh enough, or perhaps you are putting too much coffee in.
- If there is not enough crema, the puck may not be resisting the water enough, or the coffee may not be fresh enough.
Start Making The Perfect Espresso
Making the perfect espresso is something that anyone can do, but it will take a bit of practice. This guide will get you started, but now it is up to you to practice.
Keep making espressos every day, and change up the variables regularly. As long as you continue to experiment, you will soon work out how to make yourself the perfect espresso.