Espresso Brewing Guide – How to Make Espresso at Home by Theodora Evans

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If you cherish the taste of espresso coffee, you don’t have to wait till you go to your favorite coffee shop to have it. Barista-quality espresso coffee can be made at home. It does not have to be a tough or complicated task. As long as you know how to choose the right equipment and coffee beans, and with the tips we will be sharing in this article, you can start brewing espresso coffee in your own kitchen.

Choose the Right Beans
The quality of your coffee beans determines the outcome of your espresso creation. Here are some of the factors to consider when buying coffee beans:

* Specialty coffee: Select a specialty coffee roasted freshly with a moderate blend of caramel, red fruits, and chocolate. Avoid very acidic beans.

* Roast profile: A dark brown roast works best for espresso. The roast profile usually goes from very dark to light brown. Extremely dark coffee beans have a bitter taste while the lighter-colored ones are acidic and they have less sweetness and balance.

* Date roasted: Avoid stale coffee but don’t use coffee that is too fresh. To give you the best taste, the beans need to go through a process known as degassing. To degas means to slowly release the carbon dioxide gas that accumulated in it during the roasting.
While it may be desirable to get coffee roasted the day before, 24 hours is simply too short for the beans to lose sufficient gas to give you a good flavor. Ideally, coffee roasted in the last three or four days would have had enough time to age properly without reducing the flavor.

* Whole bean: You should always buy whole bean coffee, store it away from sunlight, oxygen and excessive heat or cold. Buy the coffee you can consume within a week so it does not get stale on your shelf.

Use the Right Equipment

Buying the right type of equipment to brew your coffee is essential. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time experimenting before you get that perfect shot, you should make sure not to compromise when choosing your machines, including the grinder, which can be bought separately or as part of an integrated unit.

You should choose a good flat burr grinder. This type of grinder will start up quickly and produce a consistent grind size. To get a good flavor, you need uniform grind particles that range from coarse to fine for different types of espresso coffee.

When you are researching espresso coffee making machines, focus on a brand that can give you the same flavor from the first cup to the last in every brewing session. This can only be achieved when the machine can maintain stable pressure and temperature.

If you want to make or practice latte espresso coffee, you also need to pay attention to the type of boiler that comes with your machine. A standalone group head boiler works best because it allows you to make use of the steam without affecting the espresso consistency or destabilizing the entire machine.

You should also consider user-friendliness. Can you regulate water flow, temperature and other things that enable you to carry out your brewing experiments? Also, ensure that the machine will be easy to use, clean, and maintain.

Grind the Beans Just Right

You need to choose your grind size with care. The grind size determines the rate of extraction of the aroma and flavor from the coffee beans. Finely ground coffee beans make the extraction occur faster. Also, the grind size determines the rate at which the water passes through the coffee – that is the length of time you need to pull your espresso shot. Making your coffee too fine can increase the time required for the water to pass through.

You can control the rate of extraction and flavor by paying attention to the size of the grounds. Aim to produce a flavor that has a balance of sweetness, acidity, and bitterness. Your grind should also be just fine enough for you to pull your espresso shot within 30 seconds.

Prepare Your Machine and Portafilter

You need to switch on your machine at least 15 minutes before you intend to use it. This will give it time to warm up. Put water in the tank, insert the portafilter and pull a blank shot to heat it. You should also heat up your coffee cup or glass at this time.

Watch the Quality of Water and Temperature
Avoid using tap water since it contains chemicals that can clog your machine. Similarly, hard water can cause limescale to build up and affect the performance of your machine.

The quality of water can affect the taste of your coffee, and not always in a favorable way. For instance, if you use tap water, treated with chlorine, your coffee might have a dull taste. So its best to use bottled water that is clean and well-filtered with a neutral pH. If you are forced to use tap water, make sure you pass it through a carbon filter.

Normally your machine should heat the water to a temperature ranging between 197 and 204 F (92 and 96 degrees Celsius). Your water must be properly heated to extract all the flavor and aroma of the espresso coffee.

Learn How to Dose Your Coffee

Take out the portafilter and wipe it dry with a clean cloth. Set it on a digital scale. Next, put about 7 grams of ground espresso coffee beans on the dry portafilter for a single shot. For a double shot, you can place between 14 to 18 grams on the portafilter.

Distribute and Tamp Coffee Grounds

With a tamp, pack the coffee grounds into the portafilter. Grab the handle of your tamp and turn your arm till your elbow is locked at 90 degrees. Ensure that the portafilter is on a level surface and avoid knocking the outside of the portafilter when you have tamped coffee grounds. Tamping the coffee evenly aids the extraction of flavors and sugars into the coffee glass or cup.

Pull Your Espresso Shot
Switch on the brew head for a few seconds. This should wash away espresso grounds from your previous brew. After you have tamped your portafilter, insert it into your brew head. Place a warmed espresso glass below it. Turn the machine on immediately to begin pulling the shot. The thick and creamy espresso coffee should come out after several seconds and you will be ready to sample your delicious cup of joe.

Those are the major steps you need to take to start brewing exciting and flavorful espresso coffee from the comfort of your kitchen. With consistent practice and some experiments, you should be able to achieve barista-quality coffee, play with your very own blends and be proud to show off your newfound skills to your friends and family.