Making really good espresso is tough. The starting point is top quality, fresh coffee (we know where you can get some) plus time, and patience.
What you’ll need
Grinder (investing in a quality burr grinder is perhaps the most important step in producing great coffee. Check out our pick here)
Your favourite coffee beans (we recommend a blend if you’re into milky joes or an origin if an espresso or long black is more your style)
Scales (some that’ll fit on your drip tray)
Take out group handle. It should be clean, warm & dry. Purge the shower screen. Running the water through for a few seconds will ensure the water temp is spot on and clean for the shot.
Place group handle on scales and tare off. This let’s you control the dose to a tenth of a gram, making it easy to reproduce your results when you find that coffee nirvana.
It’s grind time. Investing in a quality burr grinder is the perhaps most important step in producing great results, as you want to control particle size and dose. Grind the coffee into the centre of your handle to facilitate an even spread.
Place group handle back on the scales to check & correct your dose. Depending on your basket size, you’re after between 19-21 grams (check the machine manufacturers recommend dose for your machine).
Distribute to create an even bed of coffee. Our method? Horizontally tap your handle. Pick up your tamper. Have you named it yet? Make sure your tamper is a perfect match for your basket size and your basket is resting flat. Grasp the tamper and press down on the basket – evenly – using between 10-15kgs of pressure, or ‘light force’. The aim here is to remove any air pockets, not to crush the coffee.
Now put your scales up on the drip tray. Place your cup on and tare off again, setting up to measure your shot length, or yield, in grams. In a commercial setup, machines can be very precise, however, it is still worth checking the yield regularly.
Ok cup’s ready, coffee’s ready, time to insert the handle and press “go”. You want to start the extraction as soon as you put the handle in, leaving it in contact with the hot shower screen is a guaranteed flavour wrecker. Watch your extraction, it should begin with a drip, not a gush or spurt, the drip will build to a gentle stream. The entire shot from when you press the button, to finish, should be between 25-30 seconds.
Taste. Chances are you haven’t got it right, first shot of the day. Was the extraction too fast & the taste thin? Adjust your grind finer. Too slow? Adjust coarser. Once you have controlled your technique you can make slight recipe adjustments and really see the impact of those changes.