Whether you’re starting a job at a cafe for the first time or want to learn how to recreate cafe-style beverages at home, making espresso is a lot easier than you’d think - as long as you’ve got the proper equipment.
If you’re in search of guidance, we created this easy step-by-step brewing guide, to get you brewing cafe-quality beverages in no time!
For this recipe, you'll need an espresso machine (like a La Marzocco), a scale, a tamper, and a coffee grinder. If you don't have a coffee grinder, you can ask your local cafe to grind your coffee beans at a setting ideal for espresso.
(All photos courtesy of Unsplash)
Tare your portafilter to zero: For this step, you'll need a scale. Grab the handle of your portafilter and remove it from your espresso machine. Give it a quick wipe-down with a towel to make sure that it’s clean and dry. Place your portafilter on your scale and tare your scale to zero.
Dose out your coffee: Using your scale, add coffee grounds - we recommend starting out with 18 grams. You’ll also want to make sure your grind is fine; If you have a burr grinder, it most likely has an ‘espresso’ setting.
Level out your coffee grounds: Using your finger, level out your coffee grounds to make sure you have a flat, even bed of coffee.
Tamp your coffee: Keeping your tamper as level as possible, tamp your coffee grounds into the puck, applying about 20-30 pounds of pressure. Some espresso tampers will 'click' when you've put the perfect amount of pressure. Another good way to tell that you've put enough pressure is when the coffee feels like it's "bouncing back" as you push down. Just be sure not to overdo it!
Flush out your espresso machine's group head: For 3-5 seconds, run hot water through your espresso machine's group head to ensure that it's clean.
Insert your portafilter into the gasket: Seal your portafilter into your machine's gasket, ensuring that it’s sealed tight.
Get ready to brew: Place your cup below your grouphead, on top of a scale tared to zero.
Start brewing: Press the button to start brewing, keeping a close eye on your scale so that you can stop the brewing process once you’ve reached your desired amount of espresso. We recommend stopping once you’ve reached around 30 grams of espresso.
As your espresso brews, keep a close eye on it. Is it brewing too quickly, or too slowly? Play around with different measurements, grind sizes, etc. until you reach the espresso quality that you prefer.
(Optional) Add steamed milk to make a cappuccino or latte.
If your espresso machine has a steaming wand, use it to steam some milk (Stay posted for another tutorial!)
If it doesn't have a steaming wand, you can simply warm up some milk on the stove and froth it using a frothing wand or even a French press (Just pour the warm milk into the French press and run the plunger up and down to get a nice, frothy, cappuccino-like consistency.)