It looks like you've got yourself a barista coffee machine and want to make an amazing cup of coffee. Most barista machines can be a bit complicated to use. So using an espresso machine can be overwhelming for beginners because the instructions are not super clear, and the machine is not self-explanatory. But no worries, let me take you to step by step over making coffee, easily.
1. First things first, ensure you have put together your machine in the right way, following the instructions to the T. The manual that comes with the machine will also contain information on washing, installing and, flushing the machine, which are all very important parts of the process. Once your machine is set up, properly plug it in.
2. Before you use any coffee machine, it's important to check the water level. While some machines warn you when the water level is too low, some don't. Low water levels can lead to heat damage, so it's better always to keep a check once the machine is turned on.
3. It's considered better if you let the machine warm-up for 10 to 15 minutes before you use it, so everything is hot and ready to go. If the parts are too cold and not ready, it can affect your espresso's flavor. The same espresso will be used to make different coffee drinks. So if the machine is going to be a part of your morning or evening routine, it's best to let it warm up while you do your other routine tasks and get the best flavor out of your coffee. The top of the machine also acts like a cup warmer, so use it well.
4. Next, come the beans. Once the coffee machine is ready to go, add the coffee beans to the Hopper. You don't have to add a specific amount; just make sure you have enough, which can be about 2-3 handfuls. This will make about three to four double shots of espresso.
5. When it comes to the beans, make sure you're using high-quality and freshly roasted beans. "Freshly roasted" means beans that have been roasted within a week as the best flavor comes out within 2 to 10 days after the roasting process. But if you can't find anything fresh even beans that are 30 days old will work. Keep in mind that you must always use whole beans and not pre-ground because beans lose their flavor and freshness soon after being ground.
6. Next, you have to set the grind size and the amount. Here is where you may have to get into the specifics of things. This can only be achieved by trial and error and seeing what your preference is. I would suggest setting the grind size to 5; this is also the medium number. This is what most machines recommend as well. As for the "grind amount," this is something that you'll have to decide for yourself.
7. Now we must discuss the portafilter, which is where the ground coffee will be collected. You must ensure it's dry before you put in any coffee. To give you an idea of ground coffee, a single shot of espresso would be around 8 to 10 grams of ground coffee, while a double shot will be around 15 to 18 grams.
8. Once this is done, we have to move on to the grind outlet. Basically, you have to put the portafilter in the grind outlet, press the preferred coffee size button. i.e., a single or double. Push in the portafilter, then release.
9. For reference, you can use the amount of ground coffee that I mentioned above. Anything a little more or little less may change the flavor.
10. Next comes the tamping. Use your hands to push the loose coffee into the center of the portafilter, so it doesn't spill out. When you tamp, you will learn that it needs a lot of pressure than simply pressing it down to get flat. But you don't need to put all your body weight on it either. If you don't use enough pressure, the coffee Grounds will not be even, and the water may not seep through the coffee properly.
11. And now it's time to make your espresso. Insert the portafilter in the proper place as instructed and lock it in.
12. It will take a few seconds, and soon you will see some smooth and rich liquid coming down in your cup that you have placed right below the portafilter.
13. If your if you would like to make a latte or a Cappuccino, get your milk and steam and froth it. Most machines will come with the steamer and frother. Most machines come with a steamer.
14. Don't forget to wipe down your machine, especially the steam wand. Do it immediately to avoid residue, wipe off any coffee grinds, and, most importantly, empty out the coffee grinds from the portafilter and rinse it completely.
Last but not the least, enjoy your freshly brewed coffee.