How To Make Espresso
The foundation to all your coffee
Paul Meikle-Janney, a leading judge for the World Latte Art Championships, guides you through the process of making the foundation to your speciality coffee beverages, the espresso.
If you want your coffee to be taken seriously, then it's extremely important to make a consistently good espresso, as any mistake made here will negatively affect the end quality of your cappuccinos, lattes and other espresso-based drinks.
Initially, you should run a number of tests with your grinder to make sure that the resulting grind is set correctly. Once you are happy and are able to achieve a steady brewing time of around about 25 seconds then you begin making your espressos.
The key to making consistent espresso is timing, once you have your timing correct, then you can be confident that the taste and quality will remain the same every time you brew.
Firstly, dispense of any leftover coffee grinds from the filter basket and then refill with fresh grinds. Lightly tap the group handle on a hard surface to even out the coffee across the filter and then tamp twice.
The first one should be light, to position the grinds, and then the second one should be firmer to compact them within the filter basket.
Before placing the group handle into the brew group, quickly wipe the edges of the basket. This ensures that any erroneously placed grinds are removed and that they do not cause any blockages within the espresso machine.
Just before placing the group handle into position, rinse some water through the machine to flush away any old grounds clinging onto the shower.
Carefully insert the group handle and set the espresso to brew straight away. If everything is set up right then you should see a deep coloured espresso that is topped with a rich crema.
As Paul explains, it is vital to use good quality beans.
Quick step by step guide
- Clear the group handle of any leftover coffee grounds
- Refill group handle with freshly ground coffee
- Quickly rinse the group head
- Place the group handle in the group head and off you go!
Always with an ‘s’ and never with an ‘x’
If any drink has evolved the most over the years, then that drink has to be the espresso. At the turn of the 20th century with the rise of the first coffee machines, the term espresso began to come to the fore, relating to the fact that water was expressly pushed through the coffee.
As advances were made with these machines, so the quality of the espresso improved. In 1948, the first Gaggia lever machines appeared on the market that also ushered in the arrival of the cafe crema, that thin layer of light brown foam that forms on the top of an espresso. The rest, as they say, is history.