For many, a perfectly brewed espresso's rich aroma and robust taste evoke images of bustling Italian cafes. It might also remind you of the artistry behind each cup and make you wonder about the secret behind the excellent taste.
Originating in Italy, espresso has become an iconic symbol of the country’s coffee culture. It captivates coffee enthusiasts worldwide with its intense and complex flavour profile. Maybe you wonder, what do you need to make espresso? It might seem straightforward to make espresso, but there’s more to the process behind it. The product, the barista, and the machinery must have a deep relationship to create the perfect cup.
Whether you’re an aspiring barista or simply intrigued by the beauty of Italian coffee culture, we’ll guide you step by step into how to make Italian espresso.
To make around 14 grams of espresso, you’ll need to start with seven to nine grams of ground coffee. The extraction takes 20 to 30 seconds; ensure to set the grinder to fine ground (200-250µm). Let’s start with the first step of making a perfect Italian espresso.
Selecting Coffee Beans
Beans cultivated in different areas will taste uniquely different from each other. You can explore your choices or stick to the ones you already like. You can also get pre-ground coffee beans from your favorite cafe or store, so you don’t have to worry about exploring your options and the grinding size, but remember, for this preparation the grind level or the dose might be daily adjusted in order to have a perfect extraction.
Preparing Your Coffee Machine
If you’ve already made a cup of espresso, you can release the filter holder from the group head and put the waste aside. Clean the filter holder with a microfiber cloth to ensure no leftover grounds remain on the filter holder.
Putting the Coffee Into The Filter Holder
Put seven to nine grams of finely ground coffee into the filter holder. You can use a kitchen scale to help you measure the weight precisely. There are also some grinders that let you set how much coffee it can grind each time you turn it on, so you’ll get precise measurements every time you transfer the ground coffee into the filter holder.
Distribute the ground coffee evenly, then press it down using a tamper. Tamping applies around 44 pounds of force and makes a perfect horizontal puck. Tamping helps to give you that delicious crema on top of your espresso and extract the bean’s full taste. When tamping, apply a good and even pressure. Tamping too lightly might not get you the proper extraction.
Another helpful tip when tamping, move your tamper in a circular motion. Don’t move it back and forth, as it might make an uneven dent in the puck.
Flushing the Machine
Flushing the machine means letting hot water flow from the group head for few seconds before locking the portafilter. It’ll help clean the remaining grounds left on the group head so that you can remove traces from the previous extraction. After flushing, attach the filter holder to the group head and start brewing your coffee.
Extracting the Espresso
Immediately put the coffee cup underneath the filter holder and wait for the extraction to finish. Congratulations! Now you know how to make espresso the Italian way!
Making Italian Espresso at Home
You might be asking, how can I make espresso at home? And can you make espresso without a machine? It depends on which machine you’re referring to. On the market you can find small machines for home use very similar to the one coffee shops use. However, they require a lot of care and attention to brew a perfect cup.
If you want to achieve a bolder coffee but don't want to invest in an espresso machine, you can try using a Moka Pot or a French Press. The result won’t be as bold as the coffee you can brew with a machine, but it can be just as delicious.