How To Make An Espresso - A Quick Guide
The base of most of the popular coffee drinks is an espresso. Learning how to make one properly will help you make great coffee. In this article, we will teach you how to make the perfect espresso. You can drink it straight up, or use it as the base for the coffee that fancy.
Are you keen to learn how? Read on and find out!
Things That Make Or Break An Espresso Shot
You can have the best espresso machine on the market and still not be able to brew that perfect espresso shot. On the other hand, there are people who make strong and flavorful espressos without using machines. How do they make it happen?
The key to a great espresso shot lies in the quality of the ingredients and the process. All you need to make espresso is coffee and water but there are other elements that impact the quality of the espresso shot.
- The grind
- The roast
- Coffee amount
- Water temperature
- Water pressure
Every single one of these elements influences the espresso. So everything has to be perfect to brew the crema-topped, rich liquid you need for the coffee you love. Fortunately, making a great espresso is not that complicated. Let’s just go through every element to get it right.
Fine grind is mandatory for espresso. With a finer grind, water takes longer to go through the coffee granules and the pressure required to push water through the beans is increased. As a result, the espresso shot has that rich taste, flavorful aroma, and dense texture we all love.
However, the grind does not have to be too fine. This always leads to over-extracted and bitter coffee. You need to use fine grind, not extra-fine or powdery grind that is typically used for Turkish coffee.
The GrindFine grind is mandatory for espresso. With a finer grind, water takes longer to go through the coffee granules and the pressure required to push water through the beans is increased. As a result, the espresso shot has that rich taste, flavorful aroma, and dense texture we all love. However, the grind does not have to be too fine. This always leads to over-extracted and bitter coffee. You need to use fine grind, not extra-fine or powdery grind that is typically used for Turkish coffee.
The RoastA good espresso is rich, dark, and flavored. For this, it needs dark-roasted beans. There is a scientific reason behind this –the beans used in darker roast are roasted for a longer period of time. As this happens, beans become more porous so the taste can be extracted with ease. The longer coffee beans are roasted, the more porous they become and, as a result, flavor compounds become much easier to extract while brewing coffee. Thus the coffee is stronger and more flavorful than with lighter roasts.
Coffee AmountThe standard recipe used all around the world requires 14 grams of high-quality coffee to produce 30 ml of caffeine nectar.
Water TemperatureWater temperature is also very important when making an espresso. If the water you use when you make your espresso is too cold, the flavor cannot be fully extracted. If the water temperature is too hot, you end up scalding the beans so the taste becomes bitter. Ideally, when you make your espresso, the water temperature should be 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water PressureWithout good water pressure, you cannot brew a great espresso. If the pressure is too low, water goes through the beans at a slower rate. Thus, you end up with an over-extracted, bitter espresso. When water goes through the beans too fast, the result is a liquid that is under-extracted and weak. In this case, the espresso simply does not have as much caffeine as you want or need. The standard recommended time for making an espresso shot is 30 seconds. The ideal water pressure you want to use is 9 BAR, which is 9 times the atmospheric pressure measured at sea level. This means 130 lbs per square inch. That’s a lot of pressure, which is why coffee makers that use less pressure will never be able to brew a good shot of espresso.
TampingThe last aspect I’m going to discuss is tamping. Tamping is the process that turns your grind into a disc of coffee that resembles a hockey puck. This process happens inside the portafilter. It is important to reach the right compression amount to have a perfect espresso. When the coffee is too compressed and the water goes through it way too slowly, the espresso ends up bitter and over-extracted. When the coffee is not compressed as much as it should, it ends up brewing way too fast. Uneven compression is another thing to worry about. This is because water always looks for the easiest path to go through grinds. As a result, you end up with an espresso that is both over- and under-extracted. Some of the beans will also be scolded
If you want to make a perfect espresso, you need to consider all the factors that were mentioned above. When you miss one, the result is not as good as it could be. It sounds complicated but once you get a hold of the process, you can easily brew a perfect espresso shot every time.
Have a look at some of the coffee machines that we have reviewed