It would be impossible to condense all of the wisdom necessary to extract espresso properly into a brief, straightforward guide due to the number of variables involved and the extent to which these are conditioned by your espresso machine. Nevertheless, we feel the tips below will point any espresso-curious coffee lover in the right direction.
Espresso machine, espresso grinder, tamper
Scale, timer, thermometer, pressure reader, water filtration system
1. Dose— Sizes are 8 to 10 grams for a single and 16 to 20 grams for a double shot.
2. Grind—A dedicated espresso grinder is probably best. Whether or not this is feasible, for your own peace of mind we recommend purchasing a grinder that has either stepless or virtually stepless adjustment and is robust enough to grind finely.
3. Distribute—Avoid clumps. Aim for a fluffy mound of coffee prior to leveling. Work toward achieving even depth and density within the basket without gaps or breaks around the perimeter.
4. Tamp—As a rule, the amount of pressure applied while tamping is much less important than the evenness and consistency with which it’s done.
5. Extract—Start by looking for about 2 oz. of espresso (for a double shot) in roughly 30 sec. Stop extraction as the stream blondes (i.e. turn light tan in color).
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