Ok, so, let’s go into more detail on making espresso – let’s slow it down and take it step by step. For this, I’m going back to the origins of espresso. As espresso is an Italian mainstay, let’s check out what they say about making espresso. In summary, the Italians refer to the 5 Ms when making espresso –
Mescla (coffee type or blend),
Machina (the type of coffee machine),
Machinadosatore (the grinder that grinds the coffee),
Mesura (the grammes of coffee used per espresso shot) and
Mano (the hand of the barista)
So, for me this means…
Mescla – I’m using an espresso blend from a recent Colombia Cup of Excellence lot, so it’s expensive, but the most important point is that it should be a coffee roasted for brewing espresso. Some professionals, brew using different blends, but for the vast majority, an espresso blend is used.
Machina – I’m using my newish espresso prosumer (a merge between professional and consumer) machine, a Profitec700, dual boiler machine with a rotary pump and a PID (i.e. I can change the temperature of the espresso boiler) and a whole lot more, but let’s say it costs more than $2,000.
Machinadosatore – I’m using a top of the range prosumer espresso grinder, a Macap M4D, yes, a grinder just for espresso
Mesura – I’m using approximately 18 grammes of freshly ground coffee for a double espresso. Most experts recommend always brewing a double shot – a single just doesn’t taste the same.
Mano – Well, mine of course – I will never participate in a Barista competition, but I’ve been making espresso, practically almost everyday since 2007, so I think I have a good idea how to make espresso.
Next, the process;
- Make sure your espresso machine is warm enough – mine’s is set to 93C and takes about 7 minutes to warm up.
- Pour your beans into the bean hopper of your espresso grinder and grind away.
- Make sure the setting is correct, whereby previously you checked that when you grind the beans, approximately 45ml of coffee comes out in 20-28 seconds – if it doesn’t, then keep playing around, trying not to waste too much coffee.
- Grind your beans right into the portafilter
- Flatten the ground coffee. Tamp with about 30 pounds or pressure
- Let water run through the espresso machine for about 5-9 seconds
- Then place into the portafilter into brew holder
- Extract your espresso
- And hopefully what comes out, is espresso. Too watery and coming out after 2 seconds, the grind is too loose, tighten it, so that if your grinder is set on 8, move it closer to 7, like on mine and try again
- If the coffee starts coming out after 10 seconds, the grind is too fine and coffee will be over extracted, bitterness.
- So keep playing around until you get that sweet spot – I must confess it is a lot of hit and miss, and can be quite expensive, excluding the cost of the machine and grinder (together over Euro2,000), but the beans, especially if you’re like me and buy really expensive stuff.
and here’s the video…
2 Replies to “Making Espresso: Take 2, The Serious Edit”
Some nice information here, it’s actually relatively easy to make great espresso from home as long as your have the right equipment and follow exact directions like these. I would also highlight the importance of keeping everything really clean! Run your espresso machine for several seconds before using it as you say and make sure to wipe the inside of the portafilter and the grouphead. Few people realise the speed at which the burnt coffee residue can build up in these areas and this can really affect the taste of the coffee and lead to that undesirable bitter taste. I’d also recommend using the purest water as the quality of the water can have a big impact on both the espresso taste and the brewing equipment’s performance and reliability.
Thanks Anna. I use a water filter cartridge