Quick Recipes and Easy

Espresso – Brewing the Perfect Shot at Home

Making the perfect espresso at home can be challenging, but well worth it. Brewing espresso properly takes a small more care and knowledge than just brewing a cup of coffee.

First, make sure you have the proper machine for espresso. There are many home machines on the market, from small inexpensive models for around $30, to ultra fancy $2000 models. They type you get will of course depend on your budget and what you are looking for, but keep in mind that getting quality espresso will usually result in paying at least several hundred dollars for a machine. The functions to look for in a quality machine include: – a hot water tank that will heat the water to around 190F. – It should have an adjustable pressure meter on it. Excellent espresso is pulled when the pressure gauge reads around 9 atmospheres. – If you are going to be making milk based drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos, you will want a milk steamer wand. Separate hot water tanks for the espresso and steamer are best, as the pressure won’t be depleted for the espresso when you steam the milk.

The next most vital item is the coffee itself. You want the freshest coffee you can find. And it should be whole bean. If you are going to take the time to brew your own espresso, really make it worthwhile and grind it yourself! You can either buy your coffee at a local coffee house, or through mail order. Try to only order as much coffee as you will be using in a week or two. Contrary to well loved belief, espresso does not have to be extremely dark roasted coffee. The best espresso can come from a more medium to dark roast than a very oily bean. Too dark and your espresso may come out bitter. Also, if you are drinking milk-based beverages, don’t buy a light roast, as you need the espresso to be able to cut through the milk.

And speaking of grinding, you will want a particular type of grinder – a burr grinder. The common grinder available (and the cheapest) is a blade grinder. While these certainly do the job of grinding coffee beans, the resulting grounds are uneven in texture. Espresso really requires a fine consistent grind, since pressure is used to brew the espresso, rather than just seeping through the grounds. Burr grinders grind the coffee through rotating discs, which make an even grind. The burr grinders are also adjustable, so you can play with the grind that works best with your espresso machine. And don’t run flavored coffee through your burr grinder, it can gum up on the parts and cause the grinder not to work properly. Save the flavored coffee for your blade grinder.

The perfect amount of espresso for a shot is 7 grams exactly. This much espresso will should give you a shot pull of around 20 seconds, which is just about the ideal amount of time to make the best shot.

Sound a small complicated? It’s not – once you start making the espresso properly for yourself, you will never go back to your ancient way of brewing! A small knowledge and preparation will result in espresso that will rival any local coffee shop!

Michael Russell

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