Once upon a time, in the olden days, people made coffee at home by pouring hot water onto instant coffee and hoping for the best. If you don’t know what instant coffee is, then count yourself lucky. Happily, we now live in an enlightened age – a time where product meets technology meets know how.
Let’s start at the very beginning. The building block of most coffee we drink is the espresso shot, so it’s a very good place to start. Just a pre warning, we’re about to get a little bit technical.
Buy your coffee beans from a supplier who knows where the beans are from, how old they are and when they were roasted. Buy whole beans if you can, and store them away from heat and light.
The texture of your grind is the backbone of your coffee. For an espresso, you need grounds that look like fine sand. You might need to play around a little. If the grind is too fine, your coffee may taste bitter and burnt; while if it’s too coarse, it will be weak and watery. And nobody wants that.
There are many, many, opinions about this. We are going to stick with advice from our local experts, Sydney roasters Deluca Coffee, who recommend 22g of coffee for the perfect espresso.
Make sure your group handle is clean and dry. If the coffee is exposed to moisture, it could start extracting too early. So give everything a good wipe with a clean tea towel before you start.
Tamping basically means applying pressure to compress coffee grounds into a more solid form. This lets the water pass more evenly through the grounds. Capiche? For an espresso, tamp the grounds lightly and level them off.
Prepare your machine by running some water through it first before making your espresso. Some people call this process rinsing.
Again, the camps are divided here. A good rule of thumb is 30ml in 30 seconds. So your machine should take about 30 seconds to produce a 30ml shot of espresso. Ideally, you want to create a lovely crema on top. No crema means your beans are past their prime.
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