Unfortunately, many home espresso machines use too low of a pressure and too high of a water temperature, resulting in an over-extracted coffee that will lead to a bitter and harsh taste.
Therefore, the most important step before buying an espresso machine is to research and verify that it has 9 to 10 bars of pressure and will brew at between 92 – 96 Celcius (195 – 205 degrees F).
With the right equipment, you are ready to start.
Select your bean and grind it very fine (almost like flour) into the basket.
Please note that you need a special grinder to be able to grind fine enough for espresso. The grinder is just as important as the espresso machine, and getting the right grind is a big part of brewing a good espresso.
If possible, always grind the beans just before brewing to retain aroma and taste.
Distribute the coffee in the basket with your fingers.
Position your tamper level on top of the grounds and apply downward pressure.
You don’t need to tamp incredibly hard – just enough to seal the coffee in evenly. Give the tamper a gentle spin. This will smooth, or “polish,” the grounds for an even extraction.
Place the basket in the group-head and start your brew.
The shot weight should be approximately two times the weight of the dry dose. For example, 14 grams (0.5 oz) of coffee will give you a 28 ml (1oz) espresso shot.
After pressing start, it should take somewhere between 20–35 seconds to brew a shot. If it takes longer or shorter, you must adjust your grinder (slightly finer ground for a longer brew and slightly coarser for a faster brew). If the shot tastes too sour or weak for your taste you might need to grind finer and let the shot run longer. If it tastes bitter and burnt, you need to grind courser and let the shot run faster.
As always, the most important step: enjoy your coffee.
Read about the coffee and see if you agree with the description and can recognize some of the flavour notes. Or simply enjoy your brew and send a kind thought to the farmer who made this possible.