How to Use Espresso Machine? – Overview
Espresso machines are extremely popular, and brands like Breville and Nespresso are among the most well-known.
Some machines use pods, while others use ground coffee, and they all work in somewhat different ways.
These machines can create more than just espressos; most models have a steam wand, allowing you to froth milk by yourself and expand your coffee horizons.
Whether you currently have one of the best espresso makers or are still on the lookout for the right machine, these suggestions will help you brew consistent coffees every time.
We’ll go over the fundamentals, including what to avoid and how to get the most out of your espresso machine.
That said, let’s get started and see how you can utilize your espresso machine to make perfect coffees.
Switch On Your Espresso Machine and Preheat It
To get the most out of your espresso maker, make sure it’s completely preheated. Some devices might take up to 25 minutes to warm up, so prepare your machine in advance!
If you wish to expedite the procedure, simply remove the espresso from the portafilter and extract a blank shot.
Pulling this shot right into your espresso cup has a dual purpose which includes preheating your machine.
Measure and Grind Your Beans
If you’re fortunate enough to have an espresso maker with a built-in grinder, simply grind into the portafilter. How do you go about this?
Start by placing the portafilter on a scale, tare it, and then fill it with approximately twenty grams of ground coffee.
It’s a good idea to keep track of how much you used so you can stay on track during the dialing-in process.
In an ideal world, your portafilter basket will have a small mound of ground coffee. Apply pressure with your tamper, shave away the extra coffee with your hand, push it into the cracks and crevices, and smooth it down.
Tamp The Ground Coffee So That the Bed Is Flat and Even
The secret to good tamping is to push down directly — you don’t want an uneven puck.
You’ll want to exert a significant amount of pressure here, although the age-old notion of 30 pounds of pressure is somewhat of an overkill.
A great rule of thumb is to tamp until the grounds stop moving, ensuring you have a flat surface.
To polish the tip of your espresso puck, rotate your tamper quickly. Remove any extra grounds from the top or side of your portafilter, and you’re ready to start brewing!
Pull The First Shot
Time how long it takes you to hit 2 ounces while pulling this shot (the average size of a double shot). Ideally, each pull should take between 20 and 30 seconds.
If you’re in this range, you’re practically done; you’ve made espresso—hopefully, it’s dark, rich, and sweet. However, in actuality, this initial shot is only establishing a benchmark.
Dial-in The Shot
Take note of the pressure attained if you’re using an espresso maker with a pressure gauge. If you have too much or too little pressure, this will help you to calibrate your next shot. Such devices give you an indication of how good (or bad) is the shot you’ve just extracted.
If you don’t have a pressure gauge on your machine, taste the espresso and make a decision.
If your espresso is pulling too quickly, switch to a finer grind. If your espresso takes a lifetime to brew, you’ll need a coarser grind.
Steam Your Milk
If you’re creating a cappuccino, cortado, latte, or macchiato, steaming the milk is the next step.
Hopefully, your espresso maker has an in-built steam wand. If not, you’ll have to steam your milk using a standalone milk steamer.
To begin, fill your stainless steel milk pitcher halfway with cold milk. To eliminate any moisture that has developed in your steamer wand, turn it on for a few seconds.
Next, place the steamer wand tip below the milk’s surface. Steam your milk until it reaches the desired consistency. Ensure you keep the steamer wand slightly below the milk’s surface.
Once you’ve achieved the proper frothiness, dip the tip into the bottom of the milk jug and resume steaming until the desired temperature is attained.
To keep things hygienic, wipe off your wand and give it a quick purge and proceed to enjoy your coffee.
What’s not to like about espresso? It’s creamy, flavorful, and rich. If you approach espresso-making with patience and a learning mentality, you’ll be a pro in no time.
Once you’ve mastered pulling an espresso shot, other brewing techniques will be a ‘walk in the park.’