ESPRESSO BREW GUIDE

Invented by Milanese businessman Luigi Bezzera in the early 20th Century as a solution for creating a quicker cup of coffee (espresso means fast in Italian), Espresso has for a long time been the most popular type of coffee supped on our high streets. But with machines becoming more accessible and affordable, it’s easier than ever to achieve barista quality espresso results with a home set up.

What’s unique about espresso coffee? Espresso machines pressurise and force nearly boiling water through finely ground beans to create a concentrated shot of coffee in around 30 seconds. The higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids makes it thicker and stronger than filter-brewed coffee, with more caffeine per unit volume, but it’s served in smaller sizes. Once brewed, it can be enjoyed as a black shot or used as a base for your latte, cappuccino or flat white.  

We recommend starting with a ratio of 1:2 ground coffee to liquid, and but you can vary the amounts to suit your machine and taste.

Key Facts

  • Dose for double shot: 18g coffee produce 36g of liquid
  • Grind size: very fine (finer than table salt)
  • water temp: 90.5 - 96 C
  • brew time: 30 sec
  • pressure: 9 bar

What you'll need

  • Coffee beans
  • Grinder
  • Espresso machine
  • Weighing scale and Timer
  • Tamper and mat
  • Dry towel or clean cloth
Grind and weigh

Step 1Grind and weigh

Try to grind coffee finer that sand or table salt. Wipe your portafilter with a clean cloth, place it on the scale and tare. Grind 18 grams of coffee into the basket.

Tamp

Step 2Tamp

With your finger, level the coffee inside the basket. Place the portafilter on the mat and, using the tamper, apply even pressure to level the coffee. Keep your wrist straight and don’t push too hard. The idea is to compress the coffee and achieve a flat surface, which will prevent the water from water channelling.

Install and prepare

Step 3Install and prepare

Then, rinse the group head before installing the portafilter. When the water runs clear and you can see a steady stream, stop it, before locking in the portafilter. If you’re using a machine that allows you to adjust the water temperature, then set it to 92 C. You might also have a timer built in, but if not, prepare a separate one.

Brew

Step 4Brew

Place your scales under your group head and tare. When your scale, cup, temperature and timer are ready - start brewing. Brew for 30 seconds, weighing the amount of coffee you have produced. You’re aiming for 36g of liquid - if it’s less you should aim to grind your coffee coarser, and if more then try going a bit finer.

Taste and adjust

Step 5Taste and adjust

Taste the coffee and evaluate the flavour. If you find your espresso tastes weak, sour or salty, then try adjusting your grinder to grind your coffee finer, or increase your brewing time. If your espresso is bitter and dry, try to grind a bit coarser or decrease the time of brewing. Experiment until you find your ideal shot. As soon as you finish clean portafilter and rinse the machine with hot water.