Espresso is a brewing method where water is forced under pressure through finely ground and compacted coffee. The result is a concentrated ‘extract’ of the coffee bean that can be consumed by itself or mixed with milk or water to make cappuccino, flat whites, long blacks, lattes, long mac’s and all the other cafe style drinks.
To make espresso, the handle is removed from the machine, ground coffee is put in (dosing), pressed down (‘tamping’), then the machine is… well, espresso is actually a big subject and there is lots to learn; if you want to know more, join one of our training sessions.
Otherwise, here are some general and basic tips:
- Use freshly ground coffee
- Grind size should be roughly similar to castor sugar – coarser than turkish, finer than moka pot. Grind size determines shot time.
- Use a VST precision basket for best results
- Tamp firmly until the coffee doesn’t compress any further – make sure the tamper fits the basket tightly and that you are pressing down straight. We recommend Reg Barber tampers.
- Make sure your coffee is distributed evenly in the basket and that the surface is nice and flat
- The ‘correct’ dose depends on the size of the basket and how much coffee you want to make. Usually the dose is between 15 and 22g
- The weight of the espresso (called ‘yield’) should be between 1.5 and 2.5 times the weight of the dose – this is called brew ratio.
Your espresso should take between 25 – 35 seconds to pour. The time is how long it takes to achieve your yield, from the time the pump is switched on. If it pours to fast, it will taste sour. If it pours to slow, it will taste bitter. Adjust your grinder to make the coffee grinds bigger if it’s pouring too slow, and vice-versa.
Use an accurate set of scales and a good quality timer.