A few words of advice
Ask any barista worth their salt (or grind), and they will tell you that the perfect cup of espresso simply doesn’t exist, and they’re correct in saying so. Making espresso is about experimentation, and crafting a superior flavour experience from one cup to the next. This is achieved by manipulating the variables that you as a barista have control over, and adapting these to suit your own tastes.
TIP: Your coffee should extract with a yield ratio of approximately 2:1; this means you will get twice the volume of liquid espresso as the amount of grind you put in the basket (e.g. 21g dose » 40g liquid espresso).
What you need
— Espresso Machine
— Ground Control Coffee
— Accurate Kitchen Scale
How to make it:
1. KEEP IT CLEAN
The first step before any beans hit the basket is always to purge both your steam wand and grouphead with hot water. Doing so will expel any residual liquid from the wand, and any grind from the grouphead, while also helping keep the equipment at the optimal temperature for coffee extraction.
2. GRIND YOUR COFFEE
Both commercial and home espresso machines call for finely ground coffee, and it’s always best to grind immediately before extraction. Once ground, coffee begins to oxidise very quickly, and this will dramatically change how it tastes in your cup.
3. DOSE YOUR SHOT
Each home espresso machine will vary in terms of portafilter basket size, and you should always refer the instruction manual of your machine to find a starting point. Failing this, a good point of reference for a single shot basket is approximately 14g of ground coffee, and 21g for a double. Place your portafilter onto your scale and tare it to zero, before adding the desired amount of grind into the basket to accurately dose your shot.
4. DISTRIBUTE & TAMP
Run a finger over the top of your portafilter basket a series of times to distribute the grind evenly within it, then place your portafilter on an even, flat surface. Position your tamper on top of the grounds and apply downward pressure; you do not need to use excessive force, just enough to seal the grounds within the basket; finish by slowly spinning the tamp evenly within the basket.
5. WATCH YOUR EXTRACTION
Place the portafilter back into the grouphead and begin pulling your shot, starting your timer as you do so. Watch your shot closely; it should take a few seconds to expel liquid espresso, beginning as a slow drip. This should develop into an even stream around the 5-10 second mark. You will notice the colour of the liquid change as the shot progresses, and around the 30 second mark it should develop from a deep oaky brown into a lighter, yellow colour; this process is called ‘blonding’. When you notice this begin to occur, end your shot, and enjoy your espresso!