Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a perfect espresso at home? Look no further. This post will be of great help to you. But first lets explain what is an espresso and why the popularity?
Espresso is coffee brewed by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground espresso coffee beans. The hot water and pressure will extract important elements from the coffee beans like crema and high concentration of both dissolved and suspended solids, which gives espresso its unique taste, rich and sweet, bold and smooth flavor.
Espresso, more importantly, is rich in nutrients like dietary magnesium mineral, vitamin B niacin and riboflavin. This, coupled with its exquisite taste gives espresso its ‘notorious’ popularity.
To have this exquisite taste and make best espresso at home requires a thorough understanding of the process and chemistry behind the making of espresso coffee, and more so to make best espresso at home. Making rich, tasty, aromatic and sweet espresso coffee at home can be a daunting exercise, but with practice and wide reading, perfecting the art is achievable. And for you to achieve this, several factors come into play. Right from the coffee beans you choose to grinding, the kind of water, the brewing machine, temperature, pressure and your skill. Let us look at this one by one.
1. Espresso coffee beans
Note that there is no tree producing espresso coffee beans. Espresso coffee is largely a brewing method. The labeling as espresso is merely to give you how it should be prepared right from roasting to grinding and brewing. It is therefore important that you choose high quality coffee beans that are fresh because fresher beans produce sweet and rich espresso full of flavors.. Fresh, here, means it should not be more than four weeks after roasting. So, if you have your own beans, you are safe. But if your are buying, ensure that you check on the date the beans were roasted.
The kind of water you use matters a lot, but many people ignore it. Your espresso just as nice as the water you use. The water should neither have high concentration of dissolved minerals nor odors. Water with high concentration of minerals will damage your machine as the minerals will scale inside your machine reducing its effectiveness. Clear spring water is recommended. Not distilled water because it does not contain minerals which are essential in extraction of elements in the beans. Bottled water and a mixture of tap and distilled water can also be used. To be sure, test your water by buying a test kit or consult a water testing expert. This will help you make best espresso at home.
3. The coffee grind
What makes espresso different from regular coffee is how fine the grind is. The coffee beans should be cut into small particles and grind them finely,the size of table salt. Neither too fine as it will burn or too coarse as the espresso will be watery because water will pass through them too quickly failing to do enough extraction. Get a good grinder like a conical ‘purr’ grinder that produces consistent fine ground.
4. Espresso machine
The quality of the brewing machine is very important in preparation of the perfect espresso coffee. The most important quality in an espresso machine is consistency in functionality. The machine should be stable and should not waiver in temperature and pressure limits. Even a slight fluctuation in temperature and pressure can spoil your espresso and makes it difficult to get consistent shots. A good machine should maintain a temperature of 212F for steam and 200 for espresso. So, a double boiler machine is good to make best espresso at home. More about the best espresso machines you can read in the article “Coffee addiction: Best Espresso Machines”
Tamping is very important. As you fill the tapping, keep tapping it on a table to ”collapse” the grind and makes it compact. The tamper should be around four-fifths full. Optimally, a 20g dry coffee ground should give you around 30 ml espresso coffee.
Procedure of making the perfect espresso
Step 1: Fresher is always Better:
Freshly roasted coffee yields better taste.
Step 2: Grind your Coffee Beans:
A good Espresso Grinder should be used to grind the coffee beans. Another option would be to buy freshly ground coffee from a known espresso shop.
Step 3: Use Rightly Heated Filtered Water:
Water should be heated to 200F or 90C.
Step 4: Use the Right Amount of Coffee:
7 grams of coffee should be used for a single espresso shot.
Step 5: Use the Right Pressure:
Amount of water used can be adjusted with pressure.
Step 6: Put the Coffee in the Porta filer or Handle of the Coffee Machine with Right Tamper:
A tamper is a flat object which compresses and densifies the grounds.
Step 7: If everything is Right, Coffee will be Ready in less than a minute:
Once the Espresso Machine is turned on and a cup is placed under the brew basket, coffee will flow.
Tips for perfection
1. Hone your skills by either practice or taking a course in coffee brewing
2. Always know where to get fresh and quality beans
3. Get quality brewing machine and grinder
4. Be keen during brewing process
In a nutshell, espresso coffee brewing is an art that needs skill. Honing your skills is inevitable. But taking an exquisite sip of fine espresso is so rewarding. In fact, few people have tasted real nicely brewed espresso coffee. So it is worth for you to learn the key skills of espresso coffee preparation.